Quick Hit: Heavy on the action, but at times terrifying, this Indian Jones knock-off deserves a second look.
The only things I remembered about The Mummy from 1999 were that it made an awesome video game, the Mummy himself gave me nightmares due to his taking of people’s organs, and that it starred Brendan Fraser before he went really weird with the movie Monkeybone. So it was kind of a pleasant surprise when I saw a young Rachel Weisz, along with seeing the butler from Richie Rich and the real Jumanji (Johnathan Hyde) pop up in another 90s treasure.
I actually really enjoyed watching the movie again. I was rarely bored, I laughed, I was horrified, and I left the movie entertained. Even with its knock off sets and its B-movie plot, I couldn’t help but leave the film with a smile on my face and a longingness to watch the sequel.
Honestly, probably the best part of the movie is Brendan Fraser. People forget that for a time period of four to five years he was one of the most charming leading men in Hollywood. He shows it here – quick with a quip and full of wit, he still manages to portray a convincing action hero. He has a credible romance with Weisz, and they have good chemistry, because they’re both a little bit goofy. It just works.
The special effects, which must have taken forever and cost a fortune in the late nineties, hold up ok. There are a few moments that look pretty cheesy, particularly with the scarabs, but they still bring a chill. Some of the most effective scares, like the reveal of a man whose tongue and eyes have been pulled out, still hold extremely well. That’s what gave me nightmares then, and still gave me the heeby jeebies now.
Another thing that I particularly liked was the fact that it blended the original movie with a new set of ideas and times. It was set in the 20s, but still featured Imhotep, and his girlfriend. It still featured the Book of the Dead, and it still featured his desire to bring his love back to life. There are even some shots that are reminiscent of the original movie, and I liked that quite a bit as well. But there is plenty of new information, new scenes, and new ideas, like the character Brendan Fraser plays. It’s a nice blending of how to remake a movie without making it an exact copy, or diverting too far from the original.
Overall, I was happy with the way the movie turned out. Is it the best movie out there? No, but it’ll entertain you. So ride out the plagues of Egypt and enjoy the sandstorm. I’m giving this interpretation of The Mummy a “B”.
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