The Mummy (1999)

Mummified in development hell for 6 years, until Stephen Sommers came along

Over 3,000 years ago the high priest Imhotep (Arnold Vosloo) was given the all-important assignment of preparing the recently dead for their journey into the afterlife. However, Imhotep made one terrible mistake - he became smitten with Anck-Su-Namun, the mistress of the Pharaoh himself. Driven mad by jealousy and love, Imhotep murdered the Pharaoh, and his punishment was to be buried alive and suffer the torment of an eternal life in his wretched tomb. In 1925, a band of adventurers seeking fame and fortune - led by Rick O'Connel (Brendan Fraser), an American expatriate who has joined the foreign legion, and Evelyn Carnarvon (Rachel Weisz), an amateur archeologist - find a previously unknown burial site in Egypt. The team starts to dig, hoping to find lost riches, but instead they disturb the tomb of Imhotep, and soon the cursed priest rises from his grave to wreck vengeance on humanity.

Brendan Fraser plays the lead, Rick O'Connell. He may initially seem like a fedora-less, Indy rip-off, but to me, he could not have been further from that. In fact, I felt he was more of a precursor to Malcolm Reynolds off Firefly, both sharing the ruggedly handsome renegade archetype and giving off quips to lighten the mood. Brendan Fraser pulls off the role well, not taking the character too seriously, making him stand out from everyone else.

Rachel Weisz plays Evelyn Carnahan, an Egyptologist who's screentime shared with Fraser is used to build up their obvious romance and her dialogue is mostly compromised of the Egyptian equivilant of technobabble. John Hannah is a far cry from his ruthless performance of Batiatus in Spartacus: Blood and Sand, playing the film's comic relief. I liked how, despite his character being there solely for the laughs, he managed to not be useless, but I did feel Omid Djalili provided more humorous moments than Hannah. As the villain, Arnold Vosloo was pretty bland and didn't really manage to stand out.

"No, we won't join weight watchers!"

The effects were good, but therewere times when it managed to be iffy, especially whenever Imhotep extended his mouth, which was too many times. The film relies a bit too much on comedy, which is a shame as the comedy is much more miss than hit. The plot was pretty thin, leading way to obvious plot holes. The action was alright, the acting was good and the film was rarely boring.

The Mummy is powered through it's thin plot, often iffy effects, unengaging dialogue and failed comedy with good performances for great characters, excluding Imhotep, good action and an overwhelming sense of fun that makes this film never a chore to watch.


Anonymous said…
This was such a fun action movie and I actually liked all the comedy.
Tom_Film_Master said…
Fraser just seems like a dumb actor who seems to have the same character wherever he goes. "The Mummy" I watched many years ago but my mind is blank. Great review as always James!
Jeff SC said…
I've watched this movie tons of times, and it's always entertaining. Too bad the sequels are so, well, bad. Anyway, good review, it kinda makes me want to watch it again :D