The Mummy (1999)


I only recently bought this movie. I had the Mummy Returns for ages, but had never purchased the first film. Somebody clapped at the end of the film when I saw it in theatres, and I can’t even begin to tell you how annoying I find that. Who are you clapping for? Can Brandon Fraser hear you loving his performance all the way from Hollywood? I don’t understand why people clap at the end of films. If there are actually people who made the film viewing it with you, then by all means give a mighty applause, but outside of that, I really don’t understand why it’s done. Are they trying to save Tinkerbell or something? I know it is a dumb thing to be angry about, but it is one of my pet peeves. So people clapping soured the movie for me the first time, and I hadn’t actually watched it since then until we got to it for the blog. The film is a fun action adventure in the same vein as Indiana Jones (obviously not anywhere as good though).

Fraser plays Rick O’Connell, who when his life is saved by Evie (Rachel Weisz), gets caught up in one of her archaeological digs in Egypt. The pair unwittingly awaken a mummy named Imhotep (Arnold Vosloo). Imhotep was cursed while still alive because he was having an affair with the pharaoh’s lover. Now he is awake and looking to stay that way. Rick and Evie, along with her bumbling older brother Jonathon (John Hannah), attempt to send Imhotep back to the grave before he can perform a ritual that will keep him alive permanently. Oh, he also has supernatural super powers as a result of being cursed all those years ago.

The reasons for Imhotep being awoken and how he was cursed are not really important, you just need to know that he has been and is super pissed. Oh, and it’s up to Rick and Evie to send him back where he came from. This film is quite entertaining. Brandon Fraser has always been an underrated leading man, in my opinion. He is charming and attractive, I feel like much of his career has been underutilised. He has not made the kind of career choices that would have led him to the kind of stardom he deserved. Every step forward with a film like The Mummy, would be offset by something ordinary like Journey to the Center of the Earth. He is never the problem in these films. Fraser does what he can, but he never really had the huge hit he deserved. Which is a shame because he seems like a really cool guy and apparently does a mean Tasmanian devil from Looney Tunes impression.

It is also funny seeing Rachel Weisz in a film like this. This sort of popcorn adventure is not something I normally associate with her. She does a good enough job, but you do kind of get the feeling she is a little bored of the whole thing. The fact she came back for a sequel surprised me. I really enjoyed John Hannah as Eve’s thieving brother. Always looking to get rich quick, Hannah plays him really well. He is very likable despite the fact much of the protagonist’s problems are a direct result of him.

I may have been a bit hasty in my original reaction for The Mummy. There is fun to be had here. A strong leading man and a great sense of adventure make this film entertaining. There is also an awesome roller coaster based on this film at Universal Studios. I am not sure why I mentioned it, but writing this review reminded me of the Mummy ride. Sally and I visited the park the weekend before we got married. We had done the whole park by around lunchtime, because for some reason it was empty that day so we went on The Mummy roller coaster because there was no line. It is a lot of fun, if you’re ever in Hollywood you should check it out. I’m pretty sure you will enjoy yourself, even if you didn’t care for this Mummy movie.

Rating: B-

The Mummy is another movie full of personal nostalgia. It taps into my lifelong obsession with Ancient Egypt, and features two of my fantasy careers: archaeologist and librarian. It also stars Brendan Fraser, who I developed a pretty big crush on as a result of this film. This is a late 90s treasure that’s still fun to watch.

When I first saw The Mummy, I thought it was an Indiana Jones knock off. I had little knowledge of the Universal Studios monster classics of 1930s, so didn’t make the connection between this movie and the name Boris Karloff. I’m still surprised that this loose remake is as close to the source material as it is. Still, it’s obvious that this version borrows heavily from the Indiana Jones series. I don’t think this is a bad thing, because The Mummy moves far enough away from the Jones series to avoid being a pale carbon copy of it.

This is a movie that knows what it is and never tries to be anything else. It’s not an award winner. It’s not breaking new ground. It simply wants to be fun and humorous and mix a bit of horror into the adventure. Brendan Fraser is perfectly cast here, and it’s strange that The Mummy franchise didn’t catapult him into bigger stardom.

As much as I loved Fraser then and still love his performance now, my favorite part is Rachel Weisz. Her career quickly ventured far from this popcorn flick type of role, but she is darling in it. Clutzy, bookish librarian Evie is such a trope, but I love her so much. She fits into this universe so well and is the perfect counterweight to Fraser’s brash, ultra-masculine adventurer. Years later when I was unsure about my chosen college major, I strongly considered switching to either archaeology or library science. Indiana Jones may have been my original archaeology reference, but Evie was who I had in mind when picturing myself in either profession.

The Mummy was fun in 1999, and is still fun now. It’s not a perfect film, but I can hardly fault it on anything. This is a B-movie that knows it’s a B-movie.

Rating: B

One thought on “The Mummy (1999)

  1. Pingback: The Mummy Returns (2001) | From The Abyss to Zoolander

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