88. The Mummy/The Mummy Returns

TheMummy1Deep Blue Sea, The Mummy, The Mummy Returns, Indiana Jones, and Jurassic Park blended together to inform my opinion of the ‘adventure’ subgenre of action, where we travel to a wonderful location and run away from monsters. The Mummy movies are easily the worst of the bunch, and yet they contain and illustrate all the elements I so love from the subgenre better than any.

If you could’ve been there to monitor how the neighborhood kids used to play, picking up sticks (guns) and going on these adventures, you’d notice how dying was the best most funnest part. Not only that, but that each death was unique. While the settings came from the wildest realms of children’s imaginations (it was typically Deep Blue Sea-related*), that part came from The Mummy films.

What I’ve appreciated about those two movies from the start is that there are unique kills (until the sequel), whether one is taken out by the Anubis, those pygmy mummies, a crowd of worshipers, or most dastardly, those scarabs, the culture of Ancient Egypt is perverted to a highly entertaining and grotesque end (Sommers, even with Van Helsing, pushed that PG-13 rating).

You see it all the time. To demonstrate how deadly or dangerous this new foe is, someone must be sacrificed. That’s somehow, against all odds, part of the adventure. It’s that bestiary of villainous elements. All kinds of cool stuff is gonna chase you down hallways. I love the pygmys, the Anubises are great, when those mummies scream and the jaws drop down — one of my favorites is the Scorpion King, an exemplar of bad turn-of-the-century CGI.

I do like Returns better, even though it is worse. The first one has too many mean jump scares, and the second one is more creative. It would have to be, because it’s the same plot. I never saw Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, primarily because it looked like it wasn’t gonna be The Mummy Returns Again.

I want the desert, I want the Brendan Frasier doing his best Indiana Jones, I want the monsters. These two movies represent what I love most about adventure, and honestly, they represent the height of the fantasy genre for me.

*Obscure and forgotten for some, but we were kids when it came out. Big impact. You’ll hear from it again…

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2 thoughts on “88. The Mummy/The Mummy Returns

  1. Gah, you just keep posting my favorite cheesy movies. Just a few months ago I picked up the Mummy trilogy on Blu-ray and my sister and I had a blast with them, though we were very often confused about whether we were laughing with them or at them. Knowing the kind of schlock cinema I’m into, you can imagine why I consider that a good thing.

    I saw the first two in theatres. Loved the first, didn’t care much for the second, though I enjoyed the second quite a bit more upon revisiting it. It’s so batshit crazy at times: someone said “we need the heroes and the villains to run through an oasis that sprouted up in the desert and be chased by zombie pygmy mummies,” and someone else heard that and said, “how much money do you need?” God bless them, every one.

    I was expecting to hate the third one due to all the strongly negative reviews, so imagine my surprise when I found it about on par with the second. It’s less The Mummy 3 and more The Further Adventures of Rick O’Connell, and it sucks to be missing Rachel Weisz and Oded Fehr, but I fail to see how anyone who enjoyed the insanity of Part 2 could hate Part 3.

    Interesting note about the PG-13 violence, because it’s something I noticed as well when watching the first movie. I was sort of taken aback by it: people are shot, stabbed, impaled, beheaded, set on fire, and eaten alive by giant scarabs that burrow under the skin and into the brain. But there are no titties or f-bombs, so it’s PG-13. It seems odd that The Mummy and Alien vs. Predator can get a PG-13 while the much less violent and gruesome Matrix gets an R.

    Van Helsing I don’t really know what to make of. I put the Blu-ray back on the shelf and sat for a few minutes trying to figure out what the fuck I had just watched, trying to make sense of that glorious mess, but I just had to give up and move on. It’s a whole lot of something, and I don’t really know what.

    I also somehow came into possession of the three Scorpion King movies, though I haven’t watched them yet. I’m kind of frightened to, but the first was directed by Chuck Russell and the second by Russell Mulcahy, so I sort of have to eventually.

    1. I realized a few posts back that all these movies, and I don’t remember how many, but a good deal in the first twenty or so are these guilty pleasures. Or are they? Who knows.

      Now that you say that about The Mummy 3, I’m definitely keen on seeing it, though I had no idea it was missing pieces of the cast. I hate it when otherwise self-respecting sequels do that, and I do particularly like Weisz and thought Fehr was pretty cool here.

      I thought the first Scorpion King was alright enough, but I still can’t wrap my head around how it even exists or how it spawned two sequels. King seemed to represent a time though when the Rock was still figuring himself out — is he the next Conan? Turns out he’s just the contemporary Vin Diesel, but somehow even more charming

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