...this could have been much better. Three years after the fact, I know many of us are in agreement that this sequel did not live up to the original, so instead of just bashing it, I thought I'd do a take on what NOT to do with a sequel:
1.) Do not sacrifice plot for action. After so many sequels that bombed because of this, the producers still fell for it anyway. Do you know what made "The Mummy" so awesome? The lure of all the ancient Egyptian lore and myth, which, when interspersed with action, brought the entire movie alive. We don't need more brawls and swordfights and self-consuming cities--we need more of the MAGIC.
2.) Don't reference the original more than twice. It's not as if we don't remember the books and the plagues and the happy romance. If anything, constant reflections insult us as an audience. It's another bad trap that sequel-makers fall into, and again, it happened here too.
3.) Don't wreck the memory of a beloved setting. Hamunaptra was chock-full of all that we as Americans want from ancient Egypt: vast treasures, sarcophogi, curses, booby traps, juicy mummies. And what did we see of it in the second film? Sand, teeming with people who couldn't even find it eight years before. Huge electric lights illuminating what once could only be seen by torchlight. Trucks, instead of camels! And some really strangely reincarnated Anck-su-namun. The moviemakers effectively ruined the magic of Hamunaptra, and they didn't have to. Shame!
4.) Never, ever, ever pull a stunt like a CGI Rock again. Could they not afford to pay him for the final scenes? Just imagine the heroic fight between Rick, Imhotep, and the Scorpion King--only all three are in the flesh! People would have been cheering in the theatre watching the Rock fight with Brendan Fraser and Arnold Vosloo. But noooo...let's pull CGI out of our butts for the eighty millionth time. Shame shame!
5.) Don't ruin the best moments of the film by shortening them. Were we too busy playing around with CGI Rock to choreograph a great fight scene between Anck and Evie? I think we might have been. I understand that having Anck shy away from fighting helped set up her not being brave enough in the end for other things, but even just extending the fight a little longer would have helped. Anck could have given her best in an extended fight but still lost, and then we could have watched her bravado melt away and become her undoing.
All that being said, there are some bright spots. The mummy himself, for one. And the character of Jonathan was as lively and funny as ever, thank goodness; Ardeth Bay (Oded Fehr) was even more campily serious and apocolyptic, and that was fun, too. Enough can't be said for Brendan Frasier, who IS the action hero of the the new millenium--handsome, funny, totally self-aware, and he puts his heart into everything completely.
I hope they make a third "Mummy." There's a lot left of ancient Egypt to explore, especially since in the time period of the movies not everything had been discovered yet. I think all the main characters would have to return, and that the plot with the most potential still remains that between Imhotep and Anck-su-namun. With all the money they have in Hollywood, the producers should be able to hire a team talented enough to write a movie as magical as the first.