Lightning Review: The Mummy Returns

Synopsis
Meela (Patricia Velasquez) the reincarnation of Anck-Su-Namun, locates Imhotep’s (Arnold Vosloo) body in the city of Hamunaptra. She hopes to use Imhotep’s powers to defeat the Scorpion King (Dwayne Johnson) and take control of the army he commands. Ardeth Bay (Oded Fehr) calls upon Rick O’Connell (Brendan Frasier) and his wife Evy (Rachel Weisz) to once again defeat Imhotep.

Review
What makes The Mummy so enjoyable is that it never took itself seriously and just had fun with its story. The Mummy Returns is much of the same which, like any sequel, is both a good and bad. The core group of Brendan Frasier, Rachel Weisz, John Hannah, and Arnold Vosloo returns and have the same fantastic chemistry from before. Oded Fehr as Ardeth Bay has a much bigger role this time around and syncs with the group very well. The film’s sense of humor is pretty much the same as before, although the comedy is not as prominent this time around. It seems this time, there was more of a skew towards the action-adventure side of things instead of a pretty even balance like before. Not that that’s good or bad, it just gives the film a different feel. Newcomer Shaun Parkes as Rick’s pilot pal Izzy is my favorite of the new members of the cast but he feels underused, especially since he is a funny addition. The Mummy Returns is Dwayne Johnson’s first big movie role. I say big but he only appears in the opening scene and as CGI in the final battle scene, which has not aged well at all.

I thought The Mummy Returns was GOOD 🙂 While not nearly as charming as The Mummy, it is still a decent popcorn flick.

Also read my reviews of The Mummy and The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor.

Trailer

Cast & Crew
Stephen Sommers – Director / Writer
Alan Silvestri – Composer

Brendan Frasier – Rick O’Connell
Rachel Weisz – Evelyn Carnahan
John Hannah – Jonathan Carnahan
Freddie Boath – Alex O’Connell
Arnold Vosloo – Imhotep
Oded Fehr – Ardeth Bay
Patricia Velasquez – Meela / Anck-Su-Namun
Alun Armstrong – Mr. Hafez
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje – Lock-Nah
Shaun Parkes – Izzy
Dwayne Johnson – The Scorpion King

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The Mummy (1999) Review

The Mummy (1999) movie posterSynopsis
Evy (Rachel Weisz) is a librarian who is interested in Egypt’s history. When her brother Jonathan (John Hannah) introduces her to Rick O’Connell (Brendan Frasier), who has been to the hidden city of Hamunaptra, the three of them set off for the city. While in Hamunaptra, they inadvertently release Imhotep (Arnold Vosloo), an ancient evil who had been sealed away for more than three thousand years.

Review
If you’ve read my list of my five favorite films from my childhood, then you will know that The Mummy was a go-to film for me in my younger years. If you didn’t know that, well then now you do. Sometimes watching a film as an adult that you loved as a child can skew your viewpoint as to whether or not the film is actually good or you just like it now because you liked it then. Could this be the case for me with The Mummy? Do nostalgia goggles make me like this movie more than I should? No, not at all.

Even after nearly 20 years later, I still find myself continually enjoying this film. A lot of that comes from the three main protagonists. Brendan Frasier, Rachel Weisz, and John Hannah are simply marvelous together. It’s hard to pick a favorite our of the three. Frasier as Rick O’Connell has the action side of things down. O’Connell is the leader of the three, showing them how to get to Hamunaptra, always ready for any fight, whether that is with his fists or with one of the many guns in his arsenal. Evy, played by Weisz, hasn’t been out in the field much but is very knowledgeable in Egyptian history, easily filling a role neither of the boys could do. Even though Frasier gets many of the film’s comedic moments, most of them belong to Hannah’s Jonathan, Evy’s kleptomaniac and somewhat self-centered brother.

Besides perfect casting, the three leads have great synergy. The three of them together result in several of the best scenes of the film. It is clear that they were having a good time and were having fun making the movie, which makes it more enjoyable for the audience in turn. Each character had their own voice and personality, allowing for each one to have a unique part so they didn’t all feel like similar characters, which it feels like some comedies do. It wasn’t just the heroes who stand out but the main villain as well. Arnold Vosloo was great as Imhotep, the titular mummy. Vosloo has noble malice about him that fits Imhotep perfectly.

One of The Mummy’s strongest aspects is that it has a clear sense of identity. Yes, the film is based of the 1930s horror classic, and it payed homage to that by trying to add a few scares every here and there, but it is primarily an action/adventure/comedy film and it understood that. There was a good balance between the action and the comedy. It’s also a little cheesy but it embraced it. I think a lot of this came down to the actors. As I said before, they were clearly having fun and it prevented the moving from taking itself too seriously, embracing itself for what it is.

This sense of identity and balance between action and comedy gave the movie a good pace. It moved quick but not too quick. There was plenty of action but it never became too much. The story was understandable but not too complicated or too simplistic. It kept moving forward without being bogged down by unnecessary side plots or characters. Writer/director Stephen Sommers did a great job finding the perfect balance.

I thought The Mummy was GREAT 😀 It is hard to pick what I like best about this film. Brendan Frasier, Rachel Weisz, John Hannah, and Arnold Vosloo all did fantastic with their parts and meshed well together. The story is simple yet fun, and the film feels much shorter than it is. I find myself watching this movie on a regular basis and I don’t see that changing any time soon.

