The Mummy (1999) and The Mummy Returns (2001) are some of my favourite films ever. I have seen them numerous times! So, when I found the film novelization for the second film at a local second-hand bookstore, I knew that I absolutely had to have it. One of my guilty pleasures are film novelizations, especially really cheesy ones. However, after reading The Mummy Returns, I must confess that my heart is absolutely broken by how terrible it was.
**Please note: The synopsis for this book will contain spoilers for the film, The Mummy (1999).**
Nine years ago, a former soldier named Rick and a beautiful young librarian named Evy, embarked on a journey into an Ancient Egyptian city, where they unintentionally unleashed the most powerful creature to ever have walked the planet: the mummified corpse of Pharaoh Seti I’s High Priest, Imhotep. Now, due to malevolent forces, Imhotep has been resurrected again. This time it’ll be up to our dashing duo to save the day (and the world), along with their son, one more time!
Reading this was very nostalgic for me. It brought back memories of the very first time I saw the film in theatres, and all of the times I had seen it with my friends. We would sit on the couch and trade quoting lines. We once quoted the entire film line for line between all three of us. So, this reminiscent-vibe was very lovely and filled my chest with warmth and joy. I found this to be a very pleasant part of the reading experience.
Other enjoyable facets include some extended scenes as well as the addition of a few short new ones. I felt that these scenes added a small layer of depth to an already familiar tale. The dialogue also isn’t a word-for-word regurgitation of the script. Certain phrases and structures of mannerism are changed up a bit, which made it refreshing and different enough to keep me engaged. I was scared I would get slightly bored, but that didn’t happen. The vernacular is also completely British and true to the era that the film is set in (early 1930s). This was a whole lot of fun for me. I enjoyed the sharp wit, sassy quips, slang, etc.
However, aside from those few elements, everything else about the book was rather horrendous. The writing is absolutely atrocious. The novel is littered with spelling errors, especially where the names of our main characters are concerned. The details and descriptors are all repetitive. It almost felt as if the author had an extremely short-lived vocabulary. For example, there is a character in the book who has blunt cut bangs. They are described as Egyptian style bangs, unoriginally, and every single time she makes an appearance, those three words are used consistently to portray her appearance. She’s got bangs, I get it. Can we move on now? In another instance, we deal with a bit of reincarnation with some other characters, aside from the Mummy, and it is reiterated who this person was pre-reincarnation and who they are post-reincarnation. Every single goddamn time. It was excruciating, to say the least.
The action sequences were also written very poorly. They were significantly rushed without any descriptors to really set up the tone or setting, or even really to display how the fighting was unfolding. We get a handful of words that spoke of firing guns or slashing a sword, but nothing to give the fights any substance or body. I had to improvise most of those within my mind. Having seen the film numerous times really paid off in that respect.
Any jokes that are made, or any usage of sarcasm, are rarely left to the interpretation of the reader. They are explained. Literally, there is always a brief pause to ensure that we, the audience, have comprehended and recognised the joke for whatever it was.
Regardless of all of these things, my biggest qualm with this book is this: IT ALMOST COMPLETELY BRUSHED PAST MY FAVOURITE SCENE IN THE ENTIRE FILM. If you can add scenes and extend other scenes, then there is NO reason for you to blatantly delete ninety-five percent of one of the best scenes in the film. It’s just not okay, especially since that was the part of that I was most looking forward to. What the colossal fuck, dude?
Suffice to say, as a fan of film novelizations, I fucking hated this book. I really don’t recommend this thing at all, in any way, shape, or form. But… the nostalgia bit did affect me to an extent, as you shall see illustrated in my rating down below. In actuality, it’s probably too generous.
2 scorpions outta 5!