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Section Header
The Mummy Returns
Composed, Conducted, and Co-Produced by:
Alan Silvestri

Co-Produced by:
David Bifano

Orchestrated by:
Mark McKenzie
David Slonaker
William Ross

Performed by:
The Sinfonia of London Orchestra and Chorus

Decca Records

Release Date:
May 1st, 2001

Also See:
The Mummy
The Scorpion King
Cast Away
The Mexican

Audio Clips:
6. Evy Kidnapped (0:30):
WMA (197K)  MP3 (242K)
Real Audio (150K)

12. Medjai Commanders (0:33):
WMA (213K)  MP3 (263K)
Real Audio (164K)

14. Sandcastles (0:30):
WMA (193K)  MP3 (238K)
Real Audio (147K)

17. Come Back Evy (0:27):
WMA (177K)  MP3 (218K)
Real Audio (136K)

Regular U.S. release.


The Mummy Returns
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Sales Rank: 61820

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Buy it... if you seek one of the few adventure scores that can compete with John Debney's Cutthroat Island in terms of adventuresome spirit and noisy bombast.

Avoid it... if you demand thematic continuity in the scores of this franchise, almost none of which exists in its three entries.

The Mummy Returns: (Alan Silvestri) When 1999's The Mummy surprised Universal and grossed $400 million worldwide, the studio decided to make a franchise out of the concept, assembling almost the entire cast and crew from the first film for 2001's summer blockbuster The Mummy Returns. The only problem with that idea was in the dryness of well from which inspiration was taken for its script. There simply existed nothing new for The Mummy Returns to add to an already spent equation, and the insertion of a small role for wrestler The Rock as the Scorpion King was an obvious move to establish a connection for the third film in the trilogy (which indeed did come down the pipes not long after). The production values of The Mummy Returns are undeniably improved over those in the first film, but a sense of deja vu in the plot cripples the entire film. One person who thought that the franchise was trash from the outset was legendary composer Jerry Goldsmith, whose grandiose score for the 1999 film is revered by his collectors as a guilty pleasure at the least. Goldsmith's public dismay with the fact that his career had diminished to extent that it included films like The Mummy obviously removed him from consideration when it came time to score the sequel. The choice of Alan Silvestri to replace Goldsmith was greeted with curiosity and some optimism; with his previous two scores representing minimalism (Cast Away) and parody (The Mexican) with decent results, some were skeptical that Silvestri could pour on the orchestral might necessary for this non-stop action thriller. But with Silvestri came an equally experienced adventure scorer, a man who had impressed audiences through the years with this highly functional and occasionally memorable action material. Along with the sequel film's attempt to be a cinematic marvel with its improved special effects, the script has very few moments of extended peace built in. The challenge for Silvestri was to produce almost two hours of unyielding action music (heavy on brass and chorus) without allowing the music to become a cliche of generic action/adventure scores. The composer ultimately succeeds in keeping the pace of the score moving without allowing it to become too repetitious or missing opportunities for valuable harmonious statements of grandeur.

Goldsmith's score for the original film was highlighted by a handful of momentous bursts of thematic material, though the vast majority of music from The Mummy blended together in the kind of anonymous fashion that Goldsmith had tended to embrace in the last years of his career. Because of Silvestri's basic approach of scoring each battle or chase with a rhythmically and thematically melodramatic technique, Silvestri's music is ultimately more enjoyable to that of Goldsmith in terms of quality ruckus. Silvestri avoids the use of the orchestra as a mere sound effect, developing each cue into a substantially harmonious piece of music and causing The Mummy Returns to be a more listenable score divorced from the visuals. When heard in the context of the film, Silvestri's work does tend to be mixed so heavily that it becomes wallpaper at times, and some listeners may find the same to be true on album. As with the original, this score is rooted in Egyptian stereotypical chord progressions and instrumentation. In other words, Silvestri doesn't attempt to re-invent the wheel. Although he uses a considerable amount of percussion for his music, it is easily the brass section which dominates The Mummy Returns. If an adventure film calls for a score of enormous presence in the film (if not for the mere fact that it has to compete with the sound effects), there is no better method of success than hiring a large brass ensemble to blast the score into relevance. For the action scenes aplenty, Silvestri sets up a primary base of almost constant, rhythmic percussion (mainly in the form of a variety of medium-range drums) and then layers the trombones, trumpets, and French horns into lengthy performances of the thematic ideas on top. If you're allergic to cymbal rolls and crashes, then watch out, because there are obviously countless synchronization points that Silvestri wanted accentuate with them. The brass performances are so blatantly heroic that they may remind some listeners of the classic John Williams scores of the 1980's, with brief, pulsating blasts from one brass group weaving in and out of triumphantly extended whole notes on other brass. This could be the single brassiest score in the early 2000's, and if you're a fan of explosive horn sequences, this is your dream come true.

