The Mummy Returns -Blu Ray Review

Filming started immediately for the, less than well-received, sequel that followed 1999’s The Mummy.  Rachel Weisz and Brendan Fraser are back at it again in another installment in what would end up being a trilogy.  There was much excitement surrounding the film as the first had received much success.  The vision for the film was simple.  Give the audience what they loved about the first film but add even more action and special effects.  This seemingly simple goal may have been what undid all the success the original had received.  The story indeed feels bigger and bolder and would add, at the time, very ambitious effects.  

The Mummy Returns has some serious issues.  From the acting abilities of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (this was a long time ago, he has since improved significantly) to the special effects that just don’t quite hold up to the test of time.  The movie was ambitious and didn’t quite get there on a few different levels.

The Film

In what we must assume is around ten years later, we find the O’Connells back at it again.  This time they stumble upon the bracelet of Anubis once worn by the scorpion king, who ruled over Anubis’ vast army in a mission to take over the world.  They soon find themselves up against Imhotep once again thanks to the reincarnation of Anck Su Nnamun, who believes he is the only one that can kill The Scorpion King.  After their son Alex puts on the bracelet by mistake, he soon became the kidnap victim of the Diabolical Duo (Imhotep and Anck Su Namun) so that he can lead them to the oasis of Ahm Shere and, ultimately, The Scorpion King.

 

As you can see, there is a lot happening in this film.  At any given point there are several subplots taking place. It feels like too much – it’s too big to fit into the singular film (and only being able to rely on its predecessor for context and the audience’s buy-in) it just misses the mark in the story overall.  The film tries to feel bigger, almost like an epic at times, rather than sticking with small time grandiose stunts.  During the entire film, all I could think was how Indiana Jones-y the film feels at times. The problem with that, of course, is that If I wanted to watch Indiana Jones, I would.

 

The Film 2/5

Picture Quality

Of all the problems this film faces, one that is just simply impossible to ignore is how the visual effects do not stand the test of time.  It boils down to how much the film relies on visual effects instead of more practical effects like we saw in the first installment.  Otherwise, the film does well cinematically to capture the essence of the first film and its thematic elements.  In the scenes without visual effects, I found the picture crisp and clean overall.  It would seem that Blu-Ray is the perfect vehicle for the film. I just really wish that they would have relied less on computer generated effects and gone more practical, the film could have done much better.  

 

Picture Quality 2.5/5

Audio Quality

This time around we have Alan Silvestri at the helm of the score, sticking with the more traditional sound that ties into the first film, yet drives it up a notch and it all feels a bit more fast paced.  The audio levels are consistent and stay at a very reasonable level throughout the film.  I found that home viewing was wonderful in the sound department.  As always, it is a relief to find that I can leave the remote far, far away without the need to constantly babysit the volume.  

 

Audio 5/5

Packaging

I rather enjoy the new packaging that comes with the three Mummy Films.  I find it fresh and exciting and overall pleasing to the eye.  The case feels sturdy and the slip has a matte feeling to it.  It does well to point to the excitement in the film and still remains simple and not too busy on the cover.  On the inside, we find a not so standard not eco-case, and a disc that actually has custom artwork, each film has different artwork laiden on the disc.  What I really love is that all three fit so well together on the shelf and this one, of course, is no different.  

 

The Packaging 5/5

Special Features

Just like The Mummy, at first glance, we get a ton of extras included.  Most of the extras included in this release surround the effects and their conception from beginning to end.  The one major difference seems to be the overlap of a featurette available on both releases.  Other than that, I am pleased to see how much care was still involved in the making of the film.  It reminds me that at the time of release, the effects would not, and did not, change my experience.  This is most evident in the shots of the film included in the features.  The included clips are in the original quality and everything seems a bit more even.  That being said, the extras given to us for this release do well to add value to the film.  The Special Features include are as follows:

 

  • Outtakes
  • Feature Commentary with Director/Writer Stephen Sommers and Executive Producer/Editor Bob Ducsay
  • The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Warrior Sneak Peek
  • An Army to Rule the World, Part 2
    • This is Part 2 of 2 of a featurette that speaks to how the effects team was able to create the vast threats that are in this film.  
  • Unraveling the Legacy of The Mummy
    • This is literally the same featurette that is included in the first films extras
  • Visual and Special Effects Formation
    • Imhotep Returns
      • Plate Photography
      • Visual Effect Elements
      • Composed Shot
      • Final Feature Sequence
    • Pygmy Mummies Attack
      • Plate Photography
      • Visual Effect Elements
      • Composed Shot
      • Final Feature Sequence
    • Anubis Warriors Rising
      • Plate Photography
      • Visual Effect Elements
      • Composed Shot
      • Final Feature Sequence
    • Scorpion King Revealed
      • Plate Photography
      • Visual Effect Elements
      • Composed Shot
      • Final Feature Sequence
  • An Exclusive Conversation with The Rock
    • Dwayne Johnson gets interviewed about his role in the spin-off feature The Scorpion King
  • Spotlight on Location: The Making of The Mummy Returns
    • A featurette surrounding the production and creation of the much anticipated sequel
  • Storyboard to Final Film Comparison
    • Blimp being chased
    • Pygmy Chase
    • Scorpion King Final Battle
  • Live – “Forever May Not Be Long Enough” Music Video

 

Special Features 4/5

Overall

Something has most certainly changed from the first film to the second.  A different tone and overall feel chime throughout the film.  It is all just a bit too much, and somehow comes short of the glory and success of the first film.  The attempt at making a bigger, grander, better film may have just been too much to handle for the time period and effects available.  That being said, I still find myself involved with the characters, rooting for their success and dreading their demise.  All-in-all, I didn’t hate it; but it’s hard to ignore all the little failings it seems to have laid throughout.  I wish they would have stayed simple and stuck to their guns and maybe developed some serious characters and backstory before attempting such a grander plot.  You can purchase this edition HERE.

 

Overall 2.5/5

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