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MUMMY RETURNS, THE

SYNOPSIS:
In 1933 former Legionnaire Rick O'Connell (Brendan Fraser) and his Egyptologist wife Evelyn (Rachel Weisz) return from an expedition with a bracelet said to have the power to revive the legendary Scorpion King (The Rock). At their London home they are confronted by agents in the employ of Imhotep (Arnold Vosloo), a 3000 year-old mummy who has been resurrected eight years after being defeated by Rick and Evelyn in a spectacular battle. Their son Alex (Freddie Boath), who now wears the bracelet, is kidnapped by Imhotep's minions and taken to Egypt where Imhotep plans to destroy the Scorpion King and use his army of canine-bodied warriors to rule the world. The trail leads to the fabled desert oasis and pyramid of Ahm Shere, a place from which no mortal has ever returned.

"Joyous escapism, The Mummy Returns delivers on every count in a spectacularly thrilling adventure with charismatic performances and a non stop barrage of astounding visual effects and stunts. In the hands of lesser actors, some of the lines might have fallen flat, but the fabulous cast headed by Brendan Fraser, dazzles every step of the way. Fraser certainly has a way about him. Epitomising the hero of our dreams, he is a man's man and a gal's dreamboat, combining sensual good looks, athleticism and sensitivity; perfect for physical action and action of the heart. With effortless comedic timing, he has the knack of delivering lines with a shrug or on a razor sharp edge. Together with Rachel Weisz, the chemistry is hot, hot, hot, while newcomer Freddie Boath impresses as the cheeky, plucky 8 year old son who reads ancient Arabic and is not short of ideas or pluck to squeeze out of sticky situations. There's comic relief from John Hannah, while Arnold Vosloo, Patricia Velasquez (exotic, intriguing), Oded Fehr (enigmatic) and The Rock are all rock solid. The Rock's grand entrance as the extraordinary Scorpion King is nothing short of gob-smacking. If you thought the effects in The Mummy were fantabulous, wait until you see these! The mood and style is similar to that of the first film - the amber, rich production design and costumes are gorgeous, the score is genuinely exciting, the locations spectacular, and the effects amazing. But commendably, they are always in context of the story, and the wonderful thing is that we believe! We believe the characters, their plight and while we never doubt for a minute that the world will be saved, it's a ripper of a yarn that amuses, thrills and entertains. Be it mummies crashing through walls or chasing red double decker buses in 20th Century London, walls of water cascading through phenomenal vistas or an old-world balloon cruising through a galaxy of stars, this is a terrific yarn and the story telling is convincing. Cleverly intermingling the past and present, the script weaves in and out of centuries as smoothly as an asp slithering. The ultimate adventure, The Mummy Returns has it all!"
Louise Keller

“The law of diminishing returns has been reversed by a sequel so packed with action and goofy plot twists you don't even notice it runs for what would otherwise be an absurdly long 130 minutes. That's almost double the running time of Karl Freund's 1932 Universal classic but this one hardly stops for a breath as our old mate Imhotep returns for another stab at immortality, world domination, eternal love etc. The opening scene sets the tone for the large-scale entertainment to follow. The Scorpion King (played by WWF superstar The Rock) marshals what looks like millions of canine-bodied warriors in the desert. Mass-scale carnage follows (it reminded me of the big bug attacks in Starship Troopers) before poor old Mr Scorpion loses the war but wins immortality by selling his soul to the war god Anubis. Meanwhile back at the pyramid Egyptologist Evelyn (Rachel Weisz) is experiencing flashbacks and deja-vu as she and hubby Rick (Brendan Fraser) discover the all-important bracelet about which this tale hangs. That's immediately before the house falls down as floodwaters magically appear and they escape in the proverbial nick of time. The set-up could have been done in 10 minutes: here it takes half an hour but it doesn't matter because there is so much energy, excitement and spectacular destruction we're happy for it to simply keep coming. It doesn't stop there either; back in London there's the resurrection of bad, bad Imhotep in the bowels of the British Museum and a thrilling fight scene on a double-decker bus with Imhotep's fleet-footed assassins -no prizes for guessing what happens when it approaches a low bridge - before everyone troops off to Egypt where more thrills await. The Mummy Returns doesn't rely solely on special effects, some of which are shonky but who cares, to maintain its momentum. Writer/director Stephen Sommers has great fun with his characters and lets his imagination run wild in establishing all sorts of fanciful connections between the living and the temporarily revived. Everyone seems to be the re-incarnation of someone from ancient times or an agent chosen by fate to fulfil an heroic destiny. All this allows the action to leap about in time and provide a good-natured excuse for exciting scenes like the sword and trident fight between Weisz and Patricia Velasquez who scores excellent villainess points as Anck-Su-Namun, the reincarnation of Imhotep's great love. Somers' screenplay doesn't take itself seriously and pokes good fun at the genre - one character comments how sick he is of another going on and on about how "this place is cursed". The knowing asides littered throughout the film are amusing but, importantly, never send the film into the realms of outright parody. Performances are pitched likewise, with Fraser and Weisz working a bouncy double act as a kind of Mr and Mrs Indiana Jones (Weisz handles firearms in splendid style) and Oded Fehr suitably heroic, handsome and mysterious as their special helper Ardeth Bay. I could have done without the annoying John Hannah as Evelyn's annoying brother Jonathan but he's about the only character who induces groans. This surprisingly good sequel is powered by the confidence of a team who know they're making something vastly superior this time. This Universal Studios Mummy is welcome back again if this is any indicator; in the meantime order an extra large popcorn and enjoy a most entertaining adventure that's also art-directed within an inch of its life and looks all the better for it. Very good fun."
Richard Kuipers

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 2
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

See our INTERVIEW with Brendan Fraser

TRAILER

MUMMY RETURNS, THE (M)
(US)

CAST: Brendan Fraser, Rachel Weisz, John Hannah, Arnold Vosloo, Oded Fehr, Patricia Velasquez, The Rock, Freddie Boath

DIRECTOR: Stephen Sommers

PRODUCER: Jim Jacks, Sean Daniel

SCRIPT: Stephen Sommers

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Adrian Biddle BSC

EDITOR: Bob Ducsay

MUSIC: Alan Silvestri

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Allan Cameron

RUNNING TIME: 130 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: UIP

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE DATE: May 10, 2001

VIDEO RELEASE: October 3, 2001

VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Universal Pictures Video







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