Shouldn't a film called The Mummy Returns star the Mummy? You might think so, but despite this small oversight, The Mummy Returns is indeed a worthy successor to its namesake.
The Hobbit for one, is damn sick and tired of wasting cash on these death and life, life and death, birth and rebirth, love and lust, dark and dreary, meaning of life finding soul sucking "deep" films. What if I want to pay my movie money to actually ENJOY myself for a change instead of spending 2-4 hours thinking about my own mortality only to go home at night and wake up in a cold sweat having dreamt of murderous, poorly acted Elvis's and mumbling gypsy boxers bent on dominating the London underworld?
The beauty of The Mummy series is that it doesn't waste time mucking around with touchy feely moments, or complicated plot points. It might sound like I'm saying this is a dumbed down film, but despite any lack, The Mummy Returns is still able to smartly deliver an entertaining and enjoyable package. The Mummy is all about fun. Much like George Lucas' Indiana Jones series, both The Mummy and The Mummy Returns feature fast talking, fast acting characters thrown into impossible situations and left to find their way out. Its a wild ride that ensues and if you aren't caught up in trying to find some sort of great cinematic masterpiece here, you'll enjoy yourself.
However, unlike its predecessor, The Mummy Returns doesn't really feature the Mummy himself all that prominently. In reality, this time the Mummy is more of a competitor than an arch enemy, though in truth the film suffers little for it. All the old faces are back... which is always a relief. Nothing worse than going to see a sequel and finding your favorite character now played by David Hasselhoff. Fraser fills much the same role as always, the reluctant hero, the wisecracking goof, though here we find him to be more often the voice of reason. But Oded Fehr steps up and expands his role, easily compensating for Fraser's new fatherly attitude. Look to see more of Oded in the future. In a cast of great characters, his stands above the rest.
Sure, tight assed, hard nosed film geeks will malign it for its lack of depth and overuse of CGI, but don't let that taint what really is just a good film. Admittedly, I personally would like to see a bit less CGI and a bit more reality in films like this, but that seems to be the way movies are going, so why should The Mummy Returns be any different?
Movies like this are part of the real wonder of the summer movie season. It's our opportunity to forget about all the depressing morose films of spring and fall, all the horribly fetid comedies and self involved dramas and step out of our own, boring, sometimes miserable lives and enter a place where every day is a happy ending and every face leaves with a smile!
The Mummy Returns is not a serious film... but that's the beauty of it. This isn't a some self obsessed filmmaker crying out for attention, or trying to make some dumb social statement which is probably better left to someone who actually KNOWS something about the subject, this is a guy just trying to make sure you have fun. And you will.
Grab a bag of popcorn, tell the person next to you to shut up, and enjoy 2 hours of mummy killin fun.