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The Mummy (1999)
Director: Stephen Sommers

review by Carl Meewezen

Monster-mash variation on those perennial themes of Egyptian horror, the cursed tomb and the m agically revived victim of a pharaoh's wrath. Here, Imhotep is played with delicious relish by Arnold Vosloo (Lance Henriksen's sidekick in John Woo's Hard Target), while Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz are the romantic leads in a stirring adventure strongly reminiscent of Raiders Of The Lost Ark (1981).
   Well-executed visuals by ILM include skeletal corpses, powerful sandstorms and scuttling hordes of flesh-eating beetles. Yet, astonishing as these effects are, nothing here is quite as spectacular as the opening battle between Legionnaires and Arabian horsemen, shot live in a desert with hundreds of extras. This is enjoyable, feelgood entertainment where the hero gets the girl, the villains get their comeuppance and we, the audience, cheerfully accept such absurdity.
previously published in VideoVista #12

The Mummy Returns (2001)
Director: Stephen Sommers

review by Trent Walters

The first viewing of The Mummy, was a bummer. Yes, it was an adventure, but why not a thoughtful one with credible, dynamic characters instead of the stock? The second viewing faired better with lowered expectations: good schlock fun. Bearing that in mind, The Mummy Returns will fare similarly.
   The adventuresome O'Connell couple are now married with a child in tow on their Egyptian tomb escapades. This time they walk away with the bracelet of the Scorpion King, the man who made a deal with the dog god Anubis to help him kill his enemies, but who in return has to serve and guard the Anubis' army. The mummy gets revived to race against the O'Connells across the desert to fight the Scorpion King and vie for the control of the army to conquer the Earth.
   Certain elements of the movie improve: John Hannah actually develops his character - emboldening his cowardly stereotype, plot movements deepen for the viewers to discover that part of Rachel Wiesz's archaeological drive is that she was an Egyptian princess in a past life, which becomes rather integral to the plot's unravelling. Other elements take a downward turn: the assorted bad guys don't get much chance to develop their ominous natures to heighten our fear of them, tiresome plot movements get reused like the face of the mummy (albeit in water instead of sand this time) and the ever-popular collapsing building finale.
   Still, if you enjoyed The Mummy, you may as well return to The Mummy Returns before you catch their prequel, The Scorpion King.

The Mummy

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