The Mummy Returns (2001) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

"It is written of the magical pyramid that no one who has seen it has ever returned alive."

A question, Make it three questions:

1. Who wrote that, and what is his accuracy rate? Maybe he was the same guy who thought Chocolat would win Best Picture last year.

2. How did they know this? Did they interview every live person to ask them if they had ever gone to the magic pyramid? That would take a long time. Maybe they just used sampling techniques, like Gallup, in which case it would be zero with an error tolerance of plus or minus four percent. So it is possible that as many as four percent of all living people have seen it and returned alive, or about 240 million people, roughly the entire population of the United States. Not counting those who saw it in the movie.

3. If no live person has ever seen it, what makes them think it exists? What makes the guy who wrote it think it exists?

"You have started a chain reaction that could bring about the next apocalypse"

This reminds me of what the French people tell King Arthur, when they are asked to join his quest for the Grail:  "The Holy Grail? We already have one? It's-a very nice". Similarly, the Darrow character asked the William Jennings Bryan character in Inherit the Wind, when he took the witness stand as an expert on the bible, "So what about Cain's wife? Where did she come from? Was there another creation in the next county?"

I've always thought that apocalypses, like creations and Holy Grails, were pretty much maxed out at a quantity of one. You mean to say I missed the first apocalypse? I have to get on some better mailing lists. I guess it really wasn't that good of an apocalypse, given that I am here writing these words.

For now. 

Maybe it was just a time-delayed apocalypse.



none. Some skimpy costumes for Rachel Weisz and Patricia Velasquez

The alleged plot: a bunch of evil guys raise Mr Mummy to help them fight an even more evil guy and steal his army. I think. Or maybe they were just having a contest to see who was really the most evil guy of all. Given that one of the top evil contenders was The Rock, I think they should have taken a page from the book of the WWF, and avoided having bad guys fight each other.

And then a little kid gets something stuck on his arm which gives him a visual tour of Egypt. I think it was a View-Master projector. 

Then that Deuce Bigelow guy led his horsemen against an army of evil 8-foot dog soldiers battling for the god Anubis. Apparently the Anubmeister isn't a very powerful God, because the humans defeated about 100,000 of those soldiers without a single casualty. The humans didn't even seem to have any wounded, although they were breathing kinda heavy. The dog soldiers must have been the reincarnation of the British soldiers that fought against Ol' Hickory at the battle of New Orleans, although even that famous slaughter had eight American casualties. (The British commander lost his own life, plus 700 men killed, 1400 wounded, 500 captured.) 

To be honest, I like Brendan Frazier's combination of hunkiness and dorkiness, and I enjoyed the humor in the film, but without the quips it's really just a grade-z Mummy film, with a plot just as bad or worse than in those old movies, except with better production values. The serious dialogue must have been written by fourth graders, as evidenced by the examples above. Without the humor, I would have hated it. A lot of critics bash mass-market films, but I'm such an unabashed movie-lover that I generally don't have any trouble watching a summer blockbuster. But my attention drifted off quite a bit during this one.

DVD info from Amazon.

  • Widescreen anamorphic, 2.35:1

  • Full-length director commentary

  • various behind-the-scenes and making-of featurettes

The DVD is pretty much a shamelessly commercial product. Although it does deign to include the movie, as promised, it also includes three promos for the next sequel, The Scorpion King, and another ad for the Universal Studios theme parks.

... and probably some promotions for Ace Bandages. "My brand", says Im-Ho-Tep, "wrap me in Ace, or wrap me in nothing at all"

The Critics Vote

  • General consensus: between two and two and a half stars. Ebert 2/4, Berardinelli 2.5/4, Apollo 63/100.

  • Rotten Tomatoes summary. 47% positive reviews, only 35% from the inner circle.

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters score it 6.6/10, Apollo users 77/100 
  • With their dollars ... it did a blockbuster-level $201 million in the USA, was also a major overseas hit. It was made for $95 million dollars.
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, I'd say it's a C. A so-so action/adventure film. Ludicrous plot and dialogue are somewhat redeemed by humor. 

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