BileLand presents:  THE MUMMY RIDE, Universal CA

In honor of Halloween, and because I can no longer see any horror movie without wanting to shoot myself in the face, I am giving you, the 4 or 5 people who may remotely care, the special treat of a review of a horror… theme park ride.

“Run Like An Egyptian”– The Mummy Returns at Universal, LA

{SPOILERS in brackets]

Just like his movies, Stephen Sommer’s The Mummy Returns ride is full of rapid dollying back and forth. And just like his movies, they are completely unmotivated.

No longer content to simply ripping off Spielberg on film, now Stephen Sommers has focused his attentions on ripping on Spielberg’s Indiana Jones ride at Disney.

Using similar “4D” effects (which we all know is ride code lingo for “water”) and borrowed art direction from his pals an hour away in Anaheim, Stephen Sommers has taken his vision of Egyptian horror action and transposed in to a full-fledged rollercoaster, replete with dippy computer generation, pointless dialogue and badly timed effects. At least he’s consistent.

And look, I realize the futility of reviewing a ride (sure, no one looks to the Jungle Cruise for it’s cohesive story line) but as they always refer to movies like Sommer’s as being “roller coaster rides”, you’d think they’d make an actual, good roller coaster ride.

But no.

It does nothing new with the indoor technology that Aerosmith hasn’t already conquered (at at no point does the Mummy sing). Nor does it even add anything fun to the Mummy series. It’s really just a rehash of Indiana Jones but faster and with only one, painful, sudden stop (fuck not letting pregnant women on– try being a 35 year old fat guy).

To be fair, it’s not completely boring (and mercifully shorter than any of his films) but I didn’t feel the need to ride it a 3rd time (I did front car and back and discerned no visceral difference) which is a tell-tale sign that it didn’t really impressive me (for comparison, I’d even ride Jaws three times).

{SLIGHT SPOILER until next bracket, but do you really care?)

What’s bizarre is, it could’ve been better if they just worked on the timings of things. For example, bugs falling into your car (a la Indian Jones) are timed too late so that you are already getting shpritzed with compressed air and water (yeah.. must be.. one of those, um, wet desert bugs) before you even see the video projection. Hard to believe you can actually say “it’s not as good as Joe Dante’s Haunted Lighthouse”.

And they re-use the same effect. I’d swear they drop the same water on you right off the bat when mummies pop out from the sides (again, a la Indiana Jones) but why would dried mummies in a tomb be wet? Wouldn’t that effect work on slimy, swamp monsters? It’s like Sommers knows he needs to drop water but not how or when. I guess he just got excited and shot it off too soon.


In the end, at, like, a 5 minute wait, the Mummy Returns is a fine enough ride I guess (Jesus, you should see Stephen Sommer’s “Van Helsing Castle”. The 8 ft haunted shack at Lake Compounce is better)) but it’s definitely not worth trekking out for– nor for being the tentpole attraction.

But hey,I gotta say, Universal still wins– their own Spiderman in Orlando still reigns supreme as the 4D ride to beat . And I’m hoping someone makes something soon to rival it. I am hopeful for Everest, so long I don’t find out Michael Bay directed it.

And like I said, at least Sommers is consistent. If nothing else, I now know if they ever make a “Mummy 2” ride, it’ll be even worse.

You can provide feedback by commenting below!

Level 9 Sorcerer. Former Bard.

2 Responses

  1. junky says:

    Totally agree with your review, though like Eric and Chris – I get chills just seeing Vosloo in anamatronic form.

    You should know the Orlando ride is a little better-concieved, much bigger and overall better.  Apparently though this ride was supposed to be much grander in both concept and execution and had it’s budget pulled out from under it.  I must say the “teaser” moment in the Orlando version is much better than in Los Angeles.  In fact, I don’t think the LA version has this moment at all.  The L.A. version suffers from the fact that they had to pack the whole ride into the building that used to belong to the E.T. ride, the “Peter Pan’s Flight” of the Universal parks.  It saddens me that this ride is gone.

  2. Eros Welker says:

    I actually dug the Orlando one… it’s the best ride in the whole Universal Studios Orlando side of the park.  Back to the Future’s feeling a little dated, though I like it, and everything else is lame or for kids (Men in Black, Earthquake, Twister, etc.).  Now Islands of Adventure, that park riz-ocks.

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