Film: The Mummy Trilogy

Oh, I hate mummies!

The Mummy Trilogy is a trilogy of movies that features mummies.

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.

The films in this franchise are, in order:

During the long wait for a third, we got the Spin-Off/Prequel The Scorpion King. It had The Rock fight Egyptians and sorcerers and stuff like that. It had pretty much nothing to do with the original two films, but had the same approach to humour and the action scenes in particular were considered awesome, if only for the fact that this is what happens to anything involving Dwayne Johnson. The Scorpion King itself got a direct-to-DVD pre-prequel, The Scorpion King 2: Rise of a Warrior, and two sequels, The Scorpion King 3: Battle For Redemption and The Scorpion King 4: Quest For Power. The existence of a fourth movie means that Universal made a sequel to a sequel to a prequel (to the original Scorpion King) of the prologue of a sequel (The Mummy Returns) of a remake (The Mummy). 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, with new characters, a new story and a contemporary setting.


These films contain examples of:

  • Adrenaline Makeover:
  • 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.
  • Adventurer Outfit
  • 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 the British, it is more a case of real-life Melting-Pot Nomenclature.
  • Ancient Egypt: The source of the plots for two out of three of the films.
  • The Animated Series: Came after the second movie.
  • Anti-Villain: All Imhotep 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.
  • 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.
  • Back from the Dead: There's quite a list.
    • Imhotep twice. In fact, Rick lampshades this in Dragon Emperor:
    Rick: I've put down more mummies than you have!
    Alex: Dad, you've only put down one mummy!
    Rick: Yeah, same mummy: twice! [emphatic two-fingered hand gestures]
    • Ankh-su-namun, as Meela.
    • The Scorpion King.
    • The Dragon Emperor. Let's just say it's a prerequisite for the villains in these things, huh?
    • Evy, after she is killed by Meela (Ankh-su-namun's reincarnation) in the second film.
      • Evy actually counts twice, since she's also the reincarnation of Nefertiri.
  • Bad Ass: Ardeth and Rick.
  • Badass Bookworm: Evelyn has this in spades.
  • Bald of Evil: Imhotep.
  • The Baroness: Choi. The ressurrected Anck-su-namun in the second film too.
  • 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.
  • Big Bad: Imhotep in the first and second movie.
    • Emperor Han in the third movie.
  • Big Fancy House: Rick and Evy own one, as seen in the sequel.
  • Bigger Bad: Mathayus a.k.a. The Scorpion King, but the prequels kind of averts this.
  • Big "OMG!": O'Connel's reaction to the sandwall.
  • 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.
  • Blind Without 'Em: Mr Burns.
  • Body Horror: Imhotep.
  • Bookshelf Dominoes: Evy's introduction scene from the first movie.
    • 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!"
  • Britain Is Only London
  • Brilliant but Lazy: Jonathan. He's smart enough to be able to both read Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics and speak the language, but spends most of his time drinking, gambling and chasing women.
    • Given that we see him speak several languages, the same could be said about Beni.
  • Buffy Speak: The Spear of Osiris is referred to by the characters as the "Golden Stick Thing".
  • Bug Buzz: The sounds the scarabs make are seriously scary, especially when closing in on somebody.
  • 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!"
  • Card-Carrying Villain
    • The Dragon Emperor.
  • 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.
  • Cool Pet: Ardeth's falcon.
  • 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.
  • Crossover Cosmology
  • Curse Cut Short: When the museum curator is going to burn Evy.
    Evy: You bas-
  • Deadpan Snarker: Rick, Evy, and Jonathan all have their moments.
  • 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.
  • Disaster Dominoes: By Evy in the first, then Alex in the second - proving it runs In the Blood.
  • Disposable Pilot: This happens in the first movie, to the old ennui-ridden war pilot. Averted in the second.
  • Elite Mooks/ Superpowered Mooks: The four palace guards.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Ardeth Bay
    • 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.
  • Fanservice: The likely reason for Arnold Voosloo spending the last half hour of the first part a Walking Shirtless Scene.
  • Fate Worse Than Death: Being mummified and buried alive along with a bunch of flesh-eating scarabs that proceed to eat you from the inside out? And then cursed so that your soul will never rest? Seems to fit the bill.
  • Finger Wag: Imhotep does this to Alex O'Connell in The Mummy Returns.
  • Flash Back: See also Ancient Egypt.
  • Genius Ditz: Jonathan is a foolish, greedy, cowardly con-artist who functions mainly as comic relief, but he is also apparently literate in ancient Egyptian.
  • Genre Throwback/Reconstruction : Of the classic 1930s Universal horror movies (especially The Mummy) and old Lost World adventure flicks.
  • Godiva Hair: Anck-su-namun in Ancient Egypt. Since she's wearing a wig (all Egyptians cropped their hair and wore wigs) the effect was likely intentional.
  • Guns Akimbo: The preferred method of combat in the O'Connell family.
  • Happily Married: Rick and Evy as of the second movie.
  • 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.

  • 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.
  • Hero Stole My Bike: More like "hero's brother-in-law stole my double-decker bus."
  • 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 Should Write a Book About This
  • Jungle Opera
  • Lead The Target

  • 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.

  • Mama Bear: Fuck with Alex at your own risk. Evelyn will not be happy. Not in the slightest.
    • I will not list the things she will do to you... it would be bigger than the entirety of the trope page!
  • More Dakka: Ardeth prefers the Thompson.
  • Morality Pet: Jonathan's a greedy bastard, but he does seem to care about his little sister.
  • Mummy: Well duh.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping:
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • Proper Lady: Evelyn. Made into a Spirited Young Lady in the sequels.
  • 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.
  • Sycophantic Servant
    • Beni, in the first movie.
    • Imhotep, after a fashion, in the second.
  • Rule of Scary: Sure, scarabs don't really dig under people's skin and eat them from the inside out... but it's just so scary.
  • Sadly Mythtaken: Imhotep was an actual historical figure.
    • 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.
  • Sequel Goes Foreign:
    • Tomb of the Dragon Emperor is set in China.
    • 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 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.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The scores to the first two films reference the Lawrence of Arabia theme heavily.
    • 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.
    • When Rick blows up the fallen log that the pygmy mummies are using to cross a ravine, one of them is seen riding half of the log down.
    • 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.
  • Sidekick: Jonathan. Similarly, Izzy in the second film, who is a cowardly sidekick who is black (and not, mercifully, a Black Cowardly Sidekick).
  • Spinning out of Here: In both The Mummy and The Mummy Returns, Imhotep starts spinning and then turns into a whirlwind to travel.
  • Spin-Off: The Scorpion King.
  • The Swarm: Scarabs, locusts, flies...
  • Tentative Light
  • The Undead: The mummies.
  • This Way to Certain Death
  • Throw Away Guns
  • Two-Fisted Tales