On top of the constant level of noise, the full ensemble also performs a variety of new themes that Silvestri has created for the sequel. The Goldsmith themes are not explicitly performed at any time, but if you listen closely to the subtle counterpoint in busy action sequences, such as a few bars of music two to three minutes into "Scorpion Shoes," you can hear Goldsmith-influenced thematic statements that may point to some connections between the scores. Such similarities could be purely coincidental. Silvestri adds three new primary themes to the sequel score, each of them developed to satisfaction. First is the new theme for Rick O'Connell and his heroic deeds, brazenly blasting a trail in "Evy Kidnapped" and "My First Bus Ride." This brass theme, usually aided by wild flute or piccolo figures in their highest ranges, eventually dominates the late portions of the score with its swashbuckling optimism. It's related to the old "B-rated" sci-fi adventure themes of the early 80's and is about as basic in structure as one can get. Still, as a general-purpose adventure theme it gets the job done and will remind of the same spirit that made Silvestri's Back to the Future theme so adorable. The second theme is the heavy-duty, Egyptian-flavored representation for the love affair between the villains, with strings and woodwinds building to exotic statements that mirror some of the tones heard early in David Arnold's Stargate. The third theme is a melodramatic romance idea for Rick and Evy that is introduced in "Just an Oasis" and, despite a few flourishes on strings later in the score, is somewhat short changed by the presence of the other themes. There are a few incidental subthemes along the journey, including one for viola that grows into a wondrous and magical variant on the idea for the villains and accompanies curses and other fantasy elements of the film. The chorus builds upon this mystique, though its chants never occupy very lengthy sequences of the score. All of the ideas that Silvestri conjures are packed into the frenetic and lengthy "The Mummy Returns," which serves as a strong suite of themes from the score. The sound quality of the Sinfonia of London Orchestra and Chorus, as recorded at the resounding CTS Colosseum in England, is crisp and dynamic, with enough reverb added back into the mix to maintain both the scope and dynamic tone of the genre.

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The album offers a phenomenal presentation of the score, with almost seventy minutes of unadulterated Silvestri action providing for an exhilarating and enjoyable hour of noisy fun. There does exist an additional forty minutes of material missing from the album, including a few notable fanfares, but the score tends to be redundant in this material. For action enthusiasts, the score for The Mummy Returns hits all the right crescendos and pauses just long enough from the ruckus to allow you to come up for air. There are percussive, hand-to-hand battle cues that will clang. There are male and female choirs chanting along with marching armies of fighters. There are spontaneously swelling moments of strings for vistas and emotional interludes. And, most importantly, there are thematic statements on brass unlike many others. The most impressive aspect of Silvestri's score is that he manages to weave it all together into such an effective whole, balancing each element with equal bombast. Where Goldsmith's original score often degenerated into uninteresting lengths of noise, Silvestri's effort never becomes boring, and it thus functions very well on album. The song at the end of the product, performed for the first time by the group "Live," is a horrendous example of nonsensical hard rock encroaching further into the realm of the orchestral domain. Other than the mandatory benefits of marketing, of course (something that could apply to this entire production), there's really no reason for this hideously intolerable addendum, or any other from its genre, to exist in this film. Nevertheless, this was the only album on which you could obtain the song until it was released by the group on its own album a few months later. It is perhaps fitting that John Debney would score The Scorpion King the following year; if The Mummy Returns were to be compared to any existing score at the time, then Debney's Cutthroat Island would have been that reference point. Silvestri's work here reaches the same scope of harmonic bombast and often touches upon a similar swashbuckling style in Rick's theme. This is clear evidence that Silvestri could have produced a capable, if not outstanding score for the first Pirates of the Caribbean film in 2003 had he not been thrown overboard. Do yourself a favor by listening to The Mummy Returns instead and imagining the possibilities. **** Price Hunt: CD or Download

Bias Check:For Alan Silvestri reviews at Filmtracks, the average editorial rating is 3.36 (in 33 reviews)
and the average viewer rating is 3.24 (in 31,658 votes). The maximum rating is 5 stars.

 Viewer Ratings and Comments:  

Regular Average: 3.98 Stars
Smart Average: 3.72 Stars*
***** 2898 
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    * Smart Average only includes
         40% of 5-star and 1-star votes
              to counterbalance fringe voting.
   Re: Rick's Theme
  ZPIANOGuy -- 1/6/14 (11:51 a.m.)
   Re: Rick's Theme
  Berlioz -- 12/30/10 (8:54 p.m.)
   Re: Track listing of the complete score boo...
  Edmund Meinerts -- 12/12/09 (7:49 a.m.)
   Re: Track listing of the complete score boo...
  .:sMs:. -- 6/13/07 (5:20 p.m.)
   Re: Track listing of the complete score boo...
  Thom -- 2/7/07 (11:37 a.m.)
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 Track Listings: Total Time: 73:34

• 1. The Legend of the Scorpion King (4:55)
• 2. Scorpion Shoes (4:24)
• 3. Imhotep Unearthed (4:22)
• 4. Just an Oasis (1:25)
• 5. Bracelet Awakens (1:28)
• 6. Evy Kidnapped (5:55)
• 7. Rick's Tattoo (1:59)
• 8. Imhotep Reborn (2:42)
• 9. My First Bus Ride (7:45)
• 10. The Mushy Part (2:42)
• 11. A Gift and a Curse (5:32)
• 12. Medjai Commanders (2:03)
• 13. Evy Remembers (4:03)
• 14. Sandcastles (3:22)
• 15. We're in Trouble (2:18)
• 16. Pygmy Attack (3:31)
• 17. Come Back Evy (3:29)
• 18. The Mummy Returns (7:44)
• 19. Forever May Not Be Long Enough - performed by Live (3:47)

 Notes and Quotes:  

The insert includes extensive credits and pictures, but no extra information about the score or film. It is arranged in a folding poster layout that is difficult to condense once opened.

  All artwork and sound clips from The Mummy Returns are Copyright © 2001, Decca Records. The reviews and other textual content contained on the site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of Filmtracks Publications. Audio clips can be heard using RealPlayer but cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 5/1/01 and last updated 1/18/09. Review Version 5.1 (PHP). Copyright © 2001-2015, Christian Clemmensen (Filmtracks Publications). All rights reserved.