Film: The Mummy Trilogy aka: The Mummy Tomb Of The Dragon Emperor
"Oh I hate mummies!"
The Mummy Trilogy is a trilogy of movies that features mummies. (The Mummy 1999, The Mummy Returns 2001, The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor 2008)The first movie was a loose remake of the original film. Instead of being straight horror, it was more of an action-adventure with a dash of comedy - not unlike the Indiana Jones or Tomb Raider style of action movies. Despite being based on a straight-horror, ultimately the movies owe more to Indiana Jones than anything else, however they are very Genre Savvy and just run with it, making for effective light entertainment.Set circa early 1920s, the first film The Mummy featured proficient historian Evelyn Carnahan (Rachel Weisz) and her older brother, lazy archaeologist Jonathan Carnahan (John Hannah) on a quest to find the lost city of Hamunaptra, City of the Dead, said to be the hiding place for the wealth of ancient Egypt. Enlisting the help of former legionnaire Rick O'Connell (Brendan Fraser), they inevitably end up accidentally releasing- and then having to stop- a mummy named Imhotep, a former Egyptian priest who was condemned to a hellish immortality, and once awakened unleashes the ten Biblical plagues upon Egypt.The sequel, The Mummy Returns, featured Jonathan Carnahan, the now-married Rick and Evelyn O'Connell and their inquisitive son, Alex. Imhotep returns and tries to steal the supernatural Army of Anubis from the Scorpion King (Dwayne Johnson, give or take some Special Effects Failures).During the long wait for a third, we got the Spin-Off/PrequelThe Scorpion King. It had The Rock fight Egyptians and sorcerers and stuff like that. The Scorpion King itself got a direct-to-DVD pre-prequel, The Scorpion King 2: Rise of a Warrior.The third movie, The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, was not as well received. Stephen Sommers neither wrote nor directed it. Rachel Weisz was replaced by Maria Bello. Imhotep was gone in favor of a new villain played by Jet Li. And there were yetis. Who kicked field goals. On the other hand, it had a scene where the villain tore his own face off and threw it at someone. And King Ghidorah.The Scorpion King got a second sequel released in early 2012 on video. This time, however, it's a sequel to the first Scorpion King film, making it a sequel to a prequel (to the original Scorpion King) of the prologue of a sequel (The Mummy Returns). Is your head hurting yet?An animated series loosely based on the films, set shortly after The Mummy Returns, debuted in 2001 on KidsWB and ran for two seasons.A spin-off ride, known as Revenge of the Mummy can currently be found at the Universal Studios parks.Not to be confused with the aforementioned 1932 film featuring Boris Karloff as Imhotep, or the 1959 Hammer Horror film featuring Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing, or the 1969 Egyptian art film more usually called The Night of Counting the Years (which Martin Scorsese once mentioned really liking).The series will be rebooted by Universal.
Rick goes from self-absorbed ne'er-do-well to proper, dashing Action Hero Love Interest.
Even Jonathan, the comic relief, manages to hold his own several times when challenged, including by Meela.
Adventurer Archaeologist: Eh, kind of. None of them were trained archaeologists; Evy was a librarian (although it is mentioned at the start of the first film that she has been desperately trying to get herself into the field), and they had the most experience dealing with Imhotep. Ironically, Evy's slacker/con-artist/Plucky Comic Relief brother Jonathan is the only one with any kind of background in archaeology.
By the beginning of the second movie, however, they are running their own full scale digs. The films also take place in the early days of archaeology when training wasn't as important as the personal funds to go tomb hunting.
In her introductory scene, Evy reveals that she is very proficient historian and Egyptologist, possessing extensive knowledge of history and ancient Egyptian languages. Her brother, on the other hand, is unable to recognize Seti I, father of one of the most famous pharaohs.
Aerith and Bob: The institution where Evelyn worked apparently employed a Muhammad, an Abdullah and a Bob.
Given that said institution is located in the Arabic country colonized by British, it is more a case of real-life Melting Pot Nomenclature.
Alas, Poor Villain - In The Mummy Returns, Imhotep sees what True Love is really like. He'd sacrificed everything, his position and his mortality for Ankh-su-namun, and she abandoned him when the chips were down. Then he got to watch Evy race to Rick's side in his moment of need. To top it off, while he was begging Ankh-su-namun to save him, his enemy was begging his beloved to save herself- and she refused, insisting on trying to help him. With this came the realization that his sacrifice and suffering had been pointless and empty, and he gave a bitter smile and let go of the ledge.
All There in the Manual: The novelization of the first movie gives some details that it probably would have been difficult to convey in the movie, such as some of the Carnahan's backstory and the cause and effect of their parent's deaths. Among other things, pouring the scarabs into Imhotep's sarcophagus wasn't just to torture him further... it's an essential part of the ritual that they would eat his flesh, and when he became desperate he would eat them, and this would continue for years. This dark mockery of the cycle of life was an important aspect of making him immortal so that he would suffer forever.
There was a lot more detail in the original script that was cut for pacing, including an expansion on Imhotep's backstory, the rest of the plagues, and titbit explanations on minor issues. The original script can be viewed here.
Almost Kiss: Rick and Evy in the first film, when they both get drunk during the first night in Hamunaptra and he teaches her how to throw a punch. Since Rick clearly holds his liquor better than Evy, Hilarity Ensues.
