2. The Mummy Returns (2001)
A strong sequel, The Mummy Returns takes place in 1933, although you wouldn’t know it from Rachel Weisz’s wardrobe. It’s eight years after the first film, and Rick and Evy have a son who triggers a curse that reawakens the Egyptian priest Imhotep (Arnold Vosloo) from the first film.
The Mummy Returns is basically the same story from the first movie, except Evy is plagued by dreams of her former life as the Egyptian princess Nefertiri and after establishing herself as a total klutz in the first film, spends all of this one doing backflips. It’s fun and fast-paced, and it’s actually kind of horrifying at times.
This movie also stars Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in his first big movie role as The Scorpion King. This would be all well and good if they didn’t butcher his image into a terrible CGI render at the end of the film.
As far as sequels go, The Mummy Returns is a real stand-out. It feels like a love-letter to The Mummy and it’s great to see a healthy family dynamic on screen between Rick, Evy and Alex. It’s also great that Rick and Evy’s relationship is never questioned as part of the plot. They are always united and supportive of each other.
In conclusion, The Mummy Returns might be a rehashing of the same basic plot, but it still manages to bring new charm to the franchise as a strong sequel.
1. The Mummy (1999)
The Mummy features an adventuring American, Rick O’Connell (Fraser), who stumbles upon the ancient Egyptian City of the Dead, Hamunaptra, in 1923 whilst fighting for the French Foreign Legion.
Three years later, he meets librarian and Egyptologist Evelyn Carnahan and her brother Jonathon in Cairo. They want him to lead them to Hamunaptra. Whilst there, Evy finds and reads from the Book of the Dead and accidentally awakens Imhotep (Vosloo), a high priest to Pharaoh Seti I from 1290 BC who was punished for having an affair with the Pharaoh’s mistress, Anck-su-namun (Patricia Velasquez).
The film is off to a strong start when we watch the live mummification of Imhotep’s priests, and Imhotep himself getting his tongue cut out before getting wrapped in bandages and buried alive in a sarcophagus with flesh-eating scarab beetles. There are plenty of other horrors which make for a genuinely gruesome film, including some moments that will still tickle your spine all these years later.
Imhotep is in a state of decomposition and regains his mortal form by draining the essence from people around him and stealing their organs. CGI has come a long way in twenty-two years, but there’s still something quite unnerving about his appearance.
It’s a truly excellent film which has mostly managed to stand the test of time due to a great central narrative, excellent casting, and moments of genuine comedy. Is this the best film ever made?
Recommended for you: Once More with Feeling – 10 More of the Best Remakes
The Mummy franchise has had a long history, and Universal probably isn’t done with it yet, but the Fraser legacy – despite the somewhat unjust failure of Tomb of the Dragon Emperor – remains a strong trilogy. Whilst maybe it is not everyone’s idea of a horror film, The Mummy is a gruesome family movie with horror moments, and makes for an ever-entertaining watch.