Greatest Movie Series
The Mummy Returns (2001)
The Mummy (1999) | The Mummy Returns (2001) | The Scorpion King (2002)
The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (2008)
|The Mummy Returns (2001)
d. Stephen Sommers, 130 minutes
Film Plot Summary
After the prologue, the film then moved forward to 20th century Egypt, to the year 1933 (seven years after the events of the first film), where brash adventurer Richard "Rick" O'Connell (Brendan Fraser) was exploring ancient ruins near the Nile in an underground tunnel area below a temple - now a family man with a precocious 8 year-old son named Alex (Freddie Boath). Rick's son said he had just seen a symbol similar to his father's wrist tattoo (received when he was a child in a Cairo orphanage) elsewhere on a wall in the main atrium - in a drawing of a pyramid, an eye, and two kings. Evelyn (Rachel Weisz) was joined by her cautious husband, as she was brushing away sand and dust from a wall carving of two Egyptian princesses in hand-to-hand combat [a depiction of Evelyn as warrior princess Nefertiri fighting Anck-su-namun in front of Pharaoh Seti I]. She was excavating into an unexplored, 3,000 year old chamber of bones covered by small scorpions - something she had foreseen in her recurring dreams that had drawn her there: "I know I've been here before." Further inside the chamber, she had a vision of a guarded and locked room from thousands of years earlier: "It was like my dream but it was real. It was like I was actually here in ancient times." She instinctively knew how to unlock a large stone door-enclosure, and inside discovered a chest with a gold emblem of the Scorpion King: "He's supposed to be pure myth...No artifacts, no archival evidence." She repeated fearlessly: "No harm ever came from opening a chest." Around the neck of one of the mummified guards was an amulet - the key to unlocking the chest. Inside was the golden, scorpion-shaped Bracelet of Anubis, with a warning inscription: "He who disturbs this bracelet shall drink from the Nile." Tremors immediately caused flooding in the chambers.
Meanwhile in the main chamber of the underground excavation, Alex was setting mousetraps to catch rodents when he was accosted by three grungy, unscrupulous thieves, Jacques (Joe Dixon), Jacob "Jake" Spivey (Tom Fisher), and their leader Red Willits (Bruce Byron) searching for the bracelet amidst heaps of broken pottery. To scare them off, Alex (hiding at the top of a rickety scaffold) used his slingshot on Spivey. When he was spotted and threatened, Red came running from one of the corridors (where he had pursued the O'Connells and was ready to kill them) and urged his cohorts to flee from the rising waters. Alex jumped from the collapsing scaffolding to a temple column, accidentally causing a cascading/domino effect from one column to the next (similar to his mother's toppling of museum library bookcases in the first film): "Whoa!" The final column broke through a wall, inadvertently saving his parents from drowning, while Alex claimed to them: "I can explain everything."
At Hamunaptra, the City of the Dead, the area was again being excavated - a search for the remains of the mummy of High Priest Imhotep. Holding up the two secured, sacred books that had already been recovered, African cultist enforcer Lock-Nah (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) said: "The Book Of The Dead gives life," while Meela Nais (Patricia Velasquez), the reincarnation of Imhotep's former forbidden lover/mistress Anck-su-namun (from the first film), replied: "And The Book Of The Living takes life away." As they were getting close to their goal, a rumbling inside one of the great pits revealed a sand mound filled with a great swarm of flesh-eating scarabs, that crawled under the skin of many of the diggers - devouring and killing them. Giant flame-throwers were used to destroy the scarabs. Then someone yelled: "We've found him" - a giant crane lowered a mass of amber-like substance enclosing Imhotep. The three thieves reported to their calculating, greedy boss Balthus Hafez (Alun Armstrong) who was supervising the dig, that they had failed to deliver to him a chest that contained the Bracelet of Anubis. Meela Nais reminded Balthus that she should have taken care of the task, but he responded that he didn't want her "past history to cloud the issue." However, Red claimed he knew where it was - it had been found by the O'Connells and was on its way to London. Ardeth Bay (Oded Fehr), the wise Medjai chieftain leader of the protective secret sect to prevent the return of Imhotep from the dead, but disguised as a native digger, overheard their conversation.