Evy: [completely hammered by this point, but attempting to appear dignified] I may not be an explorer- or, or an adventurer, or a treasure seeker, or a gunfighter- Mr O'Connell...! But I am proud of what I am!
Rick: [pretty much sober] Oh? And that is...?
Evy: I... am a librarian! [proud smile] And... and I am going to kiss you, Mr O'Connell.
Ancient Egypt: The source of the plots for two out of three of the films.
Ancient Order of Protectors: The Medjai, the descendants of Pharaoh's bodyguards who try to keep people away from Hamunaptra, and Imhotep.
And I Must Scream: Imhotep's fate prior to his release by the main protagonists. His tongue was cut out, he was wrapped in bandages to the point of immobilization, and was then locked in a sarcophagus with a bunch of flesh-eating scarabs. To be eaten alive. Forever.
Annoying Arrows: A Rain of Arrows is fired at the undead army in The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor. They spend a couple minutes pulling them out then get back to the fighting.
Anti-Villain: The Dragon Emperor's living minions Yang and Choi. Their country has been locked in a vicious civil war for years, and it seems like the only man who can unite China is the one who did it in the first place. Made especially so by their very heroic deaths: Choi trying to pull Yang out of machinery while he yells at her to save herself.
Imhotep himself qualifies as well. All he wanted was to be reunited with his former lover. At the climax of the second movie he willingly falls into the Hell pit, after realizing Ankh-su-namun had abandoned him. He gives a weak smile at Rick and Evelyn, showing he obviously envies their love.
In the first one, right at the beginning, during the opening shot of Thebes, pyramids are visible, but there never were any pyramids built around Thebes. You can also see a small version of a Sphinx in front of the pyramids, making the whole set look like Giza, in Cairo. Apparently, somebody believed that Ancient Egypt without pyramids would not be realistic.
Artistic License - History: The Book of the Dead and the Book of Amun-Ra are both made to look like a bunch of black stone and gold (respectively) tablets put together in a form resembling a modern-day book. The Ancient Egyptians would have written their books on papyrus scrolls.
Not to mention, even if they could make the books the way they're depicted, the Book of Amun-Ra would never have been made out of pure gold - it would have become obscenely heavy as a result.
Hamunaptra is a real place and was really nicknamed 'City of the Dead', but it is the ruined city in India, a relic of unknown civilization destroyed several millennia ago.
Imhotep decides not to kill Beni and instead have him work for him when Beni begins to pray with a Star of David in his hands. Imhotep recognizes Hebrew as the language of "the slaves", but despite the Bible account there is no historical evidence that the Hebrews ever suffered mass enslavement in Egypt.
Artistic License - Physics: In the second film, when the jets on the sides of the dirigible are activated, there is no drag on the balloon itself. And the balloon somehow manages to rise immediately after being soaked with probably many hundreds of pounds of water.
Asshole Victim: The Pharaoh can come across as this, particularly if one finds Imhotep sympathetic. Flashbacks in the second film also reveal that despite loving his daughter deeply, the Pharaoh was perfectly content to ignore his daughter and wife's utter loathing of each other, to the point where they were clearly attempting to murder each other during their "friendly" sparring match.
Asskicking Equals Authority: Whoever slays the Scorpion King with the Scepter of Osiris automatically gains the authority to command the Army of Anubis.
Audible Gleam: From the first movie, when Beni's bagging all that golden treasure from Hamunaptra (which winds up in Rick and Evy's hands after he bites it, and probably paid for their Big Fancy House in the sequel).
Author Appeal: The Mummy (1932) is Stephen Sommers' favorite movie, and he worked for years to get a crack at making his own version of it. This is the result.
Bare-Handed Blade Block: Michelle Yeoh's character in Tomb of the Dragon Emperor manages to catch the Emperor's sword thrust. She then lets go and sacrifices herself to grab the cursed dagger from the Emperor's belt.
The Baroness: Choi. The ressurrected Anck-su-namun in the second film too.
Being Evil Sucks: Beni serves Imhotep purely out of fear and greed, and he clearly loathes every minute of it, except the part where he taunts the eyeless Burns, perhaps because he blames them for unleashing Imhotep. By the end of the movie he finds out being the toadie for an undead dark wizard is really not all it's cracked up to be.
Berserk Button: In The Mummy, Rick gets increasingly protective of Evy.
Upped to his entire family in The Mummy Returns. Not to mention his outrage when the mummies crush his beloved car.
Beware the Nice Ones: Jonathan is the bumbling Plucky Comic Relief, true, but when Anuck-su-namun is about to kill Evy, he uses the Book of Amun-Ra to order the guard mummies to kill her without batting an eyelid.
Big "NO!": One particularly notable one happens at the end of "The Mummy Returns" where Imhotep runs into shot, poses, then screams. Rick and Evelyn both get more meaningful ones when they see each other in mortal danger, or being fatally stabbed.
The Egyptologist when he hears the Mummy's resurrection: "NO! You must not read from the book!"
In Universe in The Mummy: Beni Gabor can apparently pray in several different languages, so any available gods passing can hear. Not to mention Evy's ability to read, write and speak Ancient Egyptian and possibly many other languages.
