The Mummy (1999)

mummy1_1999_poster
The Mummy (1999)
  • Time: 125 min
  • Genre: Action | Adventure | Fantasy
  • Director: Stephen Sommers
  • Cast: Brendan Fraser, Rachel Weisz, John Hannah

Storyline:

An English librarian called Evelyn Carnahan becomes interested in starting an archaeological dig at the ancient city of Hamunaptra. She gains the help of Rick O’Connell, after saving him from his death. What Evelyn, her brother Jonathan and Rick are unaware of is that another group of explorers are interested in the same dig. Unfortunately for everyone, this group ends up unleashing a curse which been laid on the dead High Priest Imhotep. Now ‘The Mummy’ is awake and it’s going to take a lot more than guns to send him back to where he came from.

2 reviews

  • Director Stephen Sommers’ version of the horror classic, The Mummy (1932), has been one of Universal’s most successful franchises. It’s also because of this that got Stephen Sommers famous. It also made a slew of other celebrities famous as well. And although it does not play like an Indiana Jones film, it pays homage to archaeologists and the magic within old architecture. Not mention this film made two more sequels.

    Starring in this film is Brendan Fraser, Rachel Weisz, John Hannah, and Arnold Vosloo as the mummy called Imhotep. This is the first film that I witnessed Arnold Vosloo and then later on I realized he also played in two other sequels of Sam Raimi’s Darkman (1990) series, which I thought he played really well. Brendan Fraser is not one of my top favorite actors but I do like the way he works in these kinds of films. I enjoyed his performance in Looney Tunes: Back In Action (2003), but I liked him even more in this film. The character of Fraser, Rick O’Connell has serious personality but in a goofy fashion. The rest of the characters in this film act the same way. Rachel Weisz’s character, Evelyn can be klutzy at times and so is her nitwit brother Jonathan played by John Hannah.

    The goofiness is what’s good about this movie. The actors know their characters are silly and that makes it funny to watch. The stupidest person of all in this film is Jonathan. Truly, he does not know what he’s doing and in the end, he’s never satisfied; shows you how grateful he is to be alive (after all he’s been through). What also works great is the dialog. So much of it is serious but in such an indirect way that it doesn’t come off as serious. I guess this was the idea of Sommers’ mummy film. He wanted the audience to enjoy it with some decent action and funny one liners,…and it worked.

    The Mummy has a mix of multiple genres because how the screenplay is set up. Arnold Vosloo can play a pretty scary mummy; little kids will be terrified by him. The whole undead idea is the horror aspect. As for the silliness, that’s the comedy aspect. The action is great in this film too. Most of it using firearms but it does involve an interesting flight sequence and the finale is really fun to watch. Seeing O’Connell fight off a slew of undead Egyptian guards. Bring it on! Or as O’Connell said sarcastically, “This just keeps getting better and better”. Because 1999 was the time where special effects were really starting to get high- tech, this movie has some really nice visuals. Also the music is great which Jerry Goldsmith composed. I enjoyed this film very much and it really has a good reputation although less than half of critics liked it.

    Besides having a villain with the same name, this mummy movie is nothing like the original classic from 1932. What makes it different is Stephen Sommers’ direction of abandoning the slow droning tone and mostly replacing it with comedy, action and some shades of horror.

    Points Earned –> 10:10

  • You’ve seen it, you know what I’m talking about. The shot. An airplane flying over the desert. Chased by a wall of sand. In its center, a face whose mouth prepares to swallow its flying victim. Yes, the summer movie season officially begins with the sun and sand saga The Mummy.

    Summer movies often need to come with disclaimers: the actual film is hardly ever what its advertisements make it out to be. Commercials feature the money shot — the bait that will put audiences in theaters. So you’re hooked and you pay your money only to find yourself wading through boisterous, empty tripe. Oh, and there’s the money shot you plunked your money for and it’s the only shot worth paying for. Of course, you’ve been seeing it for free every day on television. Thankfully, The Mummy proves to be an exception to this unwritten rule. Not only does it deliver the money shot, it is also a solid, rousing and satisfying film. This, ladies and gentlemen, is what a summer movie ought to be.

    The film begins in the ancient city of Thebes when pharaohs ruled the land. Imhotep (Arnold Vosloo), the high priest and keeper of the dead, commits a most grievous sin: he falls in love with the pharaoh’s mistress. They conspire to kill the pharaoh but when they do, the pharaoh’s bodyguards break down the door. Imhotep’s love bids him to flee for he has the power to resurrect her then kills herself before the bodyguards can capture her. Imhotep and his priests steal her body away to Hamunaptra to perform the resurrection ritual. Before the ritual is completed, however, Imhotep and his priests are captured by the bodyguards. The priests are sentenced to be mummified alive while Imhotep is given the worst punishment of all: not only is he mummified alive but a blanket of flesh-eating creatures is thrown on him and his sarcophagus is sealed, supposedly for all eternity. If he is freed and resurrected, he will bring with him a plague to end all mankind. Yummy.

    Fast forward to Hamunaptra three thousand years later. The Egyptians and the French war over the land. Hamunaptra is believed to contain a cavern of treasure hidden underground. Many men have believed in the myth and died in their quest to find the buried treasure. One such man is French Foreign Legionnaire Rick O’Connell (Brendan Fraser), whose men fight a losing battle. O’Connell himself is captured and saved from hanging, three years later, when a librarian named Evelyn (Rachel Weisz) rescues him. In exchange, he will guide Evelyn and her endearing and buffoonish brother Jonathan (John Hannah) to Hamunaptra and the treasure.

    O’Connell and the siblings are not alone in their hunt. A group of Americans are also headed their way. After an attack on their boat, the treasure seekers make their way to Hamunaptra. Of course, someone makes the mistake of unleashing Imhotep, who becomes more and more powerful with each victim. Fully regenerated, he will have the strength of ages, power over the sands and the glory of invincibility. In Evelyn, Imhotep finds the perfect human sacrifice to finally resurrect his love. “If I’m turned into a mummy,” she warns O’Connell, “you’re the first one I’m coming after.”

    Weisz is a delight as is Hannah, who provides ample comic relief. If Fraser does not become a superstar with this film, then something is wrong with the planets. He is marvelous and finally has a role that truly showcases him. Fraser has always been a bit of a throwback. Comparisons to Cary Grant are not wholly exaggerated — Fraser possesses the same blithe spirit and a mischievous innocence. As Rick O’Connell, he evokes the great Douglas Fairbanks, who combined cosmopolitan charm and roguish derring-do with such winning elan. Fraser glides through the film with nary a worry. One of the funniest scenes has O’Connell letting out a shout of shock upon seeing the mummy for the first time. Imhotep, still a pulpy and ravaged skeleton, lets out a huge roar. O’Connell roars back.

    Director Stephen Sommers keeps the film at a steady, nearly breathless pace. He manages to deftly juggle multiple situations as well as sustain the comedy, thrills and romance. The special effects are well-executed. Nifty shots abound. The flesheaters never fail to elicit gasps of recoiled disgust. My favorite shot had a flesheater crawling from one decayed hole in Imhotep’s cheek to another only to be crunched down upon.

    A damsel in distress. A dashing hero. A villain to be vanquished. The desert. Flesh eating insects. Thrills. Chills. Laughs. Romance. Everything you could ask for. Simply put, go see The Mummy.

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