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The Mummy Returns

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Since I knew going in that this was going to be a comedy, I was better prepared than I was for the first one.

This movie is supposed to take place about ten years after the first.  The two main characters, Rachel Weisz and Brendan Frasier are married and have an eight-year-old kid.  Early in the movie they start adding in some back-story.  Stuff that probably should have been in the first movie, but wasn't.  Things like, it turns out Weisz' character is actually the reincarneted daughter of the Pharaoh in the first movie.   She starts having flashbacks to her life in those times, interacting with the same main bad guys who were in the first movie.

Why wasn't there any hint of that in the first movie?  There didn't seem to be any major event to trigger all of this.  They just sort of threw it in there.   Similarly, Fraser's character had a tattoo (birthmark?) that meant that he was supposed to be some sort of "world protector."  That seemed to be simply a plant for him to decide to be brave at the end of the movie.  All of that new back story kind of bugged me throughout the movie.

The women looked good.  Patricia Velasquez actually got to do some acting this time and she seemed to do okay.  She played another reincarnated character.

As the previews showed, she and Weisz have a couple of sword fighting scenes.  It looked like at least some of them were done by the actors themselves, and they were looking pretty toned.  So those were pleasant.

Most of the secondary characters were a bit too shallow.  The three grave robbers just kind of stuck their heads in a couple of times and then were killed off.  The priest-type bad guy didn't really seem to have a real role.  You kept expecting him to do something, but after the ritual near the beginning he was superfluous.  Weisz' character's brother was supposed to be comic relief, but he seemed to be mostly a distraction.  The balloon pilot (I don't think it fits the definition of a dirigible) was also supposed to be more comic relief, but he ended up with just a couple of running jokes, used to the point of irritation.

And so on.  There were an awful lot of characters, and most seemed to be just plot devices.  The kid was the motivation for the parents to charge after him.  The head guard seemed to be trying to fill two roles.  First, he was supposed to be the competent bad guy.  But in the middle he became yet another comic relief as he was teased by the kid.  Then he got competent again right at the end, when he fought the Secret Society Protector dude.

One big problem they had was there was sort of a double-protagonist story going on.   Imotep, the same bad guy from the first movie, was the primary protagonist.   But he had his own protagonist who he had to face at the end of the movie.  I think that added to the general disorganized feeling to the movie.

I wonder what kind of movie might have been made if they had simply concentrated Imotep's quest, since in the end it has to fail.  That might have made a really interesting movie.  Hmm.

The animation was both good and bad.  In the close-ups the motion of the animated characters was pretty good.  But the wide shots of the armies dodn't look quite right to me.  The characters appeared to skate a little and maybe float over the ground a little.  Some of the dust kicked up looked pretty bad.  And some of the other animations, where they had stuff streaming along the ground, was too regular.  They had this shadow racing toward a pyramid and the front end was a silhouette of a bunch of scorpions.  They swayed back and forth on about a 1/2 second cycle.  And when the jungle streamed into the pyramid it was just a little too regular.  I didn't notice any repeats, but it just didn't look quite right to me.

Bad Astronomy describes how the shadow was going backwards during one of the climactic scenes.  I'm not sure I would have caught it if I hadn't seen that page, first.

As usual, supernatural movies have all of these complex rules that need to be satisfied, and I wonder how they figured out the rules in the first place.

On my brother's Total Movie Value Scale, Cable with Dinner.  Very similar in tone to the first.  The story seemed a bit forced.

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Last modified: June 14, 2004
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