In Tomb Of The Dragon Emperor, when the title villain's Terracotta Warriors shoots a barrage of arrows into an opposing army of heroic skeletons. While this naturally had no effect on the already dead targets, one of the skeletons accidentally knocks another one's head off with his shovel. He then goes to say in perfect and completely unsubtitled Chinese to his comrade "Oh sorry! Sorry! Your head's over here."
Black Vikings: Some of the actors have, shall we say, improbable racial backgrounds for a tale set in Ancient Egypt. The Rock is half Samoan, which is a bit hard to rationalize. Plus, Patricia Velasquez is part Amerind, which would seem to indicate that Ancient Egypt was in contact with the New World thousands of years ago.
Dr. Bey: We are part of an ancient secret society. For over three thousand years we have guarded the City of the Dead. We are sworn at manhood to do any and all in our power to stop the High Priest Imhotep from being reborn into this world.
Ardeth Bay: Now, because of you, we have failed.
Evelyn: And you think this justifies the killing of innocent people?
Seems to run in the family, Alex does it with freaking giant stone pillars in the sequel. Although it makes you wonder what exactly those pillars were holding up.
Bottomless Magazines: In the real-world 1930's, six shooters shot six times. In fact the Single-Action Army revolvers they were using had to be loaded and unloaded one shot at a time. In the film you get a full twelve shots with one of those bad boys.
Weirdly enough it also contains a notable inversion in the opening shootout. Rick draws twin Colt M1911s, fires about four shots and they both run dry (slides locked back and all) he throws them aside and draws two more Colt .45s. A strange case of Limited Magazines, as the Colt M1911 typically carries 7 rounds in the magazine and one in the chamber.
Brick Joke: Jonathan hides in a sarcophagus in the museum and makes one of the mummies pop out to scare Evy. Later on when they open Imhotep's sarcophagus his mummy pops out at them and Evy yells "I hate it when these things do that!"
Butt Monkey: Beni from the first movie, and Jonathan in general.
Call Back: The hieroglyphic that Evy tells Jonathan about in the first film is the same one Jonathan tells Alex in the second. For an added bonus, the character that knows the hieroglyphic is trying to fight off Ankh Su-Namun at the same time.
In the first film, Rick disarms an enemy when he is pressed against a pillar with a headbutt. In the second film, when the house is under attack, Evy uses the same move against a Mook and comments to Alex, "That I learned from your father!"
In The Mummy Returns, the Scorpion King was as well, though the spinoff expanded him into a heroic role, making his actions in Returns seem rather out of character.
This was later rectified by Word of God, stating that the Scorpion King in The Mummy Returns was a look-alike descendant of the one from the Scorpion King film.
The Scorpion King novelization confuses the issue even more, as the precognitive sorceress had a thought process at the very end that indicates she laments what is to come, suggesting the King would eventually end up corrupted and become the villain seen in returns. Then again, if she sees the future, she could just be mourning what's to come when she and her soon-to-be-husband are gone.
Catch Phrase: Rick has a number, such as "Here we go again" and "Goodbye, Benny".
Cat Fight: Evelyn a.k.a. Nefertiri vs. Meela a.k.a. Ankh-su-namun. Evy and Choi in the 3rd film.
Cats Are Magic: At one point in The Mummy, a normal cat is able to ward off Imhotep because "cats are the guardians of the underworld". This is exploited only the once, because Imhotep completes his regeneration soon after and becomes immune to whatever the cat would supposedly have done to him.
In the Licensed Game of the sequel, cats drain Imhotep's life bar.
Chekhov's Gun: In The Mummy Returns, Jonathan enters the movie carrying a scepter, and the scene plays out as though it's merely a random trinket he pilfered away like usual. Then Hafez draws attention to it by taking it with great respect and exclaiming "It can't be!" and it's forgotten for the rest of the movie until the end... It turns out to be the ceremonial spear needed to slay the Scorpion King.
The tattoo on Rick's wrist marking him as a Medjai from the second film. Look closely in The Mummy, and it's there.
Jonathan and Alex are established early on as learning how to read hieroglyphics. This eventually pops up after Evy dies and they need to resurrect her using the Book of the Dead... written in hieroglyphics.
Jonathan picks the key that opens seemingly every locked Egyptian artifact in existence out of Rick's pocket before the start of the first movie, then swipes it again out of Imhotep's robes during a struggle near the end.
Evelyn taught Jonathan to pronounce the symbol that is shaped like a stork near the end of The Mummy. In The Mummy Returns, Alex was stuck at the same symbol, and Jonathan proudly proclaimed "Oh! I know that one!", and told him how to pronounce it. Both of the people who knew the symbol (Evy then Jonathan) were fighting Anck-su-namun, and almost choked as they pronounce the symbol. Those trying to read the inscription (Jonathan then Alex) also made the same motion and comment whilst describing it.
"It's a bird-" [flaps elbow like a wing] A stork!"
In the first film, Rick disarms an enemy when he is pressed against a pillar with a well-placed headbutt. In the second film, when the house is under attack, Evy uses the exact same move against a Mook and comments to Alex, "That I learned from your father!" She uses it again on Anck-su-namun during their late fight.
