Ranting and Analysis About the Ending of The Mummy Returns
By Katie Sullivan
**This goes without saying, but I'll say it
This page contains major spoilers for TMR!!!**
I have mixed feelings about Anck-su-Namun leaving Imhotep to die. As a writer, I love the irony, the parallels between "good" and "evil", how the two women reacted, karma, and all that. But as a fangirl who adores these two characters, it breaks my heart! The love between Anck-su-Namun and Imhotep has lasted for millenia, beyond the boundaries of death and life, against all odds, etc, and it should last forever.
Anyway, personal biases aside, I think it was out-of-character for Anck-su-Namun to run like that. In the first movie she embraced death, trusting that the strength of their love would bring them together again. She took the rap for Pharaoh's death alone so that Imhotep could escape. She literally moved heaven and earth to bring him back in the second movie, and then...what? She leaves him? It doesn't follow, to me. I think it all boils down to the writers not being willing to let the bad guys have noble characteristics. If Evy and Anck-su-Namun both reacted the same admirable way, that would imply they're moral equals, and we can't have that, now can we? (/end sarcasm) *sigh*
Some may argue that once powerless Imhotep was of no further use to Meela/Anck-su-Namun, that she was just using him to get power with Anubis' army. Why, then, did she beg him not to confront the Scorpion King after he lost his powers? If she only cared about power, she wouldn't have cared if he got killed. She holds onto him, kissing him, pleading with him to forget the Scorpion King, tearfully saying, "I don't want to lose you again!" This is consistent with her character. Making a 180-degree turn and abandoning him just a short time later seems unrealistic.
How would I have ended it?
Well, of course my first choice would be for them to escape and live happily ever after someplace, but that's not realistic as far as the moviemakers are concerned. These two are supposed to be the villains, after all. Anyway, that's what fanfics are for. ;-)
A more workable scenario would be for Anck-su-Namun to attempt to save Imhotep but not succeed, and they both get killed. At least they could die together with their love intact, and Rick and Evy, et al, would be out of danger, etc.
But neither of those endings happened. So why did she
In my fanfics I just explain it that she panicked and didn't know what she was doing, and simply died before she could get her wits about her and go back for him. *shrug* It's really the only explanation I can think of.
Another pet theory, one that I played around with in my earliest attempt at a mummy fic, is that maybe Meela's persona took over the body, (remember, she barely knew Imhotep,) leaving Anck-su-Namun's personality helplessly sublimated.
An interesting parallel pops up when one considers the 1932 film "The Mummy." In it, the reincarnated lover of the title character (also called Imhotep) is asked to allow herself to be killed, for only then can she truly revive as her ancient Egyptian self. She refuses, saying, "No...I'm alive. I'm young. I won't die. I loved you once, but now you belong with the dead. I am Anck-es-en-Amon, but I...I'm somebody else, too. I want to live, even in this strange new world." Perhaps the part ofMeela that still remained was thinking along these lines.
Was Anck-su-Namun simply afraid to die? Max Allan Collins, the author of the novelizations for both The Mummy and The Mummy Returns, makes a good point. He says Evy went to save Rick because she "wasn't afraid to die--she'd done it before." Then, Anck-su-Namun, "who had also died more than once," did not follow the example (TMR novelization, page 279). This is another inconsistency, I believe. Anck-su-Namun had indeed died before, and had personally participated in bringing someone back from the dead. She also had died and been reincarnated, so even if she wasn't raised with the Book of the Dead she still would have hope for a future incarnation. Moreover, the first time she died was by her own hand! I don't believe simple fear of death would deter her from saving Imhotep.
It probably all boils down to the moviemakers making the "good guys" look noble and admirable and the "bad guys" look fickle and disloyal. Still, the drastic turn in Anck-su-Namun's attitude is not easily explained within the framework of the plot.