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The Mummy Returns

This ain't your mommy's Mummy movie! It's nice to sit back and be transported to a world of complete make-believe once in a while. The Mummy Returns did just that. This is not a serious FILM; it is a movie; and a darned good one at that.

The Mummy Returns relentlessly spews special effects at you like a double barrel assault weapon right from the start. By the end you're practically dizzy from the continual flurry of clever, if not 'been there, done that" style, of computer generated mummies, goblins, bugs and fight scenes.

It seemed as if they were trying desperately to recreate the magic the 1st Mummy / Brendan Fraser smash hit had with this bombardment of effects and music. Perhaps they thought by confusing us with lots of visual treats we wouldn't notice the gaping plot holes.

Don't get me wrong. TMR deserves three stars for it's special effects movie-making techniques alone. The action is great, the scenery is great, the story, in theory, is great. But the (predominantly) returning cast is just blasé, delivering corny jokes and boring dialog.

But, who's looking for Oscar material here? It's "Action Flick 101" with sexy actors, beautiful actresses, a cute kid, and that mandatory Raider's of the Lost Ark action-movie-music (triumphant yet foreboding) blasting through the Dolby system. As stupid asTMR gets at times, it's worth it's weight in Egyptian artifacts of pure gold!

Then there's what I call the Sinbad Effect (The storybook sailor, not the comedian). Those wonderfully B-movie, velveeta cheesy characters just too fake to believe—even with the state of the art computer gizmos of our era! The best example is the Scorpion King himself with his colossal Sindbad-esque, 1/2 man 1/2 scorpion body. But, as campy as he is, he's sure to have the slightest of arachnaphobes sweating profusely in their theater seats. Shudder.

The Mummy Returns story goes... The O'Connells, an archaeologist (Rachel Weitz) and ex-bandit (Brendan -steaming hot- Frasor) , who met in the last movie, have bred. They now include an adorable, precocious 8 year old son, named Alex (Fred Boath).

The happy family is excavating, in Egypt. Here they believe they'll find the diabolical Scorpion King's golden bracelet, which happens to command the underworld Army of Anubis.

The bracelet is extremely gaudy, in a WWF accessory looking way, but, he who possesses the trinket can call upon these minions and rule the world. Armageddon.

Why not just let it stay buried in it's sandy grave for the next 5000 years? Ah, well, Mrs. Evi
O' Connell has been obsessed, suddenly, with finding it. She's been riddled in her dreams. Fed vivid images of a past life and an insider's knowledge of the evil bracelet's hiding place.

Now, the O'Connells are quite awake and just centimeters from that hiding place...

Meanwhile, in the Valley of the Dead, we find shady characters resurrecting/unearthing the menacing half-fleshed- twice dead-already-original- movie-mummy priest Imhotep (sexy, smoky, South African Arnold Vasloo) from his grave (Well, from an Alien prop the producers got at cost at the Universal auction, at least!).

Imhotep, played by sexy silky smooth Arnold Vasloo, seemed all mellowed out and less hell-bent on evil deeding and mayhem than in The Mummy one.

Imhotep is greeted by another old cast member, Anck-Su-Namun Ramalamadingdong (Patricia Velazquez). She is his soulmate mistress and his ancient Pharaoh's ancient murderous wife. Ankie has been reincarnated to serve him. Isn't it romantic?

Now all Imhotep needs is the Scorpion King's bracelet, the O'Connells have just parlayed, to lead him to The Scorpion King's Golden Pyramid, and awaken / rule the Army of Darkness, oops, I mean Army of Anubis!

Off Immie, and his merry band of cutthroat followers, go! Straight to the O'Connell's who have just returned to London with the coveted bracelet.

Oops, young Alex, playing around in the antiquities, accidentally gets the bracelet stuck on his arm. Kids...

The tacky trinket wastes no time in showing it's magical powers to the lad. It begins by pointing out various Egyptian landmarks like some beyond- the-grave holographic viewmaster.

So Imhotep must abduct the child with the bracelet and head for the pyramid.

The O'Connell's holy friend, Ardeth Bay (Oded - handsome in a manly, swarthy way - Fehr), joins in the pursuit. Off we all travel from ruin to ruin with the O'Connell clan always one step behind.

We are never given an adequate explaination for this bizarre multi-ruin excursion across Egypt— First to Karnac then to Hamunaptra. For some reason the Scorpion's all-telling bracelet will only show one stop at a time. Can you say plot stretching? Who cares, it's fun!

Did I forget to mention the young Alex O'Connell has been informed by the helpful Imhotep that the pretty gold bracelet on his arm plans on sucking the life out of his little body if he doesn't get into the SK's Golden Pyramid by sun up on the 7th day?

Ultimately, both parties, nearly simultaneously, arrive at the Oasis of Pygmies upon the 6th day at dusk.

Here they find the illusive Scorpion King's Golden Pyramid. Ah, but getting throught the Oasis isn't going to be so easy. There's these creepy pygmy guards that attack in a bloody frenzy to deal with first!

Tension's on...

Will Alex make it into the pyramid by sun up? Can the O'Connells stop Imhotep and the Army of Anubis? Will the Scorpion King be victorious? Will Imhotep and Anck-Su-Namun settle in a small westside pyramid for two and have a little mummy of their own? Most importantly, will Brendan Fraser keep aging this beautifully?

Some of TMR's scenes actually had me laughing out loud - not where the screenwriter had planned, I'm sure! For one, the evil Scorpion King's army, resurrected from the grave, looked like rabid greyhounds. Even at seven feet tall they looked high-strung and wimpy. Reminiscent of the silly feminine storm troopers in Star Wars Episode One. Just hysterical!

And the horrid little Muppet-esque "guards" of the Scorpion King's Golden Pyramid - the pygmies. They were just stoopid! It's not humiliating enough to this would-be world dominator, The Scorpion King, that he's half arachnid, but he's got to have these bazillion evil Muppets guarding his tomb? I bet he's got "Imhotep Evil Army" envy!

TMR has everything you expect in your blockbuster summer movie; a swashbuckling leading man, sassy gal pals, a precocious offspring and a barrage of bad guys that you acn hoot at as they are inevitably crushed in brilliantly, if redundant, choreographed fight scenes by our heroes!

Just be ready, there are so many leading characters and such a deeply woven storyline, intermingled with fancy Egyptian words, that at times you'll be lead so far off the camel trail, you may forget why you had to stop in Hamunaptra or Karnac enroute to the Pigmy Oasis at the Golden Pyramid. Yah-la!

You can spend hours at the official site enjoy!

Snack Recommendation: Crumpets and Hummus drizzled with lemon and olive oil...

Starring: Brendan Fraser, Racel Weitz, Arnold Vasloo, Patricia Velezquez, John Hannah, The Rock and Fred Boath.

Directed By: Stephen Sommers


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