Collapsing Lair: Every movie has one. The Mummy at least has a previously-established justification: Hamunaptra was designed to disappear beneath the sand with the flick of a switch at the pharaoh's order. Beni triggers said switch when he rests a saddlebag full of gold across it for a few moments whilst escaping.
As part of his punishment for murdering Pharaoh Seti I, Imhotep is buried alive in a sarcophagus filled with flesh-eating scarab beetles.
Beni Gabor, who has spent the movie betraying everyone, faces a slow death by dehydration and starvation after being trapped in Hamunaptra's treasure chamber. That's bad enough, especially given that the single torch he has is going out. Cue those self-same flesh-eating scarab beetles.
Some hired locals were sprayed with acid when they pry open a pass in the tomb and trigger a booby trap.
Everybody unlucky enough to be in the vicinity of the chest (that held the Book of the Dead and Anck-su-namun's canopic jars) when it is opened- they get their flesh sucked away by Imhotep.
Some of Imhotep's mooks get drowned in tar.
The priests who helped Imhotep in the prologue are mummified alive.
Anck-su-namun in the second movie abandons Imhotep, unwilling to risk her own life to save him. As she is fleeing, she stumbles and falls into a swarm of scorpions (and possibly the flesh-eating scarab beetles). The scorpions/beetles crawl all over and inside her, choking her dying screams.
Curiosity Killed the Cast: Evy reads from a book that sets off the events of the first movie, and that conveniently prevents the production company from having to pay more actors.
Cursed with Awesome: Imhotep, whose punishment for having an affair with the Pharaoh's favorite wife, killing the Pharaoh, and trying to raise the dead is to be eaten alive by scarabs. Unfortunately for the rest of the world, once the scarabs are done and he comes back he has all the powers of the Ten Plagues of Egypt.
Cute Monster Girl: Subverted by Ankh-su-namun in her mummy form. She looks exactly as you'd expect a 3000-year-old mummified corpse to look, but she was gorgeous when she was alive.
Death by Materialism: In the first film, Beni. He just got a little too greedy with the gold he was thieving from Hamunaptra- the guy already had a huge saddlebag and simply had to go back for more.
Also the prison warden, who steals a wall decoration that's actually a live scarab beetle... which burrows into his foot, up his entire body, up his face, then starts eating his brain.
Jonathan nearly ends up this way with the giant diamond on the pyramid in The Mummy Returns. Rick tries to tell him it isn't worth his life, but Jonathan responds, "Yes, it is!" Rick eventually manages to pull both Jonathan and the diamond to safety.
Death as Comedy: A scene in the second movie where Jonathan leads a guy to be killed by pygmy mummies.
Death Seeker: Winston Havlock, a WWI pilot who survived when all his buddies died in glorious combat. In fact, when the heroes recruit his assistance against Imhotep, and tell him point blank that he'll probably die as everyone else who got involved has died, he sounds downright giddy at the prospect.
Winston: [as Imhotep's sandwave is about to bring down the biplane] Here I come, laddies! [laughs]
Designated Girl Fight: Evy and Anck-su-namun in the first two films. Justified in both. In the first Anck-su-namun needs to kill Evy to become immortal (and then the guards summoned by Jonathan have no qualms about attacking her). And in the second Evy has fought her before in their past lives so she's the best qualified to take her out. Jonathan tries to fight her but backs off after one punch. In the third film Evy and Lin each fight Choi.
Diesel Punk: Like walking into a stylish 1930s pulp novel.
Dirty Coward: Anck-su-namun in the second movie: First, she stabs and kills Evelyn (she gets better, however) when her guard is down, then draws sais on an unarmed Jonathan (who ''still' manages to hold her off well enough regardless), and ultimately, when both she and Evelyn see their loved ones in mortal danger, she blindly flees while Evelyn charges forward.
Beni from the first movie counts as well. He ran away and left his so-called comrades to be killed by the Tuaregs; he locked himself in the tomb, even shutting out his "friend" Rick; and worst of all, he became Imhotep's servant in order to save his own miserable neck.
The Foreign Legion commander at the beginning of the first film counts as well. He raises his sword to give the order to charge... and then drops it and gallops away, leaving Rick to give the order to attack.
Distressed Damsel: Evy a couple of times in the first film. One of the times is actually a subversion since she goes with the villain willingly to save everyone else (though it's not explained how she ended up unconscious and chained to a slab; note that it is shown in the original uncut script). In the second film she becomes a Badass in Distress as she gets kidnapped while fighting off an army of Mooks.
Don't Touch It, You Idiot!: The British Egyptologist tells Evy "You must not read from the book!" She does anyway. In the second film, she reads for herself that whoever disturbs the chest will drink from the Nile. Evy disturbs it anyway, because "that doesn't sound too bad." Subverted in that both of these messages are delivered after she's already done what she wasn't supposed to. Though in fairness, she probably could have spotted the "drink from the Nile" thing sooner than she did.
Everybody Hates Hades: Or rather, Anubis. He was actually one of the good guys in ancient Egyptian mythology.
Evil Is Not a Toy: If only Hafez knew that. He wants to unleash Imhotep in the hope that he can stop the Scorpion King, not taking into account that no matter who wins it will be an evil undead. It works about as well as you'd expect. Well to be fair, the Scorpion King was going to destroy the world. Hafez probably figured Imhotep ruling it was better, and maybe that he might be spared.