In their London manor, Evelyn hypothesized that the bracelet was the key to finding the resting place of the Scorpion King and Anubis' Army - at the lost Oasis at Ahm Shere. The Scorpion King only awakened once every 5,000 years. The last known expedition to reach the oasis was sent by Ramses the Fourth over 3,000 years ago, and Alexander the Great, Caesar, and Napoleon had also sent troops on unsuccessful searches. Rick mentioned to Evelyn that her dreams that started six weeks earlier coincided with the start of the Egyptian New Year - the year of the Scorpion. In another room, a tempted Alex opened the chest after its lock clicked, containing the bracelet. It latched onto his arm, opening his sight to visions of far-off places in Egypt (the pyramids at Giza and the desert ruins at Karnak). He concealed the bracelet on his arm to prevent his mother from noticing. In another area of the manor, Evelyn's hopelessly inept and irresponsible brother Jonathan (John Hannah) was confronted by Balthus Hafez and his red/black-robed henchmen demanding the bracelet of Anubis. Meela intimidated Jonathan with a poisonous black Egyptian asp. Alex pretended to his mother that he had misplaced the key to the chest when the tall figure of Lock-Nah intruded and saw the chest. Although Evelyn defended herself with a sword (with skills she didn't know she possessed), she was also protected by the appearance of Ardeth Bay, but she was eventually knocked out, carried away, and kidnapped.
Ardeth explained to Rick that Balthus Hafez, the British Museum curator (recognized in a photograph by Alex), wanted once again to remove the Imhotep mummified "creature" from his grave, with the help of Meela who "knows things that no living person could possibly know - she knew exactly where the creature was buried." Alex admitted that they hadn't really acquired the bracelet although they had taken the chest - he displayed the bracelet on his arm! Now they had only seven days to reach the Oasis of Ahm Shere before the Scorpion King awakened. If he was not killed, he would raise the army of Anubis, causing an apocalyptic end of the world. Ardeth further explained as they drove to the British Museum to confront Balthus, the leader of the evil cult: "Whoever can kill the Scorpion King can send his army back to the Underworld or use it to destroy mankind and rule the Earth." Balthus was digging up the powerful Imhotep to resurrect him and regenerate his powers so that he could battle and defeat the Scorpion King, believing that only he could kill the Scorpion King (at the Oasis of Ahm Shere) and take command of his Army of Anubis - and thereby rule the world. [However, Balthus did not possess the Sceptre of Osiris, but Imhotep claimed he wouldn't need it, after his powers had been fully regenerated at the Oasis.] Ardeth also interpreted Rick's tattoo: "That mark means you're a protector of man, a warrior for God, a Medjai," but Rick denied any connection. Later, Ardeth told him: "It's the missing piece of your heart...If you accept it, you can do anything."
At the loading docks in the British Museum, Balthus performed a ritual to bring Imhotep (as a mummy) back to life out of the amber-mineral chanting: "Rise up!" Laid out on a wooden board, abducted Evelyn's hands and feet were tied. Inside the museum's Egyptology section, Rick and Ardeth found mummies in coffins shrieking and writhing in their display cases - proof that Imhotep was being resurrected elsewhere. Imhotep snarled as he broke free from the amber casing, and asked the year. He was told by Balthus that the year was 1933, the Year of the Scorpion. He recognized Meela Nais as his reincarnated lover Anck-su-namun, although he replied: "Only in body. But soon, I shall bring your soul back from the Underworld and our love shall once again be whole." Watching from afar, Rick quipped: "You know, a couple of years ago, this would've seemed really strange to me." Anck-su-namun offered a gift to Imhotep, knowing it would please him - she ordered the cultists to kill Evelyn by dropping her into a flaming stone basin: "Burn her!" Rick and Ardeth rescued her from death by firing on the cultists, and Rick escaped with Evelyn. Imhotep summoned and ordered four of his own mummified soldiers to kill Rick, Evelyn, and Ardeth ("DESTROY THEM!"). They fled out of the museum and rode in a double-decker bus driven by Jonathan. Rick quipped: "Oh, I hate mummies," as the chase continued through the streets of London and onto London's Tower Bridge, as the almost-invincible mummies with razor-sharp fingernails were shot at, blown and torn apart, and decapitated. At the end of the fight, Ardeth observed: "This was my first bus ride." As Rick and Evelyn were distracted kissing each other (and Alex quipped embarrassingly: "Oh geez, get a room!"), the cultists grabbed Alex (with the bracelet on his arm) and drove off with their kidnapped subject, escaping successfully when the drawbridge was raised.
