The Mummy Returns Blu-ray Review

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The Mummy Returns
Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Written and Directed by: Stephen Sommers

Review by: Lance Rhinehart

Ten years after the close of The Mummy storyline, the mummy does indeed return; this time he plays a more secondary role in a sinister plot for domination and havoc. His reincarnated lover, formerly Anck Su Namun, and currently Meela (Velasquez), orchestrates the plan to not only reunite herself with Imhotep (Vosloo), but to kill the infamous and powerful Scorpion King (The Rock) which will give her and Imhotep total world domination. While Rick O’Connell (Fraser), Evie (Weisz), and Jonathon (Hannah) reunite once again to save the world, they also comically recognize the redundancy of the same old story in which they have found themselves, which by and large stands as a positive tribute to the writing of the Mummy Returns. Sommers’ infusion of comically well-balanced lines with just enough horror and adventure to keep it serious brings about an attraction to the film that is not easily met as a general rule let alone a film that has to fight the curse of the sequel.

Sequels often bring with them the stigma of being watered down versions of their prequels, and even though The Mummy Returns walks dangerously close at times to committing the sequel sin, it has redeeming qualities directly built into the dialogue, the plot twists and new creature as well as character appearances. Notably, the character of Alex (Boath), the O’Connell’s inquisitive ten year old son who is endowed with his mother’s brains and his father’s toughness, wields a fearless curiosity and charm that often places him on the frontline of danger. Consequently, the film veers from the sole conflict of stopping the bad guy and adds an additional conflict of having to save an innocent (who is both innocent and not innocent simultaneously) while still stopping said bad guy. Additionally, Stephen Sommers weaves into the plot a second set of villains who have their own agenda and the plot trajectory becomes multifaceted in such a way as to keep us as viewers guessing and predicting, frequently without success.

Just when we begin to feel comfortable with the good guys having their already unfortunate set of circumstances under control, things of course go from bad to worse. For example, when the O’Connells have a plan to retrieve their son from his captors, a group of hostile, undead, flesh eating Pigmies show up to make a really bad situation really, really bad. Sommers pushes us to our seat edge by combining an adrenaline filled battle where we almost feel for the villains as they are subjected to unspeakable horrors, with a heart pounding race against the sun as Rick O’Connell must literally run for the sake of his son’s life! I could go on teasing and hinting at how the viewers are kept in thrall to the film, but why not see for yourself? Included among the reasons to own this film on Blu-ray are its audiovisual sensations such as chest thumping base during the scene where Evie and Rick narrowly escape the Nile River flooding the tomb of the Scorpion King, or possibly the unbelievable detail and epic scope of countless Anubis warriors swarming across the desert in a god-like fury. Whether you are entranced by the mysterious ancient temples filled with scarabs and scorpions or by the sexy surfaces of Evie and Meela dueling as their Egyptian incarnations in hand-to-hand combat, you will appreciate the crisp sounds and visuals offered here.

As a viewer, I could not help but interact with the Blu-ray U-control features as I watched the film. The Picture-in-picture feature offers easy access insight into the creation of the film’s characters and inspiration; a cast bio and photo gallery also help to generate an appreciation for the subtle craftsmanship that must work in perfect harmony to reach what we see as the final product. Additionally, the U-control gives us a glimpse at some of the storyboarding for key scenes. We get background information on the mytho-historical aspects of some of the film’s ingredients, and behind the scenes computer generated composition that the cast and crew utilized in the production of the film. I actually found that watching the film once through was an enjoyable experience by itself; however, I strongly recommend not stopping, but fully exploring the U-control information and interaction to gain a sense of depth and viscous appreciation for the mastery behind its production. The Mummy Returns ranks as a sequel not to be ignored especially if you like having your senses toyed with in a cinematic thrill-ride kind of way.

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