On the other hand, the Scorpion King was only going to wake up if someone put on the bracelet. He seemed to be loyal to Imhotep regardless, but with the mummy's Bad Boss tendencies...
In the first movie, when Imhotep is accidentally released he is a rotting corpse, without eyes. Guess how he gets them... not to mention the "My eyes! My eyes!" screams. Imhotep also takes his tongue and then his very life essence the next day.
When the boat is attacked, Evy uses a candle to the eye as self-defense.
When Imhotep is first fully regenerated, he's wearing body-covering and very Bad Ass black robes. After his travel-via-dust devil, he spends the rest of the film wearing a translucent off-the-shoulder drape and what are effectively Egyptian bootyshorts. Ladies, you're welcome.
Ms. Fanservice: Anck-su-namun's first appearance is wearing nothing but gold and black body paint and a few strips of fabric. Her second appearance... not so much. By her appearance in the second film, she is right back there again in a series of slinky black outfits.
Evy was supposed to be this after the sinking of the boat in The Mummy. According to both the novelisation and the original script, the dressing gown was so sheer that she was practically wearing nothing. In the final cut, the director had another gown edited in at the last minute to retain the rating.
The sparring match, when both Anck-su-namun and Nefetiri are wearing scarcely more than the ancient Egyptian equivalent of gold bikinis.
Fake Nationality: Almost nothing but Fake Nationalities. Rachel Weisz really is English, Jet Li actually was born in China, and all the 'American cowboys' are played by Americans, but nobody who played an Egyptian character was actually Egyptian, or even Arab or African. Oded Fehr is Israeli, Arnold Vosloo is South African, Patricia Velasquez is Venezuelan, and Dwayne Johnson is an American—of Samoan and African heritage, mind you. O'Connell's actor is Canadian American, Jonathan's is Scottish, Beni (who is supposed to be Hungarian) is played by an Irish-American guy from Chicago. From the third movie we have Maria Bello (American), Michelle Yeoh (Malaysian) and Russel Wong (American). Moreover, Evy and Jonathan's mother was supposedly Egyptian, but neither actor is of Egyptian, or even middle-eastern, descent.
Rick: Right. And if someone doesn't kill him, then he's gonna wipe out the world.
Evelyn: How did you know?
Rick: I didn't, but that's always the story.
Evelyn: The last known expedition to actually reach Ahm Shere was sent by Ramses the Fourth over 3,000 years ago. He sent over a thousand men.
Rick: And none of them was ever seen again.
Evelyn: How did you know?
Rick: I didn't, but that's always the story.
After winning the battle against the army of Anubis warriors, most of the Medjai cheer. Ardeth starts running to a higher vantage point, knowing that it was way too easy despite their losses. Then he sees the entire horizon turning black as hordes of Anubis warriors come screaming their way. That was just the first phalanx.
Invoked again in the third, when leaving the museum, Rick mentions that the emperor will get stronger the longer it takes to put him down, chalking his logic up to, basically, that's how mummies work.
This is ultimately how Beni escapes from Rick shortly after being interrogated in the first film.
When Anck-su-namun casts aside her daggers during Evy's flashback from the second film, they stick in the groins of a pair of statues nearby.
Two in the same fight scene from within the second film. Evy groin-attacks a Mook, and Lock-Nah groin-attacks Ardeth. Ardeth recovers quickly. Aforementioned Mook doesn't, but that's more due to Alex knocking a bookcase onto him.
Guns Akimbo: The preferred method of combat in the O'Connell family.
Half the Man He Used to Be: A bisected soldier is briefly seen crawling after Rick in the third film's final fight. Also, the Imhotep's mummy priests in the first film.
He Cleans Up Nicely: Evy has this reaction the first time she sees Rick clean-shaven and dressed tastefully after bailing him out of prison.
Evy gets a nice little moment for herself after the passenger barge sinks, and she goes native at a Bedouin trading post, switching the Hot Librarian look for clingly black dresses and a sheer veil.
Heroic Bloodshed: The trilogy is basically a pastiche of Hong Kong Action cinema conventions attached to a 1930's Pulp-Novel, with this genre being the most obvious homage in the first two movies.
Heroic Sacrifice: In Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, Zi Yuan (who had already sacrificed her immortality to raise General Ming's army) allows the Emperor to mortally wound her with his sword in order to get back the dagger that can kill him.
Historical Villain Upgrade: The Real Life Imhotep was one of the most respected Egyptians who ever lived, the first engineer and architect, inventor of modern medicine (thousands of years before Hippocrates), a pretty unambiguously good chancellor, and deified after his death (something normally reserved only for the greatest pharaohs). He's the Big Bad of the first two movies.
Except that real Imhotep lived long before the reign of Seti I, so this would have been just some guy named after him.
Hijacked by Jesus: The Mummy Returns paints Anubis as a Satanic figure who buys souls in exchange for worldly power. The Anubis of actual Egyptian myth was one of the good guys.
Idiot Ball: As Rick lampshades, what the hell was Alex thinking when he decided to go and uncover the Emperor?! It's not like his family haven't had a long history dealing with curses and mummies... does it ever end well?!