Ardeth assured the O'Connells of Alex's safety - because he wore the Bracelet, he could not be harmed. He predicted that after they reached Karnak, the Bracelet would show him "the next step of the journey" onto Ahm Shere. After Evelyn suggested that they should get to Karnak first to learn the next location, Rick remarked: "Seems to me like we need a magic carpet." Balthus, his cultist followers, Imhotep, and Alex journeyed on a train from Cairo, Egypt to Karnak. A masked Imhotep told Alex, in ancient Egyptian (the bracelet allowed him to understand the foreign language), that he was the "chosen one" to take him to Ahm Shere, noting: "This bracelet is a gift and a curse." Alex knew he had only seven days (counted down to five), after he first put on the bracelet, before the Scorpion King woke up. Imhotep added an important detail - Alex must enter the pyramid before the sun struck it that last morning - otherwise, the bracelet would suck the life out of him. Alex was defiant: "My dad is going to kick your ass."
The lead mercenary Red of the trio of scoundrels reported to Balthus that he, Jake, and Jacques had acquired a chest and demanded double their payment. They were duped into having Imhotep suck the life (organs and fluids) out of them to further his regeneration. Meanwhile, Rick contracted with reluctant ex-associate Izzy Buttons (Shaun Parkes), an airline pilot for Magic Carpet Airways, to provide transportation for them, although Buttons remembered he was shot in the arse in a past job with O'Connell. He agreed to take the group to Karnak in exchange for the golden Sceptre of Osiris in their possession: "If you give me that gold stick there, you can shave my head, wax my legs, and use me for a surfboard." Ardeth Bay met them - he had returned to the deserts and brought back with him, on horseback, the commanders of the twelve tribes of Medjai, and his pet falcon Horus -- who would let the Medjai chieftains know of their progress so that they could be followed. The Medjai were commissioned to prevent the awakening and rise of Anubis' Army. The group boarded a large makeshift dirigible for transport to Ahm Shere to rescue Alex - it was quiet and "perfect for sneaking up on people." They flew over the pyramids of Giza and followed the Nile toward Karnak. During the trip, Jonathan asked Ardeth about the golden pyramid of Ahm Shere (with a "huge diamond" at its very top) that Alex had described to him.
Alex annoyed his captor Lock-Nah while on the train, and then after asking to go to the filthy bathroom, escaped through the toilet hole in the floor to emerge under the moving train, after pulling the emergency brake. He ran off into the temple ruins of Karnak, where the bracelet revealed the next stop in the journey -- the temple island of Philae. Imhotep stopped him from escaping. During the dirigible journey, Evelyn heard the voice of Imhotep at a sacred pool at the temple of Karnak, reminding Meela that she was really Anck-su-namun and that they had been together in ancient Egypt - "a true love, an eternal love, our souls mated together as one forever." He put her in a trance, reliving her past life in Egypt and recalling how she engaged Princess Nefertiri, Pharaoh Seti's daughter (Evelyn in a previous life), in a choreographed duel of swords before the throne - the contest was won by Anck-su-namun. Seti commended both women, first his daughter for her role to protect the bracelet of Anubis, and Anck-su-namun for her role as his future wife. The trance continued to show the circumstances leading up to the Pharaoh's murder, and Anck-su-namun's own suicide after she was discovered in an illicit relationship with High Priest Imhotep (the prologue of the first film). Afterwards, Imhotep summoned Anck-su-namun's spirit back from the Underworld with the Book of the Dead, and placed it in Meela's body - restoring her to life.
Evelyn realized from her vision of Imhotep's trance that she was the protector of the Bracelet as a "reincarnated Princess" and that husband Rick was a protective Medjai "warrior from God." Ardeth described the third side or part of the pyramid, their son with the bracelet: "And your son leads the way to Ahm Shere...This was all preordained thousands of years ago." How things would end was still not pre-determined.
In the camp at Karnak, Alex was chained at the ankle to a pole to prevent him from escaping again. While no one was watching him, he spilled his water onto the sand, creating mud. Then he constructed a sand castle replica of the Temple Island of Philae. When the dirigible arrived at Karnak the next morning, the cultists had fled, but Alex's sand-castle (prominently indicated by his necktie pointing downward at it from a nearby statue) gave his parents a clue to his next location. Every new location had another clue - the next stop on the journey was the great Temple of Abu Simbel. The falcon Horus was dispatched to the growing massive army of Medjai, to alert them to their locations along the way. However, at their location in a canyon area of the Blue Nile near the Oasis (outside of modern-day Egypt), Lock-Nah discovered Alex secretly creating the next clue or sign and stomped down on it ("Leaving bread crumbs, huh?"). Imhotep, however, wanted to directly confront Alex's parents: "I hope your parents enjoyed their journey." With his supernatural powers, he summoned up a massive tidal wave or wall of water from the Blue Nile, confidently believing he had brought down and smashed their flying dirigible into the canyon and killed them all. Although they had crash-landed, they survived and found themselves near the Oasis of Ahm Shere - the site of the Scorpion King's temple and the golden pyramid. Ardeth was anxious to leave the group when he suspected that his falcon Horus had been shot down (by Lock-Nah), so that he could alert and lead the Medjai "if the Army of Anubis arises."
