The Mummy Returns VFX Supervisor Reveals Why The Scorpion King’s CGI Was So Bad

When it comes to lists of the worst CGI ever, The Mummy Returns frequently tops the table for its hideous recreation of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as the Scorpion King. While there have been plenty of movies to rival the most laughable digital creation to have been put on screen, which it should be remembered appeared in the same year Peter Jackson unleashed Lord of The Rings on the world, The Mummy Returns is a tough act to beat and that is something even the movie’s own VFX supervisor has acknowledged.

In a recent conversation with Corridor Crew on their VFX Artists React to Bad & Great CGI series, John Berton Jr. admitted that there were many mis-steps when it came to creating a digital version of the Scorpion King. He said:


“It was a dark day in my life, when I went on the internet Google said ‘Hey check this out, here’s an interesting thing you might be interested in: the worst visual FX shot in the history of ever. And I’m like ‘But wait, that’s the Scorpion King, should I watch that video?’. But I watched it and I felt bad…

The biggest thing about the Scorpion King in this movie is that we didn’t have the reference that we needed. This isn’t really an excuse, but it’s an explanation of the way things work in movies sometimes. We asked for that of course, we needed a day with Dwayne Johnson to photograph his face and eye detail and all the stuff you would do. Because he was busy with his incredible WWE career that was not possible. We had him for like 3 days maybe in Morocco to shoot his scenes…

I think if you had all that stuff, the animation would work better because it’s meant to be a little cartoony here and I think that informed our decisions about whether or not the shots were done and ready for the movie was that there was an expectation at the time of this needing to reach a certain level. The thing is with this sequence is there are a bunch of shots that are not looking great, but there are a bunch of shots that are looking great…

When you have something like this, you always have to get past the butthurtedness of it and think about what you learned, and I knew we needed reference but we couldn’t get it.”

The Mummy Returns Managed To Get Away With Its Terrible CGI Moment

Universal Pictures

The Mummy Returns was the sequel to Brendan Fraser’s hit The Mummy, and while the film received generally positive reviews and grossed over $435 worldwide, the film’s finale became the stuff of legend for all the wrong reasons. Even though the movie became Dwayne Johnson’s first big step to creating the money-machine that he is now, it is probably not one of the moments that he would put in his sizzle reel.

However, the film spawned another sequel and a spin-off centering on Johnson’s character, and all in all the franchise is still looked back on fondly by many. While the appearance of the Scorpion King in the film is never going to be any better to look at, at least the new comments give a reason as to why it was so bad.