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Sequels aren’t always what they’re cracked up to be. Of course every now and then you’ll get the really good one such as Godfather Part 2, Return Of The Jedi, and Terminator 2. But for every good sequel comes four bad ones just looking for that quick paycheck and not giving a damn whether they entertain anyone or not. With the success of The Mummy in 1999; it seemed only too obvious that a sequel would be made to cash in on the big bucks that our not so wrapped up friend could bring in. The filmmakers of The Mummy Returns went and did the first correct step in producing a good sequel and that’s getting the entire cast back together. Not only did that help, but a good story and some fun visuals made for an enjoyable return. Sorry, I couldn’t help it.
The Scorpion King was a powerful warrior that lived a long time ago and wished to have rule over all the land. In order to do this and flawlessly, the King made a deal with an evil god named Anubis. Considering the King’s army wasn’t doing so well, this deal would assure his rise back to power and victory. Little did he know that he would be banished for all eternity by the same spirit which helped him in the beginning. Well, at the time he thought it would be for eternity, but as we’ve come to find out many times, nothing is forever.
Way into the future, a few artifact hunters are searching for more clues as to the Egyptian history that came before them. Rick O’Connell is back, is now married to Evie, and they have a young treasure hunting son named Alex. Along with Evie’s brother Jonathan, they are still searching for old artifacts considering the luck they had the first time around. While searching this time though, Evie stumbles across the bracelet of Anubis which is obviously very valuable, but what they don’t know about is how much history is really behind it. According to legend, once the bracelet is worn, the warriors of Anubis will rise up and he who adorned the bracelet will die in seven days. The group also has no idea that followers of the Egyptian leader Imhotep are searching for this same bracelet so they can have their leader rise again and guide them. Trouble arises for everyone when young Alex slips the bracelet on his arm and becomes the object of much concern for everyone involved.
The story seems rather complex and there is a lot more to it that I didn’t even delve into, but I’m trying to leave as much for those that haven’t seen it as possible. And even though it may seem confusing, it’s really not when you just sit down and watch it because it is more then explained in the over two hours in length the film is. The Mummy Returns does some great things in continuing the story which we were presented with in The Mummy, but also giving a lot of background information we weren’t graced with before. Background information on O’Connell, Evie, Imhotep, Anuck-Su-Namun, and more is given here making us care even more for these characters we watch before us. For some reason, all of the good guys are so likable and the bad guys were so detestable in the first film and we knew next to nothing about them. Now we are given the reasons why we love and hate them bringing it all into a much brighter light.
A lot of the big time effects from The Mummy aren’t as plentiful in the sequel, but that is of no real consequence. All of the humor and action fills those holes and makes for a jam-packed adventure. The only thing that I could have done with a little less of is Alex, the O’Connell’s son. Maybe it’s just me, but he was quite annoying and there were times when I was hoping he’d get kidnapped and the bad guys would just hide him out for a week, but that’s rather mean. Sorry. Other then that, if you really enjoyed the first film then it will be almost impossible for you to not have as much fun with this one.
The film is shown in 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen format and when looking at this one and then checking out my older copy of the film, there is a huge difference. The entire picture has been remastered and it looks beautiful here.
The film is heard in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound and it also is heard very nicely. All dialogue can be heard loud and clear without having to worry about fiddling with the volume while the sound effects and music make this an even greater viewing experience.
Outtakes – This feature runs just over six minutes in length and includes some really fun goofs, line mix-ups, and just overall funny stuff.
Audio Commentary – Director/writer Stephen Sommers is joined by executive producer and editor Bob Ducsay for the commentary track. These two make this a great track to listen to because they keep it light and really fun. Not only do they discuss what is happening on screen and the fun or troubles that come along with it, but they share some behind the scenes stories as well that are really enjoyable.
The Mummy: Tomb Of The Dragon Emperor Sneak Peek – This short three minute featurette is a look at the third (fourth?) film in The Mummy series since it is set for release in August of this year. Not much is shown here that you probably haven’t already seen in trailers, but the filmmakers do provide a little information on the whole thing.
Digital Copy Of The Mummy Returns – Feel free to get another version of the film for your computer or laptop by inserting the disc into your DVD-ROM drive.
Unraveling The Legacy Of The Mummy – The Mummy is one of the classic monsters and has a long legacy dating back way to the thirties. Here is an eight minute feature that details his history a little bit from the older films all the way up to the 1999 hit The Mummy.
Storyboard To Final Film Comparison – This is one of my favorite special features that is being included on more and more DVDs as of late. You’ll get the chance to check out certain scenes from the film at the same time as watching the storyboard drawings right next to them. It’s a real fun way to check out what they pictured in their mind before filming and how it finally came about. This feature lasts just under eight minutes.
An Army To Rule The World Part 2 – This is a short six minute feature that includes the director, visual effects supervisor, and others talking about making the film. Nothing too interesting, but I feel kind of gypped. This is part 2 of a feature that began on the deluxe edition of The Mummy. Talk about your money making schemes.
Visual And Special Effects Formation – Here is a feature broken down into several parts that can be played separately or all at once and runs sixteen minutes and eleven seconds in total. Anything and everything you could want to know about how certain scenes or effects were done is shown right here.
Spotlight On Location – Go behind the scenes in this twenty minute feature that is basically one giant trailer for the film itself. Cast and crew give their thoughts on what it was like while filming and the finished product.
Egyptology 201 – Want some education? Well, then this is the place for you. Text information on King Tut, mummies, mummification, pyramids, Egypt, and other things are here for your reading pleasure. This is another special feature that began on the deluxe edition of The Mummy with “Egyptology 101.”
An Exclusive Conversation With The Rock – This was obviously recorded years ago because as we all may know now, Dwayne Johnson no longer wants to be known by his wrestling persona, The Rock. This short four minute interview just talks with The Rock about his role as the Scorpion King.
“Forever May Not Be Long Enough” Music Video by Live
If you happen to find a film that you like, then a good sequel always calls for some added jubilation. So many filmmakers let everything slide downhill once they’ve tasted success because they know that second big fat paycheck is a mere crappy sequel away. Stephen Sommers appeared to take the success of The Mummy to heart instead of his wallet and allowed for fans to get a second film they would truly enjoy. It has lots of action, a great plot with lots of backstory, and it brings back all of the actors from the first film so that viewers won’t be focused on a new O’Connell or new Evie. Quite the shame that can’t be said for the third film in the series which Rachel Weisz decided to not return for. But that’s the theatres and this is a DVD and it’s good. A little bit of a warning though and it is something I experienced already by reviewing the new recently released collector’s edition of Van Helsing. If you already own a previous release of The Mummy Returns DVD, then think hard before buying this one. A lot of the special features are exactly the same, but a few new ones have been slapped on. I’m not saying they aren’t worth checking out, but maybe not worth having two of the same DVDs with only three or four differences.
Universal Studios presents The Mummy Returns 2-Disc Deluxe Edition. Directed by: Stephen Sommers. Starring: Brendan Fraser, Rachel Weisz, John Hannah, Arnold Vosloo, Oded Fehr, Patricia Velasquez, The Rock. Written by: Stephen Sommers. Running time: 130 minutes on 2 discs. Rating: PG-13. Released on DVD: July 8, 2008. Available at Amazon.com