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The Mummy
The Mummy Returns

The Mummy

The year is 1290 B.C.E., during Dynasty 19, during the reign of Seti I. The place is Thebes, located in Upper/Middle Egypt, a city of majestic beauty and full of life; it is no wonder, then, that the ancients called it the City of the Living.

But, it is here where death dwells, as it is the location where Imhotep—Seti's High Priest of Osiris and Keeper of the Dead—chooses to kill Pharaoh, in hopes of taking over his rule, along side of his mistress, Anuck-su-namun, with whom Imhotep falls in love. Their plan goes array, as the bodyguards—the Med-jai—of Pharaoh catch them in cold blood. More goes wrong when Imhotep tries and fails to resurrect his dead girlfriend’s soul from the Underworld, at Hamunaptra, the City of the Dead, where the sons of Pharaohs and their treasure are buried.

Because he dared to disturb the corpse and sacred canopic jars of Anuck-su-namun, Imhotep and his priests are buried alive; Imhotep suffers the most, though, having the curse of the Hom-dai performed on him, a curse that gives the victim ultimate power once he or she arises. To keep this from happening, the Med-jai and the generations of Medl-jai that follow are sworn at manhood to watch over and protect the secret of Hamunaptra and the location of Imhotep.

However, the word of the mysteriousness and the purported richness of Hamunaptra spreads by way of Arab storytellers, amusing Greek and Roman tourists; by way of the Egyptian locals, amusing American and European tourists with the story; and down the generations. In other words, everyone know the story of Hamunaptra, even the soldiers and officers of the French Foreign Legion—a group of miscreant men who believed in it so much that they traveled through Libya and into Egypt to find it; even sweaty prison workers and inmates of Egypt; even scholars of the Cairo Museum.

The adventure officially begins in the year 1926, in the Cairo Museum, after a library disaster of disorganized proportions. Here we meet the heroic librarian and amateur Egyptologist, Evelyn Carnahan, whose brother—Jonathan Carnahan—presents to her an ancient Theban puzzle-box, inside which is contained a map to Hamunaptra. Despite discouragement from the curator of the museum—Dr. Bey—and a fiery catastrophe to the map, Evelyn and her goofy brother set out in search of the Lost City of Hamunaptra.

Their first stop: Cairo Prison, home of Cairo’s most evil criminals; slimiest of wardens and guards; and Richard O’Connell, supposed deserter of the French Foreign Legion and searcher of good times. It is in this last person whom the Carnahans are interested, as he was the last to posses the puzzle-box and map—of course, Jonathan would know this, as he stole it from the dashing man, who was drunk at the time at one of the local casbahs.

One little problem, however: O’connell’s hanging is scheduled for this day. How can the Carnahans find Hamunaptra if the only man who knows its location is going to die? Never fear, it is Evelyn to the rescue; by haggling and dealing with the warden to save O’Connel’s neck, literally, she eventually proposes a deal to the slimy man, which surely saves Rick’s live. The deal: what else but the riches of Hamunaptra?

So, it is on the boat to Luxor these four go. As luck would have it, the Carnahan-O’Connell party runs into another band of adventurers who are in the pursuit of Huamunaptra as well. This party consists of three American cowboys—Mr. Burns, Daniels and Henderson; an Egyptologist of English origins; and, to the surprise of O’Connell, Beni Gabor, a former soldier of the French Foreign Legion and acquaintance of O’Connell.

From here on out, these two parties share in the thrills and the chills that the pursuit of Hamunaptra brings: several attacks by the sacred sect of Med-jai warriors—once on the boat to Luxor and another time on location, at Hamunaptra experiences with booby-trapped and cursed objects; and run-ins with flesh-eating scarabs and a 3,000 year-old, walking, talking corpse, who is the bringer of death and of plagues and who seeks to resurrects his dead girlfriend, Anuck-su-namun.

In the end and with the help of Ardeth Bey—one of the chief commanders of the 12 tribes of the Med-jai—Evelyn, Rick, and Jonathan make it out of Hamunaptra alive, not without a few obstacles, of course: almost being sacrificed on an alter; being attacked by resurrected priests, bodyguards, and a mistress of Pharaoh; and nearly being buried alive beneath the sand dunes of Hamunaptra.

Death may be only the beginning, but life for the Carnahan’s and Rick is just beginning, as the dashing American hero and the clumsy, yet clever librarian fall in love and Jonathan finally gets his riches—although, none of them know it at this time, they will all truly live happily ever after.

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The Mummy Returns

Thebes, 3067 B.C.E.: It was exactly 5,000 years ago that the most famed of all Egyptian rules—the Scorpion King—led a political campaign to conquer the know world with the aid of an army of thousands. Hope the gods—and especially Anpu, also known as Anubis—are on his side, he and his men take the first running steps toward hand-to-hand combat, a battle to the death, something rarely seen in modern times. However, seven years latter, the opponents of the King and his army win the battle at Thebes, after which the latter party retreats into the Desert of Ahm Shere, which slowly takes the lives of all the warrior king’s men.

Rather than be conquered yet again—this time by death’s hand—the warrior king bargains with Anpu and exchanges his soul for invincibility. The god accepts and donates his army of jackals—called Anubis warriors—to the now powerful warrior. Like a plague of Biblical proportions the warrior and his army of millions comb and conquer the known world—that is, the whole of Egypt and surrounding countries—thus becoming invincible.

Having achieved that for which he asked of Anubis, the only thing left for him to do was to hand over his soul to the mortuary god. However, this the Scorpion King did not do, for how could he ever enter Paradise, the Field of Reeds, the Afterlife, without his soul, his precious Ba?