Balthus and the red-robed cultists hiked with torches through the jungle to the Oasis, encountering along the way the skeletal remains (with shrunken heads) of previous explorers (Roman legionnaires from Julius Caesar's time, and turn of the century French legionnaires from Napoleon's time), some of whom had been imprisoned in cages. Imhotep told Balthus that Alex's bracelet, and not the boy himself, was the key needed to "unlock the Army of Anubis." They were followed by Rick, Evelyn, Jonathan, and Ardeth Bay who were prepared to ambush the cultist group on its way to the Oasis. Imhotep sensed that "something is coming" but promised Meela: "Do not fear. They cannot harm me." Balthus and members of his group were savagely surprise-attacked by mummified, skeletal cannibal pygmies of short stature, with withered features, sharp teeth, exposed bones and empty eye sockets. The gremlin-like pygmies killed most of the intruders with blow-gun darts, spears, daggers and traps (such as quicksand), but feared and backed away from Imhotep (who was protecting Anck-su-namun behind him). Ardeth Bay killed Lock-Nah by slashing him in the chest and neck with his sword during a duel (and then left the group to lead the Medjai army), and Rick rescued his son Alex, as Evelyn and Jonathan provided sniper support. Cowardly cult leader Balthus left his two remaining henchmen to die while he ran off. When Alex was reunited with his mother, he stressed that he must get to the pyramid and remove the bracelet before the sun hit it - otherwise, he would die. As they raced toward the pyramid, the pygmies continued their relentless pursuit of Rick and his family across a fallen log bridging a large ravine - he used a stick of dynamite to explode the log into two pieces and send the pygmies to their deaths below.
Rick ran with Alex in his arms into the pyramid, unlocking the bracelet from his arm just in time, as the sun's light reached them a moment later. Alex cast the bracelet aside into the sand. Outside in the pyramid's courtyard after catching up, Evelyn was overjoyed that "they made it" - but Anck-su-namun snuck up behind her and stabbed her in the waist with a dagger and lethally wounded her. When Jonathan came to her defense, Imhotep lifted him up and tossed him to the side. Anck-su-Namun, carrying the black Book of the Dead, walked into the pyramid behind Imhotep and sardonically waved hello to Alex. Evelyn tragically died, telling Rick with her last words: "Take care of Alex. I love you." He sobbed and vainly begged for her to come back. During other climactic developments occurring in the pyramid, Alex had the brilliant idea to resurrect his mother by using the Book of the Dead, since he could speak ancient Egyptian, something she had taught him. With Jonathan's help in distracting Anck-su-namun by challenging her to a fight, Alex was able to steal the Book of the Dead, and began reciting ritualistic incantations over the corpse of his dead mother. [Jonathan shouted out the final hieroglyphic word for stork to help Alex, a repeat of the same scene between Jonathan and Evelyn in the first film.] However, Jonathan was seriously wounded when stabbed in the chest with two blades. Now alive, Evelyn intervened and saved Jonathan from certain death by taking his place ( "Why don't you pick on somebody your own size?") in battling Anck-su-namun as Nefertiri while remembering "the old ways. She also instructed Jonathan to take Alex and aid Rick. [The remainder of the scenes in the pyramid, three fight finales, were cross-cut with each other.]
In the pyramid, the wicked Balthus found the bracelet, picked it up and put it on his arm, and proceeded deeper into the pyramid's interior. When he approached a floor covered with deadly scorpions, he drove them away by brandishing the bracelet at them. He stood before a large gold statue of a giant scorpion, and inserted his forearm (with the bracelet) into a round hole in the center of the statue in order to activate its powers, and release the army. A tremendous force was unleashed from the statue, bringing the Army of Anubis to life in the form of a dark shadow that configured itself into hordes of CGI, two-legged, dog-headed Anubis warriors - they confronted the Medjai who had arrived for a large-scale battle, and were led by Ardeth Bay, who intoned: "So it begins." Balthus told Rick that he had released the army of Anubis fighters, and was expecting Lord Imhotep to soon kill the Scorpion King and take command. Shockingly, the statue had seized Balthus' bracelet and devoured the flesh from his arm (down to the bone).
