Summary: The Mummy and The Mummy Returns
It is 1930 and Evelyn Carnarvon is a librarian at Cairo’s Museum of Antiquities. She’s extremely intelligent but clumsy and unhappy with her job, which she has because of her late fathers donations. Her brother, Jonathan, finds a puzzle box and she discovers a map leading to the fabled city of Hamunaptra inside. She shows the map to the curator of the museum, and he burns it, telling her not to chase fables. Her brother consoles her with the knowledge that the man he took it from claims to have been there himself, and is in prison in the desert.
The man is Rick O’Connell who was the leader of some men who went to Hamunaptra seeking treasure. Evelyn saves him from execution and the group heads for Hamunaptra. En route, they discover that there is another group headed for the mystical City of the Dead. Led by a group of Americans, they also claim to have a guide who has actually been to the city. O’Connell finds out that this man is Beni who deserted him in the ruins when they were under attack. The mysterious men who pursued them in the desert choose this moment to attack again in force, rendering the boat un-usable, and both Evelyn’s crew and the Americans must float to shore and regroup. They manage to do this without the loss of life, and both groups head out to reach Hamunaptra at sunrise, which is when the city reveals itself to mortal eyes. They race into the city on camel back and each set up their respective campsites.
Evelyn’s group locates a mummy deep within the tombs. Analysis confirms that he was mummified alive with flesh eating scarabs, and carved the words “death is only the beginning” onto the inside of the sarcophagus. The Americans find some canopic jars and a book that Evelyn immediately recognizes as the Book of the Dead.
Unfortunately, the box that the Americans open to get these treasures also places a terrible curse on their heads. Evelyn steals the book from them and opens it with the puzzle box, which turns out to be a key of some kind. She reads a passage from it aloud and accidentally awakens the mummy, Imhotep, who responds by sending a plague of locusts down upon them, forcing them to take shelter in the tomb. Once they are in the tomb, Imhotep takes the eyes and tongue of one of the Americans and tries to kiss Evelyn, calling her Anck-Su-Namun. O’Connell shoots him with a shotgun and the group makes their escape, only to be caught at the entrance by the same men who destroyed their boat. They are the Magii, led by a man named Ardeth Bey, and they have sworn their lives to making sure Imhotep doesn’t rise again. They deliver the now blinded American back to the group and then head into the tomb to try to kill Imhotep while he is still weak.
However, Imhotep has not been idle. He has found a cowering Beni, and taken him as a servant. With Beni’s help, Imhotep follows the group back to Cairo, and kills the other Americans one by one, until he has fully regained his powers, raining the plagues of Egypt down on Cairo one by one. Then he captures Evelyn and the others are forced to flee. They follow him to Hamunaptra, where they have figured out that he will use Evelyn as a sacrifice to bring his beloved Anck-Su-Namun back to life.
From here, everything moves into a flurry of activity. O’Connell and the others race into the tomb battling dangers to get to Evelyn in time. Imhotep raises Anck-Su-Namun, but they stop him before he kills Evelyn and completes the spell. They fight several groups of mummies, including ones that Jonathan accidentally awakes and eventually figures out how to control. And finally, they manage to deprive Imhotep of his immortality and kill him thanks to the help of the Book of the Living. His final words are once again, “Death is only the beginning”.
Then a race for the exit ensues. They lose both the Book of the Dead and the Book of the Living in the panic and all of the treasure contained in the tomb, but escape with their lives. Beni, trapped underground by his own greed, is eaten alive by scarabs. Jonathan complains that they got out of there without any treasure, and O’Connell disagrees, giving Evelyn a rather long kiss.
Eight years later, Evelyn starts to have strange dreams and she and Rick travel to Egypt once again, this time with their son, Alex. They find a bracelet, the Bracelet of Anubis, in the tomb, said to have been worn by the legendary Scorpion King. They take it back to England where Alex puts it on and it gets stuck on his wrist, showing him various places in Egypt. Some men in red, who are working for a young woman who is trying to raise Imhotep once again, capture both the box the bracelet was in, and Evelyn. The woman’s name is Meela, and she is the reincarnation of Anck-Su-Namun. She needs the bracelet to lead her and Imhotep to the Scorpion King, for whoever can defeat him in battle can control his supernatural army.
Thinking they have the bracelet in the box, Meela and her entourage raise Imhotep and then attempt to kill Evelyn for his amusement. Rick and Ardeth Bey, who mysteriously showed up to help, manage to save her just in time. But they lose Alex, who is kidnapped for the bracelet on his hand. It will lead whoever puts it on to the Scorpion King’s final resting place in the Oasis of Am-Shere, but they must get there before the sun rises on the seventh day after they put it on, or it will suck out their soul.
Evelyn and Rick follow the ancient foes, first to Karnath, and then from place to place, following symbols and sandcastles their son leaves behind for them. Meanwhile, Imhotep gains back his full strength and restores Anck-Su-Namun’s memories of her previous life. When he does so, however, Evelyn gains back her memories as well—of her life as Nefertiti, the Pharaoh’s daughter, who witnesses her father’s death at the hand of Imhotep.
All finally arrive in Am-Shere, though Imhotep crashes their airship, and set out to find Alex. Native pygmy mummy things attack both the good and the evil parties and both groups manage to make it to the giant pyramid at the center, where Evelyn is killed by Anck-Su-Namun. Rick then goes after Imhotep with renewed vengeance, following them down into the underground of the pyramid. Alex, meanwhile, figures out that the mummy must have the Book of the Dead with him, and if they can find it, they can bring his mother back.
With Jonathan’s help, Alex manages to do just that, while Rick battles it out with both Imhotep and the Scorpion King. He finally kills the Scorpion King with the Spear of Osiris, which Jonathan has been carrying around the entire time. He sends the armies back to hell, but both he and Imhotep topple over a ledge, where they are pulled downward by angry dead. Evelyn risks her life to save Rick, but Anck-Su-Namun runs away, leaving Imhotep to die. Once he realizes his beloved doesn’t care as much for him as the O’Connell’s do for each other, he lets go of the ledge and plummets into oblivion.
Everyone races out of the temple to find the oasis sucking in around them. Anck-Su-Namun falls into a pit of scarabs, but everybody else makes it to the top of the pyramid just fine, where their airship-flying buddy picks them up. Jonathan risks his life to grab the giant diamond atop the pyramid, a gamble which pays off, and Evelyn and Rick share a tender kiss, much to Alex’s disgust.
If “The Mummy Returns” sounds a little more rushed and sensational than “The Mummy” that’s because it is, in fact, more rushed and sensational. “The Mummy Returns” is much more of a popular culture movie than an exploration of any kind of myth in the modern world. After having watched both movies extensively, I have decided to mostly narrow my research to the information presented in “The Mummy”, though I do still plan to see what I can find about the Scorpion King and the Oasis of Am-Shere.