Appeasing the gods when they appear angry is something all Egyptians would support, but they did not trade in their souls for power. An angry god is one before whom neither man nor would woman want to be. So, with a blaze of fire, Anubis scoops up the Scorpion King’s soul and also made his army return to the sands from whence they came, where they would wait until the next person with designs on would world domination would unleash them.

According to legend, the Scorpion King and his Army of Anubis awake once every 5,000 years to wipe out the world, a hackneyed ploy. But first, someone must find the Bracelet of Anubis, a magical “key,” a “guide” to the now Lost Oasis of Ahm Shere; wear it; find the oasis without being the latest victim of vicious pygmies and quicksand; wake the Scorpion King; and then command him and his army to continue their quest in world domination.

When next we meet our heroes from the story, it is 1933, the year of the scorpion according to Egyptian astronomy funnily enough, and just seven years short of 5,000 years since the warrior king was condemned and petrified within the confines of a diamond-topped and golden pyramid at Ahm Shere center, which was created by Anubis especially for the Scorpion King. We return also to the place where our ancient story started, at Thebes, at the Ramesseum, otherwise known as the mortuary temple of Ramses II. It is within this sacred place that we find the O’Connell family: Rick, Evelyn, and their nearly eight year old precocious son, Alex, whose bravery and intelligence matches his father and mother, respectively. They are awarded the concession at the Ramesseum and begin their archaeological dig, which results in the finding of a few broken pottery jars, statues and two very important objects: an insignia of a Med-jai symbol and…the Bracelet of Anubis.

If it had not been for Evy’s recent premonitions, she and her family would have dug elsewhere. For some reason, Evy and her family are connected to this place, to the Bracelet of Anubis and to the Scorpion King.

After escaping an ancient Egyptian curse in the form of an avalanche of water that drives the O’Connell family out of the mortuary temple; a band of English hit-men hired by the curator of the British Museum and his accomplice, Meela, whose designs on retrieving the Imhotep’s corpse, the Book of the Dead, and the Bracelet are of the sardonic kind; pharaoh’s guards; the wrath of Imhotep, reanimated once more, this time by the curator’s team so that he could battle the Scorpion King; and a kidnapping, Evelyn discovers the connection, which includes her family. She was once Nefretari, the daughter of Seti I whose son was Ramses II. She was also the protector of the Bracelet of Anubis, about which Alex becomes curious and lets lock on his wrist, which shows him the way to Ahm Shere and endows him with the power to understand the ancient Egyptian language. In addition, Rick, branded with the Med-jai symbol on his right wrist, finds he is a protector of mankind, a warrior for god, a Med-jai, just like his old friend Ardeth Bey, who joins the O’Connell family once more to help them save the world from the Army of Anubis, the Scorpion King, Imhotep, and from Meela, who is the reincarnation of Anuck-su-namun, secret lover of Imhotep, who brings her soul back into her modern body. Jonathan, too, has a role in all of this: he discovers that his one and only evidence of his Hamunaptran fortune, now lost to rather unscrupulous characters, is actually a spear, the Spear of Osiris, which is the only weapon that can destroy the Scorpion King and send him back to the Underworld.

All of our key players, separated in the beginning now come together at the Lost Oasis of Ahm Shere, but by different means of transportation: Evelyn, Rick, Ardeth, Jonathan, and Izzy—a long ago friend of Rick—by dirigible and the curator and his crew, Meela, Imhotep, and Alex, whose wrist still wears the Bracelet and will continue to do so until the seventh day is spent and who is kidnapped by the curator and his team.

Facing death, skeletal pygmies, quicksand, and a rising sun, which announces the final day in which Alex must get inside the golden pyramid or else get the life sucked out of him.

Happily, the O’Connell family end up where they must be, but only momentary is this happiness; just as Rick saves Alex’s life, the life of his wife ends abruptly after Meela/Anuck-su-namun stabs her in the stomach.

Just as this happiness ends, it soon breaths life again when Alex, clever as he is, and with the help of his Uncle Johnathan, tricks Anuck-su-namun who is at this point waiting for her mortalized Imhotep to return from calling forth the Scorpion King from his chamber: Alex steals the Book of the Dead to chant the same spell that brought back Imhotep to bring his mother back from the dead as Jonathan attempts to fight Anuck-su-namun-sun-amun and as Rick fights Imhotep and the Scorpion King. This is all interrupted shortly when Evy is rejuvenated, fights Anuck-su-namun in a sais fight similar to one she had with her when she was Nefretari, and pulls her husband from the edge of a precipice that leads to the Lake of Fire.

With this newest turn of events, everything else turns out as happily: Rick impales the Scorpion King and sends him and the Army of Anubis back to the Underworld; Imhotep and Anuck-su-namun die, the latter from repeated scorpion bites and the former from a broken heart and from willingly throwing himself into the Lake of fire after Anuck-su-namun leaves him to die; and the O’Connell family escape the self-destruction of Ahm Shere with the aid of Izzy, his good timing, and reconstructed dirigible, which suffered from a fatal crash to the ground caused by Imhotep’s will in the form of a tidal wave.

Experiences such as these are never forgettable and hopefully unrepeatable. In what other pickles will we next find the O’Connell family? The world will soon find out.

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Collins, Max Allan. The Mummy. New York: Berkley Boulevard. 1999.

Collins, Max Allan. The Mummy Returns. New York: Berkley Boulevard. 2001.

Mummy, the. Dir. Stephan Sommers. Brendan Fraser, Rachel Weisz, John Hannah. 1999. DVD. Universal Studios. 7 May 1999.

Copyright October 2006 - March 2008 Mumia Chronica. All Rights Reserved

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