Saturday, February 13, 2021

The Mummy

Movie Name:
The Mummy
Year of Release: 1999
Director: Stephen Sommers
Starring: Brendan Fraser, Rachel Weisz, John Hannah, Kevin J. O'Connor, Arnold Vosloo, Jonathan Hyde, Oded Fehr, Erick Avari, Stephen Dunham, Corey Johnson, Tuc Watkins, Omid Djalili, Aharon Ipale, Bernard Fox, Patricia Velasquez
Genre: Adventure, Comedy
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 5
Watch it on Amazon

Synopsis and Review:
Stephen Sommers who started his career in the 80s, and who solidified his path in the 90s, had his first big audience hit with "The Mummy", which made its premiere in May of 1999. The film follows the story of Evelyn Carnahan and her prone to trouble brother, John Carnahan. Evelyn is a librarian and an aspiring Egyptologist, whereas John is always looking for the fastest route to richness. He comes to be in possession of a box with a map that details the path to Hamunaptra, the city of the dead. They manage to secure the hired help of Rick O'Connell, who actually discovered the city while in service with the French Foreign Legion. As they make their way to the lost city, they encounter a similar party of American explorers intent on discovering the city and its treasures. They eventually reach the locale and start their excavations, uncovering the Book of the Dead. Unknowing of its power, Evelyn reads it, releasing Imhotep, the high priest of Pharaoh Seti, who suffered a dark fate following his affair with one of the Pharaoh's mistresses and murdering the Pharaoh himself. This supernatural entity starts wreaking havoc, with only Rick, Evelyn and John to put a stop to its sinister plans.
"The Mummy" is an updated version of the Universal film with the same name which came out in 1932. Stephen Sommers, following his work for Disney with "The Jungle Book" and the action/horror "Deep Rising", which was released in 1998, combined some heavy influences from Steven Spielberg's "Raiders of the Lost Ark" with dashes of romantic comedies, to come out up this updated version of the classic. One of the most praise worthy aspects of this film, is the fact that it never takes itself seriously at all. It knows it's just silly fun, and the actors embark on that journey, taking it all in stride, while never veering off into open parody or camp. Stephen Sommers tries to capture the energy of Errol Flynn's films (such as Michael Curtiz's "The Adventures of Robin Hood"), with Brendan Fraser taking the center stage as the iconic, dashing and always quick witted Rick, who leads the journey and the acrobatics, much like Flynn in his most iconic films. The array of characters is of course barely developed, but the film essentially manages to be a B-movie with a hefty budget, which brings the special effects, and the title Mummy to life. The visual effects though at the time quite impressive, have aged quite a bit, and don't necessarily add dimension to the villainous presence of the mummy. The film could have actually conjured more scares with less digital wizardry, but in the end is harmless and forgettable fun. The lead cast has a series of solid actors, with Brendan Fraser leading the group, with great support from the excellent Rachel Weisz, John Hannah and Kevin J. O'Connor. The cinematography from the late Adrian Biddle is fantastic, as is the score from the iconic Jerry Goldsmith. While not entirely memorable, it's an unpretentious and fun film.