The mother of all Mummys

LIZ BRAUN

, Last Updated: 1:45 PM ET

The Egyptians used a straw to suck out people's brains. Barbaric! Good thing we all have special effects to do that job today.

No-brainers for this week include The Mummy Returns, a must-see proposition for the eight-to-18 set. This is a huge, blockbusterish helping of Hollywood entertainment, a whiplash-inducing visual assault composed of magic images and human derring-do. The Mummy Returns is all about the big bucket of popcorn and the jaw-dropping adventure on the big screen.

Seemingly filmed in gusto-rama, The Mummy Returns kicks off with a bang -- armies clashing in the desert -- and never flags thereafter.

The first few minutes alone include an in-your-face explosion of swords and shields, hordes of hideous, dog-headed warriors and a desert oasis that pushes magically out of the sand in seconds. Wow! What's happening! Er, well, that's a bit complicated, but a pact with an underworld god is about to create a bad guy -- the Scorpion King! (The Rock) -- of terrifying strength.

Meanwhile, the hero and heroine from the first Mummy turn up married and with a young son (Freddie Boath). Brendan Fraser returns as Rick O'Connell and Rachel Weisz is his Egyptologist wife Evelyn and they are still pursuing artifacts from the past. Fraser gets to be swashbuckling and humorous; Weisz gets to be swashbuckling this time out, too, and she does a wonderful job of it. Also gobbling up the screen as cast stand-outs are Oded Fehr as Ardeth Bay, mysterious good guy, and Adewale Kinnuoye-Agbaje as Lock-Nah, elegant and fierce bad guy.

Meanwhile, the body of Imhotep, the evil mummy from the first movie, is resurrected and busy sucking the life out of others. Imhotep intends to find immortality and fight the Scorpion King and unleash armies of unspeakable evil, etc. No worries. It's just, "The old wipe-out-the-world-ploy," as one character wisely observes. The Mummy Returns is a fairy tale based on good versus evil as always, and you needn't spend too much time worrying about that.

You'll be too busy looking at soul stealing, floods, fire, man-eating scarabs, flying mummy bad guys, fantastic fist fights, swordplay, explosions, sinking sand, endless reincarnations, lavish sets, a cast of thousands and references to every wildly exciting moment on the big screen from Journey To The Centre Of The Earth and The Ten Commandments through to Raiders Of The Lost Ark and most Mummy undertakings.

And it has jokes.

Please be advised that The Mummy Returns has some scenes that are verry scarrry, boys and girls, to really little kids. (More on: The Mummy Returns).

(This film is rated PG)


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