The Mummy (1999)
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It's hardly a remake of the Universal classic of the same name. It's merely a new way to tell the story with the same basic idea - a murderous mummy is brought back from the dead. This time we have a hero and heroine who must stop him before he takes over the world, or something along the line of world domination.
The hero is Rick (Brendan Fraser), a thief thriving off the very basics out in Egypt circa 1930. Arrested and to be hanged, he is saved by the heroine (Rachel Weisz), who believes he may hold the key to helping them find an ancient Egyptian kingdom buried under the sand, if I recall correctly (though it has been a while since I've seen this). Little does she know what lurks beneath the sand near that old kingdom is none other than the remains of a man who was caught cheating on the king's wife years ago and mummified.
Now, after unearthing the remains of the kingdom, the expedition led by our heroes come upon an ancient "Book of the Dead," which, when read from, brings the ancient mummy back to life. Now he is out to kill, regenerate and bring back his old lover - pretty neat, huh?
I own "Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy," a great movie spoofing the classic film. "The Mummy" isn't exactly a spoof but it's very tongue-in-cheek. It knows it isn't an Oscar-winner, it knows it stands nothing against the older film, and so it goes for pulp thrills. I actually believe that this film is a bit classy in execution - compared to many other entertainments floating around nowadays it stands as one of the only films to return to the roots of the pure adventure films like "Raiders of the Lost Ark" (1981) so successfully did.
Brendan Fraser is a perfect choice for the lead star. Calm, but with ironic and sarcastic humor; cool, but a strong lead. I wondered what it would have been like if they had casted an actor in his role who would have taken it all more seriously. I bet the results would have been disastrous. Fraser knows that this is all good fun, and he's having a good time playing his role with comedy. Every once and a while you can catch a wink at the screen that lets us know that he knows what he's doing.
2001 brought a sequel to "The Mummy" named, of all things, "The Mummy Returns." I found it just as fun as this film though some critics begged to differ. Summer 2002 brought yet another "Mummy" film, this one a prequel called "The Scorpion King" - it was a following of a co-star of the first sequel. The Mummy was not in it at all. It was a horrible film that wasn't near as fun as this one. So I recommend you see "The Mummy" as soon as humanly possible. After that, see "The Mummy Returns."
Either way, you simply can't go wrong.
Once revived Imhotep has only one purpose in this world, to bring his love 'Anck Su Namun' back from the dead to join him, and will kill anyone who gets in his way.
Although based on a Horror Theme, there is little horror on show here, but there are plenty of Great Action Moments, some brilliant visuals and some good humour.
The dialogue is well written and punchy, this combined with some great characters bring the story to life and it turns out to be a terrific Film that is more Action/Comedy than Horror.
Especially tantalizing is the strictly painted-on attire of Patricia Velazquez as Anck-Su-Namum; what a stunning visual; but it completely upstages her performance. I have heard people talking about it. Some have mistakenly guessed her top was a mesh costume of some sort; not true, it is entirely - and only - paint.
But Velazquez isn't the only thing to turn heads in the film, Rachel Weisz is appropriately attractive, though not as startling; her character is as solid and believable as she is lovely.
The newcomer, Oded Fehr as Ardeth Bey, set quite a few female hearts aflutter; in our party, at least. The internet was lit-up searching for more photos of this guy.
At first, I didn't particularly care for Brendan Fraser as the primary character (he's too well kept and cutesy for a rugged guy-type for me), be he grows on you. He seems to be developing into a versatile actor who will be around for a long time. His work here is good too.
The special effects were the real star of the film, and they were visually rewarding and complimented the story in the right way in the right places. How Arnold Vosloo dealt with those in his role as the mummy Imhotep should be acknowledged. He must have had to imagine quite a bit of what he was interacting with to pull it off, and he does so with great style and substance for this type of role. He was nothing short of excellent.
In fact, most of the remaining characters were well chosen. Jonathan Hyde and Kevin J. O'Connor added to the film in important ways, too. Together, everyone painted an enjoyable film, delivering exactly what it promised; fun, action, and adventure.
In 1926, Cairo librarian and aspiring Egyptologist Evelyn is presented with an intricate box and map by her bumbling brother Jonathan, who says he found it. After the pair discover the map leads to Hamunaptra, Jonathan reveals he actually stole it from an American named Rick O'Connell, who is currently in prison. Rick tells them that he knows the location of the city because his unit reached the fabled city, only to be overrun by hostile Bedouins. He makes a deal with Evelyn to reveal the location of Hamunaptra, in exchange for Evelyn saving Rick from being hanged. Rick leads Evelyn and Jonathan's small expedition to the city, where they discover a mummy who Evelyn accidentally wakes up and he's after a band of American treasure hunters who have taken his treasures and wants Evelyn to bring back his true love that he died for.
