Las Vegas Film Society

The Mummy Returns

Editor's Review

No one reviewer can ever capture the opinion of all potential cinemaniacs. Just as Siskel had Ebert, so too does the LVFS, in Mr. John Steffens and myself, senior editor of the LVFS and Emperor Entertainment.

In no way would I ever criticize or ridicule someone else's opinion, or state that someone else's opinion is wrong, after all an opinion is just that, an opinion, and there can be no right or wrong. However, I do find myself in disagreement with John's take on The Mummy Returns.

First of all, allow me to explain what last weekend was like for me. My wife and I were attempting to see The Mummy Returns just like just about everyone else in Southern Nevada. First, we tried to see it at one of the newest neigborhood cinemas, The Regal Colonnade. We got there an hour early (4pm for a 4:55pm showing), and yet it was already sold out. In fact, the 7pm show was approaching sold out status. Not to be outdone, we headed for Sam's Town, looking to snatch a showing there.

We got to Sam's 30 minutes prior, and it was sold out, and it was playing on THREE screens! (This was Saturday afternoon). We ended up waiting until Sunday morning, and we arrived at Sam's Town a full hour before showtime. Again, by the time the box office opened, the line stretched almost past the buffet (a very long way), and again, we were all there to see The Mummy Returns!

So, after some pushing and buying of popcorn and cola livation, it was on to the movie! First off I was amazed by the newest trailer for Tomb Raider, and Shrek is starting to look mighty interesting, as well.

Many critics, myself included, had some problems with the first Mummy movie. It had everything going for it to become another Indiana Jones, but for some reason it fell a little flat. Not totally flat, but a little flat. I didn't mind the comedy, that's standard faire in an adventure romp, but the motivation of the characters was a little slim. I mean, Evie and her brother were motivated by greed, looking for buried treasure located on a stolen treasure map.

I really like Brendan Frasier as an actor, some of his movies have been first rate (School Ties, Bedazzled, etc...). In the first Mummy movie he seemed a little under used, and like I mentioned earlier, his motivations seemed transparent. Not only that, but they didn't seem genuinely affected by their surroundings, like a mummy half reconstituted is really of no consequence other than an excuse to run into another scene. Many of these problems seem fixed in the sequel.

In The Mummy Returns, there is just simply put so much more story. How much more story? I dunno, 125% more? (Is that like more flavor in a bubble gum, I mean, how do you quantify flavor?! Ok, I digress...) Seriously, there is actually a link between the main characters, the story actually intertwines a little bit, and the characters seem genuinely baffled by some of the creatures, situations that they find themselves in. (In one scene, Brendan Frasier looks at another character and says, "Yanno, a few years ago all this would have seemed a little wierd!" That's movie making!)

The action in this film is first rate and almost non-stop. Sure, a little bit was predictable, and the ending was a little weak, but nothing that would make the 2 and 1/2 hour trip not worth while. In fact, this may even be a film that I recommend someone seeing more than once just to catch everything that is happening!

One thing added to this film is the O'Connell's 8 year old son, and again I disagree with John's take on this character. This boy is not at all like the kid in Phantom Menace, the boy in menace seemed to think of himself as indestructible, and really never showed fear. That's why he seemed like a cartoon, and no one really seemed to care about him. The boy in this film is (I think) what an 8 year old boy would be like if he were captured by a Mummy in the middle of 1930's Egypt. He shows fear, he is a bit of a smart ass, and he is fully capable of taking as good of care of himself as possible. His parents show fear over losing him, and they show their resolve to get him back, and their love for each other as a family.

I have also heard a little criticism of the reality of the CGI used in this film, primarily in the end. This is a bit true, it seems that if ILM had a few more months to work on it, it might look a little more real. HOWEVER, just how real is a half man half scorpion supposed to look? My wife noted, and I agreed, that the Scorpion King looked a little unreal, which actually added to the supernatural aspect of the character. Who knows, maybe that was the director's intent in the first place! Either way, it worked for me.

No, this is not an oscar winning movie (well, maybe for special effects or for score), but this is the highest grossing film not released on a holiday weekend, (grossing $70.1 million) and in fact only missed the highest grossing movie of all time by less than $2 million for an opening weekend. Does that make it good? No. But, a movie does not do this well after word of mouth gets out, and word is out on this movie, and it is good!

A movie to me does not have to be the best ever made to be my favorite, as readers of this site already know that my favorite movie (so far) of all time is Total Recall, not because of how great a movie it is, but because of how it makes ME feel when I watch it. The Mummy Returns will not replace Total Recall as my favorite of all time, but it surely ranks right up there with it.

In my humble opinion, if you like action romps, enjoyed the India Jones franchise, and even if you were disappointed with the first one, I highly recommend The Mummy Returns. This movie deserves to be seen on the big screen, and when it is released, please make sure you get the most out of your eventual DVD purchase by playing it in it's full 5.1 glory!

The Mummy Returns is rated PG-13, has no nudity, but plenty of violence and high adventure. A Must See!


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