The Mummy Returns

The Mummy Returns ★★★½

Entertaining early 2000s sequel to the smash hit original does the annoying thing where it basically repeats the general plot beats, lines and humor from the first movie, but this time way, way bigger. And since The Mummy was already towing the line between being just the right mix of action and goofball humor, this one teeters straight over the edge. 

That said, I rather love how they developed our leads. Having Rick and Evelyn happily married was such a refreshing change of pace for serial-style adventure sagas, even if Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz seem like, off-screen, they secretly loath one another. Their kid, Alex, is really where things get pretty grating. I’m sure fans who weren’t too keen on The Mummy’s Beni found Alex to be unbearable.

Speaking of unbearable: the CG! The Scorpion King alone is the stuff of bad CG legend. If you couldn’t stomach the look of the last film, this film’s cartoony, low poly CG might trigger a Scanners-level head explosion from you. And worse, there’s so much more of it this time around. Every scene, like a poison, it seeps into the frame. No doubt they were pushing the envelope with what could be done in the era, but I saw this one in theaters — it didn’t even look good back then.

The practical stunts and slam bang action keep this one afloat. There’s a lot of energetic swashbuckling, explosions, collapsing buildings, gushing rivers and massive set pieces. And again, it’s all way bigger than last time. 

If you focus on the heart on the characters, there’s some good stuff in The Mummy Returns. There’s a lot of fun ideas and a lot of goofy scenes, but the movie is way bigger than the last movie …and loses more realism as a result. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t an awesomely entertaining movie within this mummified walls.

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