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Mummy Returns, The

dir: Stephen Sommers
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Yes. You must think I am kidding. I am not. I sat through this piece of shite, and now it's your turn to suffer.

Some films are unintentionally stupid, because they're made by stupid people (Tomcats, Battlefield Earth, Armaggedon, Music from Another Room), other films are stupid because they're made by intelligent people who continue to try to underestimate the intelligence of the lowest common denominator, and never succeed (Godzilla, Independance Day, Look Who's Talking 15). Some films look dumb, but are actually very smart (Scream, Men in Black). Then there's those "tongue in cheek" films which are a bit dumb, which you're just supposed to laugh at and forgive them for because of the twinkle in their eye and their mischievous grin.

Why I watched this is still a mystery to me, since I thought the first film was a piece of shit as well. Perhaps there was some subliminal imagery in the advertising that planted the idea in my subconscious that I'd willingly suspend disbelief long enough to enjoy the ride. However it may have happened, it did, and here are the fruits of my painful labours.

Adding salt to water has more chemistry than our two lead heroes, Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz, as Rick and Evie O' Connell respectively. No science geeks need to correct me regarding the analogy, since I know that salt dissolving in water is not a chemical reaction. That's my point, shmendrick. They have a son, played by some munchkin, who does all the cute stuff and fulfills a major obligation of sequelitis, being that a kid thrown into the mix is always a great idea.

The only decent actor in it is John Hannah, who plays an English prat written the way that only Americans can, having an even more stereotypical view of the British than they do of other racial minorities like Muslims and eskimoes. He gets the funniest lines, though he is forced to whine throughout for the duration.

Brendan Fraser has been a decent actor only once that I can think of, in Gods and Monsters. In this he has the acting range of a turnip, and delivers his cliche ridden lines like he's wondering if he left the kettle on at home and how nice it would be to have a cuppa right now.

Rachel Weisz gets to fight in this one instead of just being a damsel in distress. It is good to see a woman as the lead in a film who isn't cliche attractive (ie blonde blue eyed perky titted big toothed). Although it would help, possibly, if she were attractive in the first place :)

But her breasts do bounce continuously throughout the film for those who are concerned.

The plot is so inane that I cannot even bring myself to describe it in any detail, suffice to say that things shudder from point A to point B to point C in the most idiotically contrived manner possible. To the point where you're left cursing the fucking screen.

There is also a wrestler in the film, a person who is called The Rock, apparently, though I think his real name is Dwayne. In that case, it is unsurprising that he'd rather be known as an inanimate lump of solid matter. He is in it for mere moments at the beginning, and as actors go, he makes a wonderful wrestler. I just want all of you to think of the last time there was a great film with a wrestler in it. Can't think of any? What about Rocky III, or Universal Soldier II? No, I'll tell you of the only one I could think of, it was They Live way back in 1988 with Rowdy Roddy Piper, which was funny as fuck.

In the thirteen years that have elapsed since then, there hasn't been another one, for the very good reason that any decent film isn't going to have some dopey prison tattoo covered sweaty toothed mongoloid in it stinking up the place. I'm sure there are some of you ready to pounce and say, "a ha! You fuck-up, you forgot about the masterful Princess Bride, which had Andre Rousimoff AKA Andre the Giant in it". Well I didn't forget, and it came out in 1987. So there :)

Not that I'm spoiling anything here, there's like this giant half man, half scorpion thing at the end of the film, like an end of level boss in a game. I use that analogy because I swear on my mother's pacemaker, I thought I'd been tranported back in time to the night where I made the mistake of watching one of those excremental Mortal Kombat films. That is not a pleasant flashback or memory.

The dialogue in this film is truncated to such an extent that characters rarely speak more than five words at any time. Each scene is made up of so many rapid cuts that you feel like your watching the film through the epileptic beams of a strobe light. The fight scenes, including the very sexy ones between Rachel Weisz and Patricia Velazquez are supposed to look all violent and cool, but even perfunctory examination shows you that there's bugger all actual choreography, since the scene is obviously edited together with half second cuts in order to give the illusion of continuity and action. It just gave me a headache in the wrong head.

The CGI stuff is woefully horrible. The cinematics in stuff like Diablo II look more professional. I haven't seen CGI this bad since Gladiator.

There are large portions of the film which were obviously scripted with the George Lucas How-To guide in mind, with continuous repetition of meaningless phrases in mind. Even more than that, there are imbecilic scenes where two of the many villians repeat each other's goofy names whilst peering into each other's vacant eyes.

Sample:

Patricia Velazquez: Im Ho Tep!!
Arnold Vosloo (Mummy's Boy) : Anck-Su-Namun!!!

Patricia Velazquez: IM HO TEP!!!!
Mummy: ANCK SU NAMUN!!!!!!

(repeat ad nauseum till death do us not part)

I have something to admit. I have never walked out of a film before, I have sat through them all. Predator II, Highlander II, Prospero's Books, Hannibal; I endured them and forced myself to stay. I consider it an obligation to myself and the people involved in making the film, as respect for their misguided efforts. No matter how much I'm aching to get out of there, I stay.

I walked out of this film, right at the end. There is a scene of such monumental stupidity in the "heroes rescued from certain death at the last possible moment", that as soon as I saw it, and helped wipe the vomit off of the person sitting in front of me, I grabbed my stuff and left. It's almost right at the end, so I doubt I missed anything from having endured it for two fucking hours as it was.

Bizarrely enough, despite my walkout in disgusted protest (okay, so the management forcibly removed me), in a lot of ways, I have to say that I could have enjoyed it, on some perverse, goofy level. And the reason for that is the fact that at no stage does it ever take itself seriously, it is sooo tongue in cheek that you expect it to burst through someone's skin at any moment. It also takes the piss out of itself, but not always in a self-conscious way.

Thug 1: You must not open the box. It is cursed! Thug 2: What's with you and curses? This is cursed, that is cursed, everything's cursed.

Plenty more examples. My favourite boneheaded line of dialogue has to be "if [such and such] happens, it will trigger the Next Apocalypse!!!" I'm wondering if I accidentally slept through it because of my drinking, like that lunar eclipse a few months ago.

Regardless, it is still a very stupid film. I will only say one sentence in reference to the pinnacle of human wrongheadedness that occurs in this film, and that is "rocket powered dirigible".

As dumb as The Mummy Returns is, Hannibal is still the reigning champ when it comes to Dumbest Film of the Year :)

2 reasons none of the people in this flick should have careers out of 10

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