Movie Reviews

Adding A Son For Rick & Evie Was The Mummy's Biggest Mistake

While The Mummy series made a few missteps, adding a son for Brendan Fraser’s Rick and Rachel Weisz’s Evie was the biggest. The Mummy is a blockbuster uniquely of its time, from its (then) cutting-edge CGI to its blend of action and comedy. The film was a remake of the Universal horror classic of the same name, with the new version pumping up the concept with Indiana Jones-inspired thrills. The 1999 film was a major success, spawning two sequels and a spin-off series with The Scorpion King films. The Mummy still brings with it a warm tinge of nostalgia, but the follow-ups aren’t nearly so well-regarded.

The Mummy Returns copied the basic formula of the original, adding more action but being dragged down by poor visual effects, including Dwayne Johnson’s awful CGI Scorpion King transformation. It also added Alex O’Connell, the son of Rick and Evie who accompanies them when they raid tombs and who later gets kidnapped by the titular villain. Alex was written as an audience surrogate for younger viewers, but he’s portrayed as a precocious brat. The Mummy: Tomb Of The Dragon Emperor featured a time jump that aged him up to his early 20s, but this did little to enhance his likability, as he came across as arrogant and cocky instead. Adding Alex was the biggest misstep of The Mummy series for this reason, with the character dragging down the enjoyment factor for both follow-ups.

Related: Why Rachel Weisz Didn’t Return for The Mummy 3

Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull gave Harrison Ford’s Indy a son in the form of Mutt (Shia LaBeouf). The character and LaBeouf’s performance have since been lambasted, and while some of these critiques are heavy-handed, Mutt certainly isn’t a beloved character. That said, he manages to be useful during the story. He and Indy are a team throughout, helping and occasionally rescuing one another, and even his “useless” skills like fencing pay off.

Alex, on the other hand, is basically a plot function in The Mummy Returns. The sequel’s attempts to use him for comic relief fail miserably, while it’s difficult to get invested in Rick and Evie’s rescue efforts. While his young performer took much of the flak for Alex’s reception, the casting and direction are really at fault. Tomb Of The Dragon Emperor attempted course correction, casting Luke Ford as an older, suaver Alex. This resulted in a pointless time jump to the 1940s, which was all the more galling by the fact Fraser barely aged between Mummy entries. This didn’t make Alex any more compelling, coming across equal parts smarmy and bratty. Like the previous outing, it’s his actions that largely kick the villain’s plot in motion too.

Again, Alex was far from the only issue with The Mummy follow-ups. They never managed the same balance of humor and action that made the first film so fun, while the CG really started to overwhelm them. Even the third movie’s introduction of a new villain and locale did little to refresh a stale formula. If Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz are ever persuaded to return for a new Mummy adventure, instead of shoehorning Alex back into the story, the film should find a way to write him out. Maybe he’s off on an adventure elsewhere, but since introducing Alex to The Mummy movie series was a miscalculation, refocusing on Rick and Evie likely wouldn’t draw many complaints.

Next: How Brendan Fraser Almost Died In The Mummy (For Real)

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