The Mummy Returns
Decca Records, 2001
REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 05/17/2001
Memo to Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, on seeing his film still underneath the CD tray for The Mummy Returns: Dude, where are you supposed to keep your wallet in that costume?
Okay, that's a cheap way to start a review, I admit. But when you take a serious action/horror movie like this, add in serious-sounding music from Alan Silvestri and realize that you're looking at the latest franchise in motion pictures, something has to give in the light-hearted department.
Fact is, The Mummy Returns is a serious soundtrack - in fact, it may be too serious at times, leaving the listener who hasn't included themselves in the throng who have seen this movie (ahem, cough cough) a bit lost at times.
At the start, one has to wonder why Silvestri became involved with the music at this point. No disrespect is meant towards Silvestri (who has easily proven himself to be one of the most respected composers of film music), but wouldn't the logical choice have been to stick with Jerry Goldsmith, who crafted the music for The Mummy? I would have been concerned that switching composers would break the continuity of the music between the two films. Then again, maybe that's what the powers that be wanted in the first place.
There are a few examples of working in the Middle Eastern flavor of the setting into the music ("Imhotep Unearthed" being the one that springs to mind), but more often than not, The Mummy Returns takes on an almost Indiana Jones approach to the music, rising and falling with the action perceived by the listener. While this is a powerful tool for raising and lowering one's heart rate (as well as spurring on one's imagination), it draws attention away from the plot of the movie, turning it into another action-adventure soundtrack.
This isn't to say that selections like "Evy Kidnapped," "The Legend Of The Scorpion King" and "The Mummy Returns" are weak. Indeed, these tracks have enough power to keep the listener interested, even if one hasn't seen the movie yet. But one area which could have stood some improvement was in the final mixing. Whoever was working the volume control knob should get a lesson in equalization; there were times when the music was almost absent due to the volume being so low.
The one nod to pop sensibility - the inclusion of a new track from Live - doesn't light the fuse like one would hope. "Forever May Not Be Long Enough" doesn't have the power or hooks that many of Live's best-known songs do. And while judging the upcoming release from Live on this one track alone isn't fair, it does lead me to wonder if "Forever May Not Be Long Enough" is a sign of things to come.
The Mummy Returns has enough adrenaline to keep your heart racing at times, but could have used a little more of an Egyptian theme running through its selections. Without that, you're left with merely the soundtrack to an action-adventure movie - albeit not a bad soundtrack.