The first question you probably have is why in God’s name would I not only suggest you sacrifice yourself to the watching of one of these films but both.(The third one doesn’t exist, don’t try to disagree).
The answer of which is why not as I prepare to assault you with all of the gifs. These are two films which work better together and also stand together as some of the ‘so bad it’s good’ movies we love to talk about in Screen Savers. I feel like this kind of trashy but enjoyable flick is the true genius of Stephen Sommers. His other work includes Van Helsing, which is another film that includes some fun fantasy but doesn’t take itself too seriously. Now we have to remember that he dipped a bit too far with The Scorpion King and indeed the tragic sequel Tomb of the Dragon Empire I’ve asked you to forget. Yet despite the hilarious sounding Scorpion King sequels times three I’ve just found out about when confirming this director, we can forget that his career went a different direction later.
What Are The Movies About?
There’s an archaeological dig occurring at an ancient fictional city of Hamunaptra when the team accidentally awake a long asleep mummy named Anck Su Namun. A librarian Evelyn Carnahan, joined by an adventurer she saves from death named Rick O’Connell and her brother Jonathan, set out to this dig only to find the mummy has caused havoc. She has returned from death due to a curse placed on the location by a character based on the High Priest Imhotep. As part of the consequences of disturbing the site, i.e. reading from the Book of the Dead, Imhotep is also raised, and a vivid back story on the two mummies begins. It falls on the trio of misfits and some more local friends they pick up on the way to send both mummies back to their rest.
In the sequel, as the title suggests, the mummy comes back, this time referring to Imhotep. As per most films about this idea, it is the disturbing of a grave that causes this awakening. Without spoiling the first film, time and characters have moved on since the events of 1926’s set The Mummy. A cult, having heard the story of the Scorpion King who is to rise after a period of time dead, intend to raise Imhotep from the dead to defeat him. It is is said that whomever could defeat The Scorpion King in battle would gain access to the army of Anubis, and thinking that Imhotep could perform this task, would grant the cult this army in exchange for resurrecting him.
Outside of the obvious very gif-able ridiculous moments/acting, what has this 1999 and 2001 follow-up have to offer? If Brendan Fraiser’s floppy hair is not quite to your taste, there’s quite a great deal of beautiful men on show for one thing. Front and centre is Ardeth Bay, who in my particular household has been referred to affectionately as Arab-Bae, which indeed he is. Not only does he often upstage Rick in big fights but he looks incredibly hot while doing it.
Although there is one too many cleavage shots (and eventually she needs saving in both films) Rachel Weisz’ character is a huge part of why these films stick with me. Other than the obvious parallel in job titles (if not descriptions), her character is pretty awesome. Not only is she super intelligent, super sexy and not afraid to talk back to Rick and the other characters if they get out of line, she kicks a fair bit of ass. She does get kidnapped her fair share, but when she’s got the sword out she’s giving it socks, ending henchmen galore. More often than not, it’s her knowledge and taste for everything Egyptian that’s driving the story along, and her ambition is clearly visible in terms of her career.
Other than the nice change in female role, these films took me purely because of what I call ‘mummies and Egypt stuff’. For somebody who grew up wanting to be Indiana Jones and loving Egyptian history and mythology, it was sold before I even seen it. How close to actual mythology and known history these are is up to debate, but there’s enough name dropping and fun ancient books to keep viewers interested.