Written by Stephen Sommers, Lloyd Fonvielle, and Kevin Jarre
Directed by Stephen Sommers
The Mummy is one of those films I honestly have no business liking. There are so many parts that are pandering to the masses that I would normally dismiss the movie outright. However, it’s become one of those films that I enjoy despite itself.
The Mummy starts out in the distant past with the tale in ancient Egypt of the forbidden love between the Pharoah’s priest, Imhotep (portrayed by Arnold Vosloo), and his wife, Anck Su Namun (portrayed by Patricia Velasquez). After she commits suicide, she is brought by Imhotep to the city of the dead in hopes of resurrecting her. However, they are followed by the Pharoh’s guards. Before he can finish the ceremony, they are stopped. Imhotep and his priests are mummified alive and buried beneath the sands.
3,000 years later, the descendants of the Pharoah’s bodyguards are still watching, protecting the world from what can only be termed an extremely bad dude. They know if Imhotep were ever awakened, his power would be nearly unstoppable.
Brendan Fraser is Rick O’Connell, an American fighting with the French Foreign Legion in the Egyptian desert during World War I. He has a strange experience when he dashes amid some ruins. The descendants watching over the area believe