The Mummy Returns is one of the best Hollywood sequels!
Today is the 20th anniversary of the release of The Mummy Returns. I know May the 4th is “Star Wars Day,” and I’m happy for all the SW fans, but The Mummy is another classic action-adventure movie franchise that deserves a little praise. I absolutely adored this movie when I was a kid. We saw it 3 times in the theater. Which is a feat I would only ever repeat with Avengers Infinity War many years later.
The Mummy Returns is the sequel to 1999’s The Mummy, a wildly successful remake of the 1932 classic of the same name.
It stars Brendan Fraser as Rick, an American adventurer who discovers the ancient city of Hamunaptra. The movie features Academy Award winner Rachel Weisz as Evie, an Egyptologist on a quest to find the ‘City of the Dead.’ Agents of SHIELD star John Hannah as her carousing older brother with an eye for treasure and Arnold Vosloo as Imhotep, the evil titular Mummy.
This time around, the Rock joins them, in his motion picture debut, playing The Scorpion King. He is a fallen king who sacrifices his soul to Anubis in exchange for his army. Imhotep and his evil lover Anck-su-namuns’ backstories are expanded upon. Evie’s character is tied to their past as she’s revealed to be the reincarnation of Princess Nefertiri, daughter of the sleazy Pharoah, the two villains disposed of in the first film. Even Rick is given a place in all this mythology. Ardeth (played by Oded Fehr) explains that he is a descendant of the Medjai, a race of ancients sworn to uphold the balance between the undead and the living.
The Mummy Returns is Indiana Jones meets Marvel.
The plot is straightforward but with a few entertaining twists, and it never takes itself too seriously. All the actors are having the time of their lives making this movie. Even Rachel Weisz, who left the franchise after this to go win a bunch of Oscars, seems to have fun. She was able to depart from the bookworm damsel-in-distress role she played in the first one to kicking wholesale ass in the sequel.
The Mummy franchise is like a proto-MCU.
This film launched a shared universe with The Rock’s Scorpion King character receiving his own theatrical spin-off. That movie would receive a whopping FOUR sequels. All of them were all straight-to-DVD and none of them featuring Dwayne Johnson in the role.
Unfortunately, the follow-up to this movie, 2008’s The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, opened to mostly negative reviews. It was the lowest-grossing film of the trilogy. Even though the franchise fizzled out in the end, I’ll always look upon the first two entries fondly.
Both The Mummy and The Mummy Returns are available to stream now HBO Max!
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