"Missed It By That Much!"
What You Need To Know:
THE MUMMY RETURNS makes full use of Ancient Egyptian mythology to create an imaginative, exciting action-adventure. The moral elements in THE MUMMY RETURNS seem to be a bit stronger than the first movie. It even includes a few positive references to God. Regrettably, the sequel also has one of the heroes use an occult book to bring back to life a loved one. It also accepts the notion of reincarnation as true and includes dialogue that mocks a biblical belief in Heaven
(PaPa, FRFR, OO, BB, Ab, LL, VVV, N, M) Pluralistic pagan worldview with full acceptance of reincarnation as being true, not just possible, occult elements such as evil occult villains & “heroes” use occult, Ancient Egyptian book to bring back to life a loved one, moral, pro-family elements about stopping occult villains & forces that includes heroes thanking God & one hero tells another hero that he’s a servant of God but that is done in a vague Muslim context, & movie mocks belief in the “Good Book” (the Bible) & the concept of Heaven in a brief exchange of dialogue; 9 mild obscenities, 1 or 2 strong profanities, 7 mild profanities, & little boy says “cripes” several times; lots of action violence (but not really bloody or really gruesome), such as many gunfights, chases, perilous escapes, martial arts, fistfights, wrestling, bugs crawl inside one man’s body, scary mummy creatures attack people, scary pygmy skeletons attack people, monster attacks people, man knifes his lover’s husband, soldiers battle, & souls from the underworld try to pull people down into Hell; no sex but some passionate kissing; naturalistic male nudity; no drinking; no smoking; and, movie replays adulterous affair between magician in Ancient Egypt & the pharaoh’s wife, which leads to regicide.
Universal’s old MUMMY movies always danced around the idea of reincarnation, a false religious notion. In many of the movies, if not most of them. the mummy monster searches for the possible reincarnation of his long-dead girlfriend.
THE MUMMY RETURNS, Universal’s sequel to its 1999 hit reworking of this franchise, doesn’t just dance around the idea of reincarnation, it dives right into it. Set in 1933, the story this time around involves a mysterious black-haired woman, Meela, who wants to reanimate Imhotep, the mummified villain of the first movie whom the heroes cast back into the underworld by using the Egyptian Book of the Dead. Meela turns out to have the reincarnated body of Anck-Su-Namun, Imhotep’s old lover, who just happened to be the wife of the Pharaoh whom Imhotep was supposed to serve. Meela succeeds in reanimating Imhotep, and now Imhotep wants to bring up Anck-Su-Namun’s soul so it can be put into Meela’s body.
Meanwhile, Rick and Evelyn, the main hero and heroine from the previous movie, have married. Rick is helping Evelyn, a talented archeologist, explore more Egyptian tombs, along with their son Alex. When Rick and Evelyn must save Alex from Imhotep, who has kidnapped the boy because he’s wearing a magical bracelet or wristlet that Imhotep needs, Evelyn comes to learn that she is herself the reincarnation of the Pharaoh’s daughter. Thus, there is one flashback where Pharaoh and Imhotep enjoy watching the Pharaoh’s wife and the Pharaoh’s daughter, in the look-alike bodies of Meela and Evelyn, engage in an Egyptian martial arts battle to see who will be the guardian of the Bracelet of Anubis.
This bracelet, of course, is the one which Evelyn finds centuries later and which Imhotep is now using to find the location of the tomb of the fearless warrior known as the Scorpion King. Every 5,000 years (according to the movie’s fancy updating of legendary Egyptian mythology), the Scorpion King reawakens to take charge of the jackal-headed Army of Anubis, the Egyptian God of the Underworld, to wreck havoc on the world. The immortal Imhotep figures that, if he can defeat the Scorpion King, he can take over this army and rule the world with Anck-Su-Namun by his side. Joining Rick, Evelyn and Alex to stop this evil plan are Evelyn’s brother, the Muslim leader of a brotherhood of warriors and the owner of a makeshift dirigible.
Egyptian mythology can be very fascinating stuff. It’s actually more imaginative than the mythology of the Ancient Greeks and Ancient Romans, and it has those wonderful hieroglyphic images to give it life, not to mention the fantastic architectural monuments which the Egyptians have left us.
THE MUMMY RETURNS makes full use of these things, and the special effects folks at Industrial Light and Magic, to create an imaginative, action-heavy story with some scary monster elements. The heroes and heroine battle floods, mummy creatures, scary pygmy skeletons, a huge monster, thousands of jackal-headed soldiers, dead souls from Hell, and people. It’s all a heady, exciting blend of adventure, romance, thrills, drama, and rapid-fire comic relief. Though intense and scary at times, the violence is not overly bloody or gruesome, but there is a lot of it.
Once again, Arnold Vosloo makes a formidable villain. The movie uses his expressive eyes and face to almost perfect effect. Vosloo’s excellent performance slightly overshadows those of Brendan Fraser, Rachel Weisz and Ardeth Bay as Rick, Evelyn and the leader of the Muslim brotherhood. Even so, however, Fraser, Weisz and Bay are perfectly cast as the intrepid heroes and heroine, as are Freddie Boath as Alex and John Hannah as Jonathan. They capture the audience’s sympathies firmly and quickly.
Writer/director Stephen Sommers, who also wrote and directed the 1999 movie, and his crew handle all these disparate elements with aplomb. There are still a few awkward, false notes to Sommers’ peripatetic vision. One of the worst is a dramatic moment that comes near the end, which seems to lack conviction. Sommers beautifully recovers, however, by going back to the action. He also follows it up with a brief moment between Imhotep, Rick and Evelyn, where Imhotep suddenly realizes that their love for one another is far stronger than the passion that he and Anck-Su-Namun share. The look in Vosloo’s eyes at that moment is one of those rare instances of cinematic purity and dramatic epiphany which shows that the director/editor and his actor have truly achieved something special. It also demonstrates that Sommers and Vosloo may have much more to offer moviegoers in the future.
The moral elements in THE MUMMY RETURNS seem to be a bit stronger than the first movie. Not only do viewers get another classic battle between good and evil, the movie throws in a lot of positive family moments between Rick and Evelyn and their son, Alex. There are also a few moments where Evelyn or another one of the movie’s heroic characters says an appreciative “Thank God!” after a close shave of one kind or another.
Regrettably, however, THE MUMMY RETURNS includes one sequence where one of the heroes uses one of the occult Egyptian books in the story to bring back to life a loved one. This directly contradicts the Bible’s strong admonishment against such occult practices. Within this sequence is a short patch of dialogue that appears to mock the Bible, which one character piously calls “the Good Book,” and also mocks the biblical belief in Heaven. Furthermore, as noted earlier and in our CONTENT section above, the movie’s pluralistic worldview accepts the notion of reincarnation as truth. Reincarnation is a false religious notion that has corrupted India’s society and other places in the East. The mixing of reincarnation, the occult, moral elements, and positive references to God in THE MUMMY RETURNS results in a pluralistic pagan worldview. Unlike some of the STAR WARS movies, this pushes the movie into very unwelcome territory, from a biblical point of view.