It may still be spring outdoors, but this is the first summer movie of the year. Grab some popcorn and settle in for some old-fashioned movie fun, the best in this genre since the gold standard of adventure movies, the Indiana Jones series.
Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz return as Rick and Evie O’Connell, now married and the parents of eight-year-old Alex (Freddie Boath). John Hannah returns as Evie’s lazy, greedy, but sharp-shooting brother, and Oded Fehr is also back, though now reduced to sidekick.
The Mummy (Arnold Vosloo) and his girlfriend Anck-Su-Namun (Patricia Velazquez) are back, too, and up to all of their old sand-sucking, kick-boxing tricks. This time, the Mummy has to defeat the Scorpion King (wrestling star The Rock) to get control of his army and take over the world. In order to find and wake him, they need a special Scorpion-King-finding bracelet, which happens to be stuck on the wrist of Alex O’Connell. But don’t worry about the plot. It really doesn’t matter how or why mummies and bad guys are chasing them; all we need to know is that they are, and that Rick and Evie have to find a way to rescue Alex, send the mummies back where they came from, and save the world from being utterly destroyed. Fortunately, there’s always just enough time for a kiss or a wisecrack — sometimes both — before entering into the fray.
The special effects are sensational, and the fight scenes are well staged and very exciting. One of the movie’s great strengths is the art direction. It brilliantly creates the mood, helped along by a period-sounding score. It is a shame that The Rock is onscreen for such a short time. He makes a real impression in the prologue, but does not reappear until the end, when he is part-Rock, part-scorpion. Fortunately, the team behind the movie is now preparing an entire sequel just about his character.
Families should know that the movie is very violent, but mostly in comic-book terms. Most of the damage is done to mummies and other non-humans. There are some scary surprises and ghoulish images. There are also very mild sexual references and some revealing costumes.
Families who see this movie should visit local museums to see some of their Egyptian treasures and talk about how views on archeological digs have changed since the era in which it is set, and about current controversies over the ownership of antiquities. They may also enjoy imagining being the reincarnation of historical figures.
Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy the first in the series as well as “Raiders of the Lost Ark.”