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:: The Mummy Returns

‘The Mummy Returns’ basically does the same thing as the original film, ‘The Mummy’ but it does it louder, faster and sillier. A more cartoon like version of the Indiana Jones films it too is set in the 1930’s and turns archaeology into adventure. The original nemesis, Imhotep, is resurrected as part of an evil plan to take over the world (what else?) and only the O’Connell’s, Rick (Brendan Fraser) and his now wife Evelyn (Rachel Weisz) can stop the villainous Egyptologists and their murderous minions. Rick and Evelyn now have a young son, who is the cause of much peril and cuteness and the sequel lacks something in sexual tension as a result of this happy family scenario.

The original Mummy was a big box office success and already the sequel has had one of the largest non-holiday opening weekends in the US. It feels somehow unsporting to comment on the many plot holes in the film as the whole thing is done with its tongue planted firmly in its cheek, Brendan Fraser particularly able to play the dashing hero without for a moment taking himself too seriously. But, the story is convoluted with far too many scenes of people explaining curses and backstories, Rick O’Connell’s new lineage being particularly irrelevant. More of a remake than a sequel, I did feel a bit cheated when an entire sequence from the original Mummy was repeated, though this time instead of a wall of sand chasing our heroes, it was a wall of water. The hot air balloon device stretches credulity a little bit too far, but all in all, I was willing to go with it. The battle sequence at the end shows up just how poorly the exact same thing was done in The Phantom Menace.

John Hannah is great, if underused, as the comic relief, and professional wrestler The Rock, is convincing as the bloodlusting Scorpion King, though his return at the end of the film is a little too computerised. All the old characters return and you can almost see on the screen how much fun they’re having. And it is all strictly for fun. What tension there is suffers from dilution with too many villains and too many heroes, most of who happen to be pretty much immortal, or if not, they can swiftly be resurrected.

This is definitely one to be seen on the big screen for even though the effects are not always spectacular, they add to the comic book feel of this film. Just suspend all disbelief and let yourself be taken on an enjoyable and utterly harmless roller coaster ride. And if you like this one, you won’t have to wait too long for the next instalment, as the prequel, The Scorpion King is apparently already in the works.

Screening on general release