Episode One-Derland (Cartoons) The Mummy: Secrets of the Medjai

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Plot: Set one year after the events of The Mummy Returns, Rick O’Connell, his wife Evie and their son Alex continue to explore ancient locations looking for rare artifacts. Evie is promoted to head archeologist at the British Museum over her bitter colleague, Colin, and she heads to Egypt on an expedition already in progress. Her brother, Jonathan, stumbles upon the manacle of Osiris and Alex accidentally gets it stuck on his wrist.

Meanwhile, Imhotep is arisen from the grave yet again by Colin, who has stolen the book of the dead from the museum. Imhotep is set on stealing the manacle and ancient scrolls that explain how they work, so he takes Colin in as his servant.

Imhotep faces off against Rick and Evie yet again and he kidnaps Alex to obtain the manacle. While Rick, Evie and Ardeth Bay, AKA fantastic timing incarnate, manage to save Alex, Imhotep is transformed into a half-corpse half-alive state and leaves to travel the world in search of the scrolls, which have gone missing in the several thousand years since they were last seen. Knowing he plans to come after Alex yet again and determined to stop Imhotep from ruling the world, Rick, Evie, Alex, Jonathan and Ardeth Bay travel the world in search of the scrolls as well while Alex learns to control the mysterious powers of the manacle.

Breakdown: Now here’s a series I definitely remember seeing ads for when I was a kid, mostly after watching Yugioh or Pokemon, but I simply had no interest in watching it. I wouldn’t watch The Mummy or its sequels until I was quite a bit older, and while I am a bit of the fan of the movies, I can’t say this is a good animated continuation. And that really is what this is; not an adaptation, an animated continuation.

I was seriously confused on which this was as I was watching the first episode because, dammit, this really does seem like a watered down version of the plot of The Mummy Returns, but nope. It’s set one year after TMR. Which means Alex is stupid enough to stick his hand in a strange ancient Egyptian bracelet twice after nearly dying the last time he did it merely a year prior. That’s like sticking your hands on a hot stove and once you finally get skin grafts and get the bandages off you decide to play patty-cake with a lit barbecue.

And, yeah, this whole thing really just is a watered-down version of the Mummy series made into a typical adventure show. The characters more or less lose their original charms, and hell, I never liked Alex much in the live action movies to begin with, and here he gets basically the role of main character. The writing is milk-toast boring with some of the most cliché and overused lines and plot points. No one really seems like themselves here, and if they didn’t have the characters names I really wouldn’t make the connection to The Mummy series much if at all.

Imhotep has hair now for some reason, even though Egyptian priests and his original live-action character don’t have hair. Also, due to the subject matter involved in their romance, Imhotep’s motivations have now skewed entirely from his love affair with Anck-su-namun to simply the most cliché motivation anyone could ever write; taking over the world.

Evie’s a redhead, Alex is a redhead and Rick is blond for some reason. Ardeth Bay seems whited out and I’m pretty sure they removed many of his tattoos. Jonathan is also now a redhead but he seems to basically be the same character he was; comic relief pratfaller who always wants to run away yet is very greedy and constantly gets into trouble.

I looked a few minutes ahead into the next episode, and hoo boy I’d be pissed if I was watching this in real time. Basically, they skipped….about a half a season’s worth of material and shoved a bunch of clips of various adventures into a clipshow where the narrator explains what’s been going on since the last episode. Alex and his family have been traveling all over the world having all sorts of really cool adventures, battling and interacting with a bunch of cool supernatural beings and Alex has been slowly learning how to use the manacle of Osiris to help him out. He finds a piece of one of the scrolls, which enables him to use more of the manacle’s powers, but he still has a long way to go. Meanwhile, Imhotep has also been traveling the world looking for the scrolls.

Boy, sure would’ve been nice to have SEEN any of that, but no no, you skip ahead through like 10 episodes of adventures and give us the CliffNotes version. We’ll be fine. It’s not like we’re watching for the story or anything. We’re obviously watching for the completely original characters and mind-blowing animation.

Did I say “Segue”? Yes, the art and animation for this series reek of ‘budget issues’ or ‘laziness’. The art itself is very simple and boring, which is a damn shame for a franchise that is supposed to include a bunch of beautiful artifacts and locales. The animation has a bunch of errors and is awkward at best. There are several moments where characters look like cardboard cutouts sliding against a scene and talking scenes where the mouth movements don’t just not match the words well, but they also have a nasty habit of jumping or even freezing at the end to make it seem very disjointed and odd. I have a feeling that this isn’t even the worst of their problems in this department if I continue on.

Audio-wise, they didn’t get a damn person who sounds in the least bit like the original characters. Jim Cummings voices Imhotep, and while I love Jim Cummings, his voice sounds nothing like Arnold Vosloo’s and he’s definitely using a slightly deeper version of his Cat from Catdog voice. It’s fine for this version of the character but it’s really distracting to me.

Jonathan’s voiced by, of all people, Tom Kenny, and Rick is voiced by John Schneider whom I actually think is actively trying not to sound like Brendan Fraser.

The music’s style is fitting, but it’s horribly forgettable.

Final Verdict?

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It’s a lazy rewrite of the second movie’s plot at the very best. Anything charming or fun about the movies doesn’t seem like it’s included here, and anything interesting left over from the movies that could be replicated seems more or less replaced by more kid-friendly or cliché plot points. Maybe I’m being biased because I really do like the movies…..well, not The Scorpion King…..or the third one……not really a big fan of the second one—The point is, I might very well be biased…..but even trying my best to stay objective, this is, at most, a mediocre adventure series so far. The writing, both plot-wise and dialogue, is just so….blah. It’s boring.

They have a universe and character development set in stone already with two movies to base everything from, and they basically waste all of it. Then again, the movies really aren’t very geared towards the audience that this seems to be going for so I have to wonder why they even bothered. I guess they’re both banking on the audience to have seen enough of the movies to understand a bunch of stuff off the bat while also banking on them not seeing enough to know how much of a disappointment and rip off this first episode is. And need I remind everyone of the gigantic, almost insulting, time skip they apparently have in the next episode?

By the way, they lose the book of the dead so they can’t use it anymore. Now Imhotep is….half-immortal? I dunno. He’s like a purple zombie-ish thing. *sigh*

Recommended Audience: Outside of mentions of death, nothing. The violence is very minor, coming off of a movie series where we see a man get eaten alive by scarabs, and there’s obviously no swearing, sex, nudity etc. I don’t even think they have guns in this series. 6+

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2 thoughts on “Episode One-Derland (Cartoons) The Mummy: Secrets of the Medjai

  1. That sounds like an incredibly disappointing viewing experience. While I didn’t much like the sequel to the Mummy as a movie it was certainly a good effort at capturing the charm from the first and it did at least add in some information about the characters that helped appreciate some of the events from the first movie better. I don’t think it deserves this kind of lazy adaptation.
    Thanks for sharing you thoughts on it.

    • I really believe you could make an incredible animated series from The Mummy, even if I don’t care much for Alex. It does lend itself to a vast and incredibly interesting world of fantasy and ancient Egyptian history and lore. I was actually hoping this one was a forgotten gem, but it just turned out to be another dud.

      Thanks for you comment. 🙂

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