I really liked the actors they put in this film. I know Brendan Fraiser isn't the best actor, but he really made me believe in him as an adventure hero almost to the likes of Indiana Jones. He's funny, smart, strong, charming and handsome, everything you could want. Rachel Weisz as Evelyn was beautiful, stubborn and smart, she was exactly what all these boys needed and had great chemistry with Fraiser. The humor is a lot, they use a lot of jokes which at times could take away from the film. The CGI is also a lot, but it added to the story and wasn't to the point of unbelievable. I thought the idea of having a faster mummy was more terrifying and that he wouldn't stop coming after his victims in such a horrific way was a great idea. I really did like The Mummy, I know it certainly has it's flaws, but it's just a fun adventure horror movie that really hooks you from beginning to end. The sequels just didn't add up well to this movie, I would recommend The Mummy any day. The haters honestly just don't know how to have any fun, any flawed film could still be a good time and The Mummy certainly is one one them.
Brendan Fraser looks good, has a fabulous voice, and a whole boatload of goofy charm. Hey! Call me shallow, but that's pretty much all I'm looking for in a screen idol. John Hannah was acceptable, if not inspired, as the wastrel brother. Rachel Weisz is gorgeous, and acquits herself well in the role of "Heroine in an Adventure Film;" i.e., she screams and gets rescued a lot.
OK, I lie. The modern "Heroine in an Adventure Film" is SPUNKY, screams, and gets rescued a lot.
And as to Oded Fehr, who plays the mysterious desert guardian of the mummy's tomb (a role traditionally assayed by Welsh character actors) -- I and the rest of the ladies in my party indicated, through a series of incoherent grunts and some unattractive drooling, a strong desire to see much, much more of him. And we mean that both literally and figuratively. Powers that be, please take note.
A couple of small caveats: the bug quotient in this film is much higher than I usually tolerate. It puts you right off your Milk Duds. And where in the hell did those camels come from?
So if you're in a mood for brainless entertainment, I recommend that you set your intellect on stun, rush to the nearest cineplex, buy the large popcorn (WITH butter), and settle in for a couple of hours of colorful, loud, over-the-top fun.
Does anyone realize that there is different movie genres? If you go to see "The Mummy" and expect to see "The Departed", "The Godfather", or "Shawshank Redemption" then yes, of course you will be disappointed. This is not a drama, it's an action/adventure movie!
Everyone has commented on the fun of this movie, that is what this movie is all about! Personally, I think the story is very good, and interesting. There is a lot to like here: it has elements of action, adventure, comedy, fantasy, mythology, horror, and tells a pretty well made tale (seriously, how many movies manage to pull all of these things off? And pull them off well!). And, it manages to do all of this in style, with amazing special effects and action sequences. No, it's not perfect (what movie is?) but this movie kills most movies in the same genre! I have never seen a movie that can contain so many different elements while still being coherent. This movie is a technical marvel is many aspects!
Rachel Weisz is great and looks beautiful as well playing as Evelyn. Yes, she is something like a "typical damsel in distress", but she brings humor, intelligence, and a strong will to the part. It's hard to integrate so many qualities into a believable character, but she does it well.
Brendan Fraser as Rick O'Connell: After seeing him in so many goofy movies, playing an equally goofy character, I thought he was always going to be cast in lame movies such as "Encino Man" and "Monkeybones". He was the reason why I had doubts I would like the movie because I could not picture him being more than a one-dimensional actor (able to pull goofy-charismatic off only). Not only does he act the part with stride, but he nails every aspect of his character: He is cool, yet has humor and he really surprised me with how much depth he can add to a role that really doesn't need it! Rick O'Connell wields his dual guns with flair, and I will never doubt Fraser again! I just hope they keep him utilized more and more like this. I was really impressed with him most because he surpassed all expectations!
Everyone else did their parts extremely well, they always stay in character, and add to the elements of the story.
This movie has a lot to offer, and lots of different ways to get your interest, especially if the Ancient Egyptian mythology fascinates you. This movie does have elements of horror: it will most likely scare younger kids more than adults, but putting yourself in the characters places you would be quite afraid.
Imhotep is very scary, mostly because of all the different abilities he possesses, as well as forms he can take.
I could not recommend this movie enough, especially if you have a HDTV and have the High Definition version, you will be blown away! Just don't expect a character driven drama, you're not looking for that with this either!
In fact, if you read a number of reviews, you see the word "fun" more than anything. That best describes this film.
This was an Indiana Jones-Jason And The Argonauts combination adventure story. It's cartoon-like in nature with an absurd swashbuckling hero, outlandish action scenes and the occult theology that filmmakers love so much. (The Mummy has God-like powers, even producing Old Testament plagues.)
However, the film isn't all good news. It's too long by about 10-15 minutes and there is simply too much action and too much noise. The film needs more lulls.
Brendan Fraser is pretty good as the Indiana Jones figure and Rachel Weisz, a new face at the time, makes a solid impression in her debut. The DVD offered a sharp picture which highlighted a number of jaw-dropping scenes. It's pure escapist fun and not meant to be anything else.