Monday, April 26, 2021


 by Adam Riske

Nominated for “Biggest Disappointment of the Year” at the Golden Schmoes Awards. It lost to Planet of the Apes (2001). You’re right with either choice.

• Best Scene/Moment: At the end of the first act, there’s a fun chase sequence with Brendan Fraser, Rachel Weisz, John Hannah, and Oded Fehr making a getaway on a bus with four undead mummy soldiers chasing them down.

• Best Song: The Mummy Returns has a lively score by Alan Silvestri, but here I’ll highlight a not-great rock single by the band Live called “Forever May Not Be Long Enough.” I used to love Live in high school, so them coming together with The Mummy franchise was very exciting to me in 2001. Doesn’t lead singer Ed Kowalczyk look like if you crossed Gary Sinise with Pauly Shore?
• Best Merch Available on eBay Right Now: An “Original The Mummy Returns Movie Theatre Advertisement 2001 Tulsa OK Universal” for $18.25! I love looking at old movie ads from newspapers. It sucks that they pretty much no longer exist. The seller also has ads for Shrek, Atlantis: The Lost Empire, and Moulin Rouge available for $18.25 apiece, which seems pricey. Of the Tulsa theaters listed here, how could you not choose to go see The Mummy Returns at the Sand Springs 8? This movie has tons of sand!

• Director Check: Stephen Sommers returned for The Mummy Returns following the success of The Mummy (1999). After directing The Adventures of Huck Finn, Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book (that movie rules), Deep Rising, and The Mummy (1999), Sommers was one of the go-to directors for action/adventure films. The Mummy Returns was during Sommers’ peak period that stopped after the very lackluster Van Helsing in 2004. In recent years, Sommers directed 2009’s G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra and 2013’s Odd Thomas. I sort of miss Stephen Sommers movies. He stages action well. I hope he gets the chance to make more films.

• Double It with This 2001 Movie: Lara Croft: Tomb Raider

• Year 2001 Movies to Trailer Before It: Atlantis: The Lost Empire, The Musketeer, Planet of the Apes (2001)

Draft Day or The Mummy Returns? Draft Day

• Grab Bag Video:

“Revenge of the Mummy” is an amazing theme park ride. Here’s a ride-through video of the attraction from Universal Studios Hollywood. I can’t wait to ride it again when I visit there next summer. My only gripe about the ride is it’s too short.

• Mall Movie? No, this would play at the fancy theater in town since it kicked off the summer movie season in 2001 and was one of the tentpole films for that year.

• Only in 2001: An MTV Movie Awards sketch parodying The Mummy Returns featuring Oded Fehr, Jimmy Fallon, Kirsten Dunst (who deserves better) and Rob Schneider.

• Scene Stealer: Dwayne Johnson.

• I Miss: Brendan Fraser playing an action hero.

• I Don’t Miss (tie): Plucky child sidekick characters and that godawful Universal Studios logo circa 1997-2012.

• 2001 Crush: My anticipation for The Mummy Returns.

• 2021 Crush: Rachel Weisz.

• What I Thought in 2001: I was a huge fan of The Mummy (1999) and was beside myself excited for The Mummy Returns. I mean it. Click here to read just how obsessed I was. Then I saw the movie, thought it sucked and didn’t return to it until now…

• What I Think in 2021: I still think it’s really disappointing. All the elements are there from the first Mummy, but for some reason (probably the script and pacing) none of it works this time. The movie never finds its footing early and is a slog to get through, with the exception of a couple of fun action sequences. It’s so strange considering how light on its feet and propulsive the original movie was. I’ve never seen The Scorpion King. Should I?


  1. I have a more intense love/hate relationship with this movie than any other. On the one hand, I love the way Rick and Evy relate, Ardeth Bay is still awesome, and the production design, costumes, and score are beyond fantastic (the O'Connell Manor is my dream home). I like how the ending contrasts our heroes' genuine love with the villains' mutual infatuation, and how that culminates in the moment of humanity between our couple and Imhotep at the end. I even like the kid's performance and character a lot.

    That said, I hate the reincarnation subplots, the ruining of Jonathan's character, and the numbing excesses of action. I think the main problem here was in rushing the movie to theaters only two years after the first without any prior planning, and in resurrecting Imhotep again. The O'Connells should have fought Dracula, or gone to South America, or something. (The third flick got this part right, in moving to China, but also got so much else even more wrong.)

    I once made a fan edit ofThe Mummy Returns that removes the reincarnation stuff, a lot of painful mugging for laughs, and several action sequences. I think the result, which cuts the overall run time in half, is definitely imperfect, but nevertheless hangs together as a satisfying sequel, and I hope to redo it in HD someday. One can read about it here:

  2. The Scorpion King is fine, but completely unremarkable - a real Shanghai Noon-type flick. It makes no effort to set the character up as the villain from this movie's prologue, so probably the only reason to watch it at this point is to consider it in the context of The Rock's career.

  3. Also, not a piece of eBay merch per se, but one can buy a Cameo from Oded Fehr for a mere $75. What better way to kick off a home theater screening of this or the original than a personalized introduction?! :P

  4. Aw, I don't mind the Universal logo from the late 90s and 2000s!

  5. Great article. Agree almost nothing about the movie works.

    Growing up in Tulsa, that movie ad brought back a flood of memories. Saw this at the Tulsa Cinemark while on summer break from college with my girlfriend (now wife).