The Mummy is a special-effects extravaganza with a plot that is simply fodder to showcase the effects.
The year is 1923. Rick O'Connell (Brendan Frasier), a French foreign legionnaire, stumbles on the lost city of Hamunaptra, the City of the Dead, believed to contain great treasures that were buried along with the dead. But it also contains the mummy of Imhotep (Arnold Vosloo), an Egyptian High Priest, who was mummified alive almost 3000 years ago with flesh-eating beetles as punishment for sleeping with the Pharoah's wife and killing the Pharoah.
Three years after his initial discovery, Rick runs into some trouble with the locals. On the verge of being hanged, he is saved by Evelyn Carnarvon (Rachel Weisz), a librarian with an interest in Egyptology, in exchange for taking her to Hamunaptra. Needless to say, the two of them, and Evelyn's treasure seeking brother Jonathan (John Hannah) unleash Imhotep's Mummified persona who brings forth ten proverbial plagues upon Egypt, including but not limited to locusts, flesh-eating beetles, zombies chanting "Imhotep" (which makes for the best one-liner in the film), balls of fire from the sky, and more. O'Connell and his friends attempt to stop the Mummy before the world is destroyed.
Discussing the acting would be pointless, though I will mention that Director Stephen Sommers pays way too much attention to the human beings. For an action film like this, it's better to stick with an un-complicated plot, use the characters as filler, and focus on the special effects. Speaking of which, a lot of special effects in movies to me is more about concept than about the actual wizardry involved. The Mummy's use of special effects is fairly clever and generally effective. There are some pretty good action scenes here, including the collapsing sand which outlines a face, the sandstorm pursuing and dwarfing an escaping tiny airplane with O'Connell, and of course, the ten plagues.
The Mummy is a silly no-brainer, and is worth checking out on the big screen for the matinee fare.
The second edition of The Mummy is simply more of the same. The evil Mummy returns and our heroes must fight him to stop the next apocalypse from being unleashed.
There is a twist this time: the presence of the Scorpion King (Dwayne Johnson aka The Rock from TV's WWF) whose second coming is activated when Alex (Freddie Boath), the son of Rick O'Connell (Brendan Frazer) and Evelyn Carnarvon (Rachel Weisz) wears an ancient bracelet. The bracelet symbolises a pact made by the Scorpion King with the god Anubis where he trades his soul in exchange for great power.
Whoever defeats the Scorpion King will command his armies. Anck-Su-Namun (Patricia Velasquez) resurrects her former lover Imhotep (Arnold Vosloo), the original Mummy, to handle this task. When she and her cronies kidnap Alex (for the bracelet that he's wearing that he cannot remove) and set about finding the Scorpion King's pyramid (which is in an Oasis somewhere in the desert), our heroes are aided by their friend Ardeth Bay (Oded Fehr) and Evelyn's brother Jonathan (John Hannah) to retrieve Alex and thus stop Armageddon from being unleashed.
There's more Egyptian mythology (i.e., more gods) in this sequel. The special effects are more of what we saw in the first film with minor variations: the Mummy goes after our heroes using water instead of sand and flesh-eating beetles are omnipresent (and more effective than Anubis' jackal-headed warriors). The acting isn't what drives the film, and while Brendan Frazier is no Harrison Ford playing Indiana Jones, he does carry the film quite well. The supporting cast do a decent job.
The Mummy Returns resembles mainstream eye candy in the movie world, not unlike Britney Spears or the Backstreet Boys in the music world. There is one reason why this is not a bad thing as far as movies are considered: large numbers of teens don't develop crushes and once we're done with the film, we can conveniently forget about it. I highly recommend checking it out on the big screen.