How does the opening sequence of 'The Mummy Returns' create meaning and atmosphere for the audience?

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How does the opening sequence of your chosen film create meaning and atmosphere for the audience?

I have chosen The Mummy Returns.


The narrator directly addresses the audience. It is used at the beginning to set the scene and describes what has happened up to the present day, so the audience understand what’s happening.

Parallel sound is used throughout.

Sound bridges happen throughout the sequence. For example, when the battles are taking place, and the scene cuts between different shots. This gives continuity to the film.

The soundtrack uses many features to involve the audience, and create an atmosphere. For example, in the battle scene at the beginning, the drums and the chanting help to build an atmosphere of excitement, and the importance of the battle and the scorpion king. As the scene moves into the temple, the soundtrack uses eerie noises, and high pitched notes to unsettle the audience adding to a tense atmosphere.

The soundtrack is also used to show relationships between characters. When Evelyn and Rick are alone in the temple the music becomes slow and romantic.

Diegetic sound is used throughout the sequence to help get the scene. It is used in a lot of different places from swords clashing in battle scenes, to snakes hissing in the tomb, to water rushing through the tunnels.


The film starts in the desert. The light used is a very high key top light. This represents the sun in the desert. It portrays a feeling of intense heat to the audience. It also creates different shadows on different parts of the scene, helping to give a sense of time.

Inside the temple, lots of different effects are used to create different moods. At the beginning a backlight is used on its own to create a clear silhouette of Rick, adding to the suspense. The lighting underground is low key because there is no natural light. It also creates deep distinct shadows adding to the feeling of fear and a scary atmosphere. Under lighting is used on the scorpions to give them long, deformed shadows making them seem bigger, unsettling the audience.
Lit torches are used as the main source of light. His gives flickering shadows adding to a tense atmosphere.

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Under lighting is used on the faces of the three men. It gives shadows on their faces and makes them look sinister, therefore making the audience presume they are the ‘bad guys’. The opposite effect is used on Alex, using high key lighting, so the audience presume the opposite.

Other effects such as spotlights are also used when the bracelet is in the frame, to show its importance. Darkness is used near the end of the scene to represent claustrophobic conditions when the water starts to come in.


The scene begins with a master shot of the entire ...

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