Ironic Echo: In The Mummy, Jonathan needs Evy's help translating a hieroglyph in order to complete a spell; in The Mummy Returns, Alex needs Jonathan's help translating the same hieroglyph in a different spell. And in both cases, the second party is in mortal peril whilst helping. Even better, both of them are under mortal peril from a one on one fight with Ankh-su-namun. In fact, the dialogue is almost identical, barring Jonathan's triumphant "Oh! I know that one!"
I Warned You: Rick warned Evy not to mess with the Book of the Dead.
Evy: We released him and we are going to stop him! Rick: "We"? We didn't release him, I told you not to read the book, didn't I tell you not to read the book? Evy:(rolls eyes) Fine! Me, me, me, me, I, I, I woke him up and I intend to stop him!
In The Mummy Returns he also grabs Ardeth and shoves him into a post to yell "What the hell are you doing here?" at him. Granted, Evy had just been kidnapped, but it seems a bit harsh of a way to treat your known ally.
Let's Get Dangerous: Jonathan may be a ridiculously greedy, swindling Plucky Comic Relief, but he is also a crack shot with a rifle, a skilled pickpocket, and disturbingly competent with a book of ancient spells.
In the first film when confronted by a group of Mook mummies, Jonathan immediately grabs the revolvers out of Rick's shoulder holsters without prompting and empties them into the horde.
The counter-undead raised to fight the Dragon Emperor.
No Name Given: Ardeth Bay in the first film, to the point where it's surprising on repeat viewings to realise they never mention it once.
Noodle Incident: The movie never tells us why O'Connell is in prison when Evy first meets him. All he ever says of the incident is "He was just looking for a good time."
Nothing Personal: During the first film, both Evy and Jonathan take turns insulting the American members of rival expedition, pausing to add "no offence" to Rick each time.
Oh Crap: Plenty of instances. For example, Ardeth and the Medjai have just defeated the Army of Anubis at great cost to their forces. They cheer. But that was only the first wave. Cue the entire horizon turning black as the unfathomable hordes of Anubis warriors blanket the sands. To be fair to poor Ardeth, though, he took it rather well, all things considered.
It's not that noticeable at first, but once you know that the actor playing Jonathan is actually Scottish, you can't not hear his natural accent peeking through.
Also, Anck-su-namun seems has a small problem with this in the first half of the second movie, that is, until the real Anck-su-namun gets resurrected, when she only speaks Ancient Egyptian. The creators consulted a historian to make the Egyptian an approximate representation of what Ancient Egyptian sounded like.
Older Than They Think: Many seem to believe that the idea of a mummy actually coming to life and magically attacking people is just a modern western reaction to the exotic burial traditions of the long-gone ancient Egyptian culture. In fact, Egyptian mythology itself contains numerous tales of such occurances being witnessed by their own people. Perhaps the most famous story is that of a prince who sought a magical artefact (the Book of Thoth) known to be entombed with a long-dead prince. Upon breaking into the tomb the live prince is confronted by the ghost of the tomb owner's widow, who begs him not to take the book as it bought their own family nothing but misfortune. When the live prince doesn't heed the warning, the mummy of the dead prince rises out of his sarcophagus and casts a spell that causes the tomb's solid stone floor to swallow the live prince up like quicksand.
The Order: The Medjai, whose job appears to be guarding all the potentially world-ending crap the ancient Egyptians left lying around. We mostly only see Ardeth Bey in the first movie (other members are present but they aren't really given lines), but they get upgraded to The Cavalry in the second, so they can Hold the Line against Anubis' army.
Past Life Memories: In the second film, Evy keeps having flashes of insights and memories that make her think she's hallucinating. It turns out, they're memories of her past life in ancient Egypt as Nefetiri, Pharaoh Set I's daughter.
Please Wake Up: Rick to Evy in The Mummy Returns, after Anck-su-namun fatally stabs her. Thanks to her son being able to read hieroglyphics and the ever present Book of the Dead, she eventually gets better.
The Psycho Rangers: Though they are neither actually evil nor equal in number, the American expedition in the first part of the first film are identifiably counterparts to the main team: both groups have scholars (Evy/the Egyptologist), American adventurers (Rick/the "cowboys"), early casualties (the warden/the laborers), and heavily flawed comic relief (Jonathan/Beni).
Red Shirt: In the first movie, anyone in the expedition that isn't one of the three leads, plus Ardeth Bay. Even more so in the second, where Imhotep's mooks actually wear red!
Retcon: In the first movie, the Pharaoh is a largely unsympathetic Asshole Victim, with Ankh-su-namun implied to be driven to her actions by his obsession with her and his possessive, controlling nature. In the sequel the Pharaoh is reimagined as much more kindly and genial (to fit with him being Evy's beloved father in her past life), and Ankh-su-namun is made much pettier and more of an aspiring Alpha Bitch, with the "no one is allowed to even touch her" aspect highly downplayed.
It's possible the Imhotep of the movies was named after this man (in-universe). Both were highly-regarded priests.
The historical Imhotep was also an architect. He was the designer of the Step Pyramid at Saqqara, the tomb of the Pharaoh Djoser, and thus the inventor of the Egyptian pyramid.
Some theories contend that Imhotep was the Biblical Joseph.
