Sequels can be tricky business. Expectations are usually high because it was the success of the original that warrants a follow-up. More often than not the audience leaves unsatisfied. The Mummy’s Return suffers this curse more intensely than any invoked by Imhotep or the Scorpion King. Yes, the story is contrived with holes big enough to drive a starship through. Still I rather enjoyed this film. If you’re looking for logic then what are you doing watching a Mummy film anyway? If you are looking for a thrill ride then this film delivers a rollercoaster wild ride through Egypt. When you’re finished you’ll be calling for your Mummy.
Rick O’Connell (Fraser) now married to Evie (Weisz) and father to 8 year old Alex is still exploring tombs and getting into trouble. This time it’s Alex who wears a golden bracelet, once the property of the evil Scorpion King. The bracelet is a map of sorts leading the O’Connells and the obligatory bad guys, lead by the resurrected Imhotep, to an oasis where the Scorpion King waits to be brought back to lead his army over all the Earth. The bad guys are planning to use Imhotep to kill the Scorpion King (The Rock) and then use the evil army. The O’Connell’s are just trying to save the planet… again. O’Connell manages to destroy both evil monsters and saves the world.
The DVD’s primary audio track is Dolby Digital 5.1 track. This disc delivers an even more dynamic soundtrack than the original despite the inferiority of Alan Silvestri’s score to that of Goldsmith. The separation is dramatic and makes excellent use of all the speakers. Voices and sound details are accurate and clear. The bass is quite high and might require adjustment of your sub to avoid demolishing the walls of your room.
There is commentary track by the same pair of Sommers and Ducsay. Once again they deliver an entertaining conversation with plenty of anecdotes and technical details. They willingly point out flaws in the production and are a very enjoyable listen.
The Mummy Returns is presented in its widescreen aspect ration of 2.35:1. If this film is superior to the first in any way it is in the quality of the print. The color reproduction is nothing short of brilliant. The wonderful costumes and sets are flowing with vibrant color that is not lost in the transfer. Inside shots prove true blacks and darker hues. There was apparently a great amount of care involved with the interior lighting and it is not lost in the DVD.
The extras on this disc are many but nothing to brag about. Universal has included more advertisements disguised as “bonus features” than any disc I have seen to date. These shameless plugs include ads for the upcoming “The Scorpion King” and Universals theme parks and rides, as well as video games. There is a music video and spot for a children’s cancer institute.
On the plus side there is a “Spotlight on Location” featurette that takes you on location with the cast and crew. Another lesson in Egyptology can be found in the text based Egyptology 201. The DVD-ROM sports a cool game demo and the usual links and text based stuff.
You really must approach this film as you would a thrill ride. If you do you will be treated to some of the best CGI work to date. There is some great cinematography on some great locations. The blimp at night is breathtaking. Ardeth Bey tells us: “The story is the journey… the destination is yet to be written.” Mummy 3 anyone?