Also read my reviews of The Mummy Returns and The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor.

Favorite Quote
Evelyn: You lied to me.
Jonathan: I lie to everybody. What makes you so special?
Evelyn: I am your sister.
Jonathan: Yes, well that just makes you more gullible.

Trailer

Cast & Crew
Stephen Sommers – Director / Screenplay / Story
Lloyd Fonvielle – Story
Kevin Jarre – Story
Jerry Goldsmith – Composer

Brendan Fraser – Rick O’Connell
Rachel Weisz – Evelyn Carnahan
John Hannah – Jonathan Carnahan
Arnold Vosloo – Imhotep
Kevin J. O’Connor – Beni Gabor
Jonathan Hyde – Dr. Allen Chamberlan
Oded Fehr – Ardeth Bay
Erick Avari – Dr. Terrence Bey
Stephen Dunham – Mr. Henderson
Corey Johnson – Mr. Daniels
Tuc Watkins – Mr. Burns
Omid Djalili – Warden Gad Hassan
Bernard Fox – Captain Winston Havlock
Patricia Velasquez – Anck Su Namun
Aharon Ipale – Pharoh Seti I

My Fave Five Essential Horror Survival Items

Ever find yourself watching a horror movie and end up thinking about what you would use to survive the film until the end? Well that is the pitch brought to be by Man Crates.  Man Crates, in case you haven’t heard of them, is a new gifting company who provide a wide array of cool gifts for men that literally require a crowbar to open.  How bad-ass is that? Anyway, I’ve put together a list of the items I would deem essential if I received a Man Crate with items needed to survive a horror movie.  Now since I won’t know immediately what kind of horror scenario I will be dealing with, I tried to cover my bases.  I’ve also limited it to items that will fit into a crate.  There are so many items I would have wanted to include on this list: a flashlight, solar battery charger, silver-tipped stakes, night-vision goggles, a bottle of rum, a trusty sidekick who has my back (or can be sacrificed if need be (just kidding… maybe)), my 3DS, etc.  However, seeing as this is a fave five list, I had to really narrow it down to what I think were the most multipurpose items. So without wasting any more of your time with the introduction, here are my five favorite essential horror survival items.

Jeep5) A Jeep

It’s a big crate… Just go with it, OK? Transportation is super, super important when it comes to horror survival.  How fast you can navigate your environment is what keeps you alive.  At first, I considered a motorcycle for this slot because of its maneuverability.  However, the off-road capabilities of a Jeep are almost more important.  Although a motorcycle could get around tighter spaces, it can’t cover as many types of terrain as a Jeep can.  Also, there is more room for supplies in a Jeep.  And if absolutely necessary, a Jeep can be reinforced and act as a safe hideaway.

4) Firearmspile

Being able to keep a safe distance between you and whatever is trying to get you is another essential element of survival.  Therefore, having trusty firearms at your side is a must.  The two most important are a shotgun, when you just need to make sure whatever it is you’re shooting at doesn’t get up and a hand gun when precision is needed.  Other types of guns help too, such as a rifle, to take out your pursuer from a distance and, though technically not a firearm, a bow would be great for when the situation calls for stealth.  And to keep in mind the double-use of items, the arrowheads can be dipped in silver, or holy water, or many other items that would help in a wide array of situations.  just be mindful of ammunition usage, as it would most likely be scarce, making it a hot commodity.

machete3) Machete

As important as keeping a distance between you and the vampire, werewolf, zombie, alien invader, or what have you, can be, sometimes things just get up close and personal and you have to be ready.  Enter the machete.  A strong and sturdy weapon for slicing and dicing whatever comes your way.  Not only is it good for beheading zombies but it’s also great for starting fires, cutting food, clearing away foliage (particularly helpful if you happen to be in a jungle).  Also, the profile is relatively small so a machete would be very easy to carry around.

2) Clothingclothing

The last thing you want is to get stuck in a situation without the right clothing.  Whether you are in an urban area, the jungle, the tundra, or the desert, what you wear is almost as important as the weapons you carry with you.  Preferably, there would be several sets of padded clothes to protect against bites and scratches that could potentially turn you into a monster or a possible life-threatening wound.  Having many changes of fresh clothes is important, too, to keep yourself clean and prevent attracting monsters with a heightened sense of smell.  Extra clothes can also be used as decoys, or when you have to hide someplace dirty, it’s handy to have a fresh set of clothes.  It’s often overlooked but clothes are just an important part of survival as many other items on this list.

first-aid kit1) First-Aid Kit

No matter how hard you try, injuries happen.  In order to keep yourself in tip-top shape, and to keep yourself moving, it’s important to mend any injuries as soon as possible.  A first-aid kit is an absolutely necessity to survive a wide range of scenarios.  Whether it’s a small cut or large gash, how quickly and how well you can attend to the wound can be the difference between life and death.  Even the smallest cut carries the risk of getting infected and that’s the last thing you need while trying to survive a horror situation.  All the tools in the world can’t help you if you are in no condition to use them.  I couldn’t think of any horror setting I would dare go into without a trusty first-aid kit by my side.


And there you have it.  My toolbox for surviving a plethora of horror film scenarios.  What items would you include in your horror survival Man Crate?