Also, there were two ancient Egyptian rulers who had each claimed the title of Scorpion King. One was named Osiris Scorpion; this troper forgets who the other one was.
Also applies to the prologue of The Mummy Returns. Anubis is not an evil god, not by a long shot. The closest thing late Egyptian mythology had to an evil god would probably be Seth, the villain of the Osirian cult and formerly a benign god in his own right; before Set there was Apep, the Immortal Serpent who would battle Ra every night for all eternity, explaining the shift between day and night. Then again, Rule of Cool is in full effect, and Anubis is certainly one of the cooler gods: he essentially was a dying man's best friend, keeping carrion beasts away from your corpse, was present at the Opening of the Mouth ceremony marking a dead soul's entrance into the afterlife, and admitted the worthy into paradise. All around a pretty swell guy, and doesn't fall under Evil Is Cool by any stretch of the imagination. Oh well, everybody hates Anubis.
In the prologue to the second movie, Scorpion King offers his soul to Anubis in exchange for glorious life. The idea of selling a soul to an evil power (which Anubis isn't) is a purely folk Christian concept (it's not even Christian proper as Satan does not rule the damned). To make it more ridiculous, the offer itself had no sense as all deceased were destined to meet Anubis. You had to cross the desert after death first, to reach Anubis and have your soul deemed worthy. Not all made it through the trip, since there was dangers to be met on the way.
Imhotep is scared by cats in the movie due to the claim that cats are the guardians of the doors of the the Egyptian underworld. While there are a few cat deities in Egyptian mythology (one of them (Sekhmet) is actually pretty terrifying), they were associated with other aspects, to be specific, war, disease, hunting, fertility, and motherly love, it would have made much more sense to have him be afraid of snakes, since most of the deities assigned with duties like punishing the damned in the afterlife were horrific snakes, such as Khetti, or the servants of Seker, who's job was essentially to punish people like Imhotep. Plus, then Imhotep would have had an excuse to say "Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?" as a Shout-Out.
The Ten Plagues of Egypt were caused by the Hebrew God in order to liberate the Hebrew people, so it's pretty bizarre that an Egyptian curse would recreate or utilize said plagues.
Say Your Prayers: Beni's prayers are played humorously, as he prays to several gods in several different languages before praying in Hebrew actually winds up saving him, because its a language Imhotep understands.
Schmuck Bait: In The Mummy Returns, Meela Nais tricks a trio of mercenaries into entering Imhotep's train compartment. Imhotep scares them For the Evulz, and when they beg to be let out Meela tells them to open the chest that's in the compartment… as in the cursed chest that will let Imhotep steal their body parts.
The Mummy Returns is a case of Sequel Goes Domestic, taking place partly in England in contrast to the first film's entirely Egyptian setting.
Sequel Hook: The third movie ends with John resolving to move to Peru. As he drives off, Mummies were later discovered in Peru appears on the screen.
Though considering the timing and that no further movies have been made, this may just have been reinforcing Jonathan's status as the Butt Monkey.
Sequel Escalation: The first film was mostly an adventure film in the spirit of Indiana Jones but works on the same level as a comedy. The sequels were still tongue-in-cheek but had more chase scenes and action scenes with entire supernatural armies being raised.
Rick's portable arsenal gradually increases with each film: in the first one, it's just a foldable leather wrap with a shotgun, three pistols, some dynamite, and knives, almost all of which is easily carried and used by him. In the second film, his car trunk adds a submachine gun, another pistol, and another shotgun to that. Finally, the third film has him and Alex each set up an entire foldout trunk filled with guns; the Internet Movie Firearms Database counted 16 guns, 6 hand grenades, a knife, a kukri, and a sword between the two.
Shadow Archetype: In the first film, Jonathan serves as one for Beni. He's just as lecherous, capable with languages and greedy, but unlike Beni, after teaming up with Rick he immediately apologises for having picked his pocket and clarifies that he makes a point never to betray a business partner.
It does seem to effectively stop or destroy the lesser mummies. Perhaps in a reference to the old Superman serials, when one of the Americans empties his gun into a mummy fruitlessly, he follows up by throwing his gun at it. Unlike Superman, though, the mummy doesn't duck and just lets the gun bounce off.
Shoot The Shaggy Dog Story: In-universe example, Imhotep's life. In The Mummy Returns, Imhotep sees what True Love is really like. He'd sacrificed everything, his position, his mortality, and his soul for Anck-su-namun, and she abandoned him when the chips were down. Then he got to watch Evy race to Rick's side in his moment of need. To top it off, while he was begging Anck-su-namun to save him, his enemy was begging his beloved to save herself — and she refused, insisting on trying to help him. With this came the realization that his sacrifice and suffering had been pointless and empty, and he let go of the ledge with a bitter smile at the couple who had what he had wanted so badly.
When they first meet and Rick is in prison, Jonathan claims to Rick that he's a man preaching Christianity in Egypt and introduces Evy as his sister (although she actually is). Given Stephen Sommers' reported love of old adventure movies, this is almost certainly a reference to The African Queen.
The first film features a location called "Fort Brydon" where Rick and Evy are staying. This is a shoutout to the character of Colonel Brydon played by Sam Neill, who appeared in Sommers' earlier movie The Jungle Book.
