Screenwriter and director Stephen Sommers of the 1999 remake of The Mummy is back for its 2001 sequel, along with the film's principal actors, notably Brendan Fraser. But Jerry Goldsmith, who scored The Mummy, has been replaced for The Mummy Returns by Alan Silvestri. Silvestri takes advantage of the film's period setting as well as its harking back to an earlier era of filmmaking to compose a score reminiscent of many movies in a similar genre. This is one action-adventure score that was not performed on synthesizers by the composer. Rather, Silvestri employs the Sinfonia of London Orchestra and Chorus, which is well-suited to his purposes. From the sound of the score, there can be few quiet moments in the movie, which like its predecessor combines old-time B-movie theatrics with state-of-the-art special effects. Silvestri keeps up with those effects by writing highly dramatic music full of sudden climaxes, martial beats, and big themes. When he has a little breathing space here and there, he evokes Middle Eastern motifs that recall Lawrence of Arabia, and his final theme music has a sweeping melodic feel very much in that vein. But most of the time, he is accompanying eye-popping visuals, and his music is suitably oversized, with the wordless chorus often doubling the tension-filled strings. Silvestri certainly isn't reinventing the wheel here, but rather using tried-and-true movie music methods to support the plot points in what is clearly a large-scale horror-adventure tale. The album concludes with an anachronistic pop/rock song by Live that also uses some exotic motifs.
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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann
|The Mummy Returns, film score|