The Mummy Saga


Once upon a time, in the late 1990s, a film was released that would captivate audiences around the globe. “The Mummy,” released in 1999, and its thrilling sequel, “The Mummy Returns” in 2001, became more than just movies for countless fans. For me in particular, they are timeless adventures that I go back to repeatedly.


THE MUMMY (1999)

“The Mummy” (1999) is an adventurous fantasy film directed by Stephen Sommers. Deep in the Egyptian desert, a handful of people searching for a long-lost treasure have just unearthed a 3000-year-old legacy of terror.

The story follows Rick O’Connell, an American adventurer played by Brendan Fraser, as he teams up with librarian Evelyn Carnahan, played by Rachel Weisz, and her brother Jonathan, plated by John Hannah, in an expedition to Hamunaptra, the lost city of the dead.

Unbeknownst to them, they accidentally awaken Imhotep, played by Arnold Vosloo, an ancient Egyptian priest cursed and mummified for forbidden love. Imhotep seeks to resurrect his lover, and chaos ensues as the group races against time to stop the malevolent mummy.

The film combines the thrills of a rousing adventure with the suspense of Universal’s legendary 1932 horror classic. The filmmakers wanted to make something different while still showing respect for what came before.

Filled with action, humor, and supernatural elements, “The Mummy” is a thrilling tale that combines adventure, romance, and horror against the backdrop of a fictional ancient Egypt. The gorgeous cinematography, intricate costumes, and stunning replicas of Egyptian artifacts and sites will keep you engaged.

The Mummy Saga
“Dead is only the Beginning” – Evelyn Carnahan (The Mummy, 1999)



“The Mummy Returns” (2001) is a sequel to the 1999 film directed by Stephen Sommers. Set ten years after the events of the first film, the story follows adventurer Rick O’Connell, his wife Evelyn, and their son Alex, played by Freddie Boath, as they become entangled in another ancient Egyptian curse.

This time, the O’Connell family must prevent the resurrection of the Scorpion King, played by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, a powerful warrior seeking world domination.

The film is a rollercoaster of action, supernatural encounters, and comedic moments as the O’Connells navigate treacherous landscapes and face ancient adversaries in a race against time to save the world from a new threat.

The Mummy Saga
“Couple of years ago this would have seemed really strange to me” – Rick O’Connell (The Mummy Returns, 2001)



I found solace and comfort in the daring escapades of Rick O’Connell, Evelyn Carnahan, and Ardeth Bay, played by Odeth Behr, and their unforgettable encounters with the ancient Egyptian menace, Imhotep. The films became a source of joy, excitement, and a reliable companion in times of sickness.

The journey began with the discovery of the cursed mummy, Imhotep, brought back to life by a series of unfortunate events. Rick, Evelyn, and their ragtag group of adventurers faced danger, romance, and supernatural forces, all set against the backdrop of the stunning Egyptian landscape. Always starting with narration by Ardeth Bay, the leader of the Medjay, the films were a magical escape into a world filled with mystery, braveness, and heroism.

As the years passed, my connection to the first two Mummy movies deepened. What started as a thrilling cinematic experience evolved into a comforting ritual during times of illness. The familiar characters, witty dialogue, great sets and locations filmed in Morocco, and heart-pounding action provided a sense of familiarity and reassurance, transporting me to a place where the supernatural met the everyday.

The Mummy Saga



Even after more than two decades, the first two movies remained timelessly entertaining. Whether it was the iconic scene of the Medjai warriors emerging from the desert or the pulse-pounding race against time to stop Imhotep’s resurrection, each viewing brings a renewed sense of wonder, especially when I watch it with people who’ve never watched it before.

Over time, the films became a timeless remedy, offering a reliable source of comfort and distraction when the world outside seemed overwhelming.

The witty one-liners of Rick O’Connell, the fierce determination of Evelyn Carnahan, the imposing presence of Ardeth Bay, and the eerie presence of Imhotep form a great gateway of escapism accompanied by an amazing score by Jerry Goldsmith. Relying on actual instrumentation and orchestra, Goldsmith’s work is an amazing listen and elevates the film to amazing heights. The films weren’t just stories on the screen; they were companions that stayed with me through thick and thin.




The film had its round of issues with accusations of not being historically accurate which I don’t understand when it’s a work of fiction and fantasy, not a documentary. Almost everything is made up which is what a work of fiction does, unleashing the imagination.

I’m sure those wanting to learn more about Egypt and archeology will look into the work of scholars who published their work based on actual history and their findings.



However, I believe that some conflicts, such as the Imhoptep issue, could have been avoided. Portraying a deity as evil is not cool. In the movie, Imhotep is portrayed as the high priest of Pharaoh Seti I who commits a great sin and gets mummified. Centuries later he’s risen from the death bringing the plagues of Egypt with him. In the 1932 version, the Mummy was also named Imhotep.

The real Imhotep left a different kind of lasting legacy. Some believe he helped develop the step pyramid at Sakkara and it is also believed that he was the first architect known by name in recorded Egyptian history.

More importantly according to history, he was a wise counselor to Pharaoh Djoser. After his death, he became known as a patron to scribes. In the city of Memphis, he eventually became revered as a god due to his skills for healing.



The Medjay are part of an ancient secret society. For over three thousand years they have guarded the City of the Dead. They are sworn at manhood to do all in their part to prevent the rise of evil on the Earth, specifically, the resurrection of the High Priest Imhotep.

The Medjay fight against the cult that wants to resurrect Imhotep. They fight for the good side, Team Light. Coincidentally their symbol has elements similar to the symbols of the real-life rumored secret societies not necessarily known for doing good to the world.

They’re more inclined to be Team Darkness with all the devil worship symbolism shown by politicians, musicians, and celebrities, the constant mocking of traditional religion, good morals, and principles.



Another famous issue was the “Scorpion King” special effects in The Mummy Returns. The first film was very popular for the impressive visual effects showcasing the City of Thebes, the scarabs, fight scenes, and the mummy’s abilities which were for the most part impressive at the time.

The second movie also showcased these special effects, having the same technical crew, and added additional ones that weren’t as impressive.

The Scorpion King was the most challenging effect to create according to the filmmakers but unfortunately, it wasn’t as good as the other visual effects in the film. The face art designs during the conceptual face, which can be found on the Blu-Ray edition, looked better.

The face of the cursed Scorpion King indeed looked weird. Why was it not deformed when most of his upper body was?  However, I was so engrossed in the story that it didn’t bother me as much as it bothered other people.



I was not a fan of the third movie “The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor” (2008) starting with the fact that they changed the actress who played Eve. Once I saw the movie, I felt that the story and the performances didn’t feel right for the established Mummy Universe.

It seems like the story was rushed to present the Asian version of the Mummy. The film is set in China rather than Egypt and focuses on the Terracotta Army’s origins. It felt like there was a story between the second and the third movie that wasn’t told. Why would they go to China of all places?

Once I saw “The Mummy: The Animated Series” which was loosely based on the first two movies, I could see how the story of the third film could work but you still miss the main element that connects all three movies, Imhotep. In the series, the O’Connells find themselves being chased around the world by Imhotep, and his lackeys while trying to get the Manacle of Osiris off Alex’s wrist.



These movies feel a lot like Indiana Jones with all the excitement and romance that’s just appealing in every possible way. I appreciate how Rick might seem like a bit of a jerk, but deep down, he’s loyal and sticks to his word. Eve’s character growth is awesome too.



Evelyn is very intelligent and starts clumsy, endearing, and innocent but transforms into this confident and experienced woman in “The Mummy Returns’ as she fights against Anck-Su-Namun, played by Patricia Velasquez, who also has a better role as a formidable villain.

In this movie, these female characters take center stage showing off their skills including their fighting abilities. More importantly, there is a whole sequence explaining why they have those skills and many instances where they show off their skills before their final fight.

Both actresses were involved in the action scenes and performed most of the fighting sequences. This is how you develop strong female characters the right way.

The Mummy Saga



What got me hooked were the themes in the movies. They’re all about preserving history, understanding and dealing with threats quietly, respecting other people’s beliefs, stepping up to responsibilities, staying committed to relationships and causes, and maintaining a healthy family bond.

Rick and Eve go to extremes to protect their family in every way they can. Eve learned how to fight and can protect Alex when Rick is not around. Rick struggles with being a father but is committed to doing it right.

These themes just hit home for me, making the movies more than just action-packed adventures. They’ve got heart and teach you something about life, like the importance of family and relationships.

How impactful was it when Eve chose to save Rick while Anck-Su-Namun ran away leaving Imhotep? Eve represents what most real women want to be. Anck-Su-Namun represents what most Western women have become.



The Mummy movies became my go-to remedy, a cinematic remedy that healed the mundane aches of life, a much-welcomed distraction.  No matter how many times I watched them, the allure of the ancient Egyptian adventure never faded, especially when compared to current-day pop culture and entertainment.

The films are like an old friend, offering comfort and familiarity in times of need. For many they are a passport to spellbinding entertainment you can watch again and again. As I continued to watch “The Mummy” and “The Mummy Returns” over the years, the stories unfolded with a timeless charm.

The movies were more than just a saga of resurrected mummies and daring heroes; they were a testament to the enduring power of storytelling. I found not only a distraction but a lifelong connection to a fictional world where light triumphs over darkness.

And so, the legacy of Rick (Brendan Fraser), and Evelyn (Rachel Weisz) lived on in the hearts of those like me who found solace in their timeless cinematic adventures.

Unfortunately, there is not much merch available anymore. I bought the movies on VHS, DVDs, and Blu-Ray. It would be awesome to have more behind-the-scenes material, books, collectibles, and maybe occasional theatrical rereleases of The Mummy and The Mummy Returns.


All images in this publication belong to the original creators and are used as references under fair use.

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