Dialogue between Ardeth and Rick in the second film references The Man Who Would be King, where a similar exchange is used by Freemasons to identify each other. Here, Ardeth identifies Rick as a fellow Medjai in spirit.
And in the third film, the Dragon Emperor turns into a three-headed gold dragon that looks just like Ghidorah.
The "following the shadow of the rock at sunrise to find the secret location of the treasure" scene, the "escaping the collapsing lair" scene and the heroes riding off with a saddlebag full of treasure that one of the villains filled for them scene are lifted straight out of Mackennas Gold.
Soft Water: In the second movie. When they "drink the Nile" they aren't crushed into the wall behind them, and the airship is later pushed by the wall of water rather than harmed.
Spanner in the Works: The people who sealed the Emperor away in the third film put his mummy in a statue, the idea being that anyone who tries to raise him would instead raise a eunuch, which was in the coffin as decoy. This plan almost works... till the mummy raising water is accidently splashed on the emperor's statue.
Spinning out of Here: In both The Mummy and The Mummy Returns, Imhotep starts spinning and then turns into a whirlwind to travel.
Stripperiffic: The "Ancient Egyptian bikinis" Anck-su-namun and Nefertiri wear in their fight scene flashback deserve a mention, since those outfits are highly impractical for an incredibly violent fight complete with acrobatics.
Taken for Granite: Proably the most horrific origin story of the Terracotta Warriors ever conceived. Explains why every face is unique...
Imhotep somehow became trapped in a block of amber after his defeat in the first movie.
Rick: Yeah, and "no harm ever came from reading a book". Remember how that one went?
Also done in the ending of Tomb of the Dragon Emperor. Jonathan states that he's moving to Peru after selling his bar to a Russian pilot, and states that at least that place doesn't have mummies. A narrative quote then appears stating that after his arrival, mummies were discovered in Peru.
This little gem:
Rick: You're gonna get yours Beni! YOU'RE GONNA GET YOURS!
Beni: Oh like I never heard that before!
Then later on:
Evy: You know nasty little fellows like you always get their comeuppance.
The Dragon Emperor throwing his sword at Rick. Although being able to make it fly around on a whim it probably helped.
Tome of Eldritch Lore: The Book of The Dead and the Book of the Living. The Book of the Living gives power over the living and can take life, the Book of the Dead gives power over the dead and can give it.
Too Dumb to Live: Alex in the second film. Given who his parents are, all of the ancient traps and cursed objects they've encountered and that the Temple they found the Bracelet in immediately self-destructed upon its removal... what made him think that putting the damn thing on his arm was at all was safe?!
Translation Convention: Imhotep starts a conversation in ancient Egyptian with Alex in the second film. By the time they're finished, they're speaking in English.
Observation On Originality: The third film merrily hits every action/adventure movie trope right on the mark. Nothing in the movie is a surprise, but it's not a bad film for it.
The Medjai. When Evy, scandalized, asks if they're willing to kill innocents to stop Imhotep (who is fully capable of ending the world), they snap out an emphatic "Yes!" This is downplayed in the second installment, to go with the Lighter and Softer treatment everyone connected to the heroes gets.
We Will Meet Again: In the first installment, Imhotep corners the heroes, and is taking Evy away to be sacrificed. Before the Big Bad can leave, Rick O'Connell looks right into the Big Bad's eyes and says, "I'll be seeing you again" with all the menace and hatred and promise the man can muster. Imhotep, who doesn't understand a word (the man's an ancient Egyptian who doesn't speak English) gets the message anyway, but he's so assured of his near invincibility that he only reacts with mild amusement. Turns out, underestimating O'Connell was a huge mistake.
Especially funny with an Entertainment Weekly cover focused on The Rock, with Brendan Fraser Out of Focus on the side and looking downright pissed about it.
Would Hit a Girl: Jonathan in the second movie, who sucker punches Anck-su-namun at one point. He seemed just as shocked at what he did as she was, however.
Probably more because they were surprised that he actually landed a hit, since they both knew he was completely outmatched.
Writers Cannot Do Math: Alex could not possibly be eight years old in 1933, because his parents didn't meet until 1926. Someone who was eight in 1933 would be born in 1925. And there's no indication he's an adopted child or a child one of them already had; it seems more like they ignored the Three Years Later card in the first movie and went with the whole thing happening in 1923. Possibly it is the year that was miscalculated. One of the Hafez's henchmen says that he heard about "one American who resurrected Imhotep nine years ago".
Imhotep to Rick in The Mummy Returns, when the two meet just after Imhotep's re-awakening.
In The Mummy, Evelyn exclaims this to Ardeth when he turns up in the Cairo Museum.
You Said You Would Let Them Go: Without the stock phrase exchange, but in the first movie, Imhotep promises to spare the rest of the party if Evy comes with him so that he can perform the ritual. Naturally, once she's in hand, he orders his followers to kill the rest of them. Of course, the rest of the group had made it extremely clear they planned to follow and try to stop the ritual, so not attacking them would have been fairly silly.
Another one occurs in the second movie, though technically, she actually didn't say it...
Jonathan: I told you what you wanted to know.
Anck-su-namun: Your point being...?
Jonathan: My point being I told you so you wouldn't kill me.