In another area of the pyramid's temple, as Imhotep stepped onto a platform between two large golden statues, he was stripped of his immortality and lost his power, becoming mortal - he realized: "The great god Anubis has taken my powers. It seems he wishes me to fight as a mortal." Imhotep told Anck-su-namun: "I must face the Scorpion King alone," but she begged him not to, fearing that without his immortality, she would lose him again. Rick came upon Imhotep and battled against him, but the mortal High Priest vowed that he wouldn't allow Rick to counteract his efforts by killing him, then killing the Scorpion King, and sending the Army back to the Underworld. Both of them were interrupted by the appearance of the giant, bellowing Scorpion King (a digitally-composed half-man, half-scorpion monster with giant lobster claws and crab legs). When attacked, Imhotep feigned allegiance to the Scorpion King: "I am your servant!" and then wrathfully pointed at Rick: "But he was sent to kill you!" As they fought, Balthus, whimpering in pain, stumbled into their midst and was seized by the claws of the Scorpion King and taken up to the ceiling. As he called out for Imhotep to save him, he was torn to pieces.
Outside on the battlefield, the first wave of Anubis Army warriors was defeated - but they were backed up by another stronger, more devastating surge of vicious soldiers streaming rapidly across the desert toward them. Ardeth prayed: "God help us." He called upon his men to raise their swords and fight "'Til death!" against the overwhelming forces. As Rick was fighting against the Scorpion King, he glanced at some wall carvings, illustrating an Egyptian (sharing the mark on his own wrist) fighting off, impaling, and killing the Scorpion King with the Spear of Osiris (something treasured as only a sceptre by Jonathan and carried by him throughout much of the film). As Jonathan came into view, Rick yelled to him that the Sceptre was actually a Spear when opened up: "It opens up into a spear." Everyone came together in the chamber where Rick struggled against the Scorpion King. Evelyn called out to Jonathan to throw the Spear at the Scorpion King to kill him and "send his army back to the Underworld" - but his weak toss was intercepted and caught by Imhotep, who then attempted to stab the clawed creature himself. Rick jumped at and snatched the spear in mid-air thrown by Imhotep, and then impaled the Scorpion King in the chest, but he was left dangling over a fiery, hellish pit or chasm leading to the underworld. He was able to cry out: "Go to hell, and take your friends with you!" - his order sent Anubis' Army back to the Underworld in a whirlwind of sand, saving the Medjai from death. Simultaneously, the Scorpion King explosively disappeared in a burst of sand. The force of the blast rocked the pyramid's foundations and it began to crumble, and both Rick and Imhotep clung to the edge of the pit while struggling to climb out.
Evelyn dared to sacrifice herself inside the collapsing pyramid (with falling rock pyres from the ceiling) to rush to Rick's aid - defying his order to flee. As she dragged Rick to safety, Imhotep called for Anck-su-namun to also help him, but she was unwilling - she turned and fled, leaving him betrayed. Heartbroken, he suicidally released his grip and fell backwards into the pit overlooking the Underworld. As the panicky Anck-su-namun ran to escape, she lost her balance and fell into a narrow pit of carnivorous scorpions, where she was covered over, repeatedly stung and suffocated to death. The pygmy mummies and the jungle foilage surrounding the pyramid were sucked in, as the O'Connells climbed up the massive blocks of rock on the pyramid's side to reach its top. Seemingly trapped, they were picked up by Izzy's repaired dirigible, and in addition, Jonathan plucked a huge diamond from the pyramid's pinnacle as he was precariously dangling above it before being pulled onboard. As they flew off into the golden sunset, Ardeth Bay from atop a sand dune gave them a blessing (in Arabic) and a farewell. Evelyn asked Rick whether he would like to know what heaven looked like, during her brief 'death' experience, but he only wanted a kiss. And Izzy claimed that the diamond was "half" his, although Jonathan replied: "I have no idea what you're talking about."
Film Notables (Awards, Facts, etc.)
A sequel and a repeat story (with a greater and more expensive scale of special effects) by writer-director Steven Sommers (with most of the same crew), and many of the characters from the first film.
With a production budget of $98 million, and box-office gross receipts of $202 million (domestic) and $433 million (worldwide).
With no Academy Awards Oscar nominations.
This was the well-publicized feature film debut of WWF's The Rock (Dwayne Johnson), in a short 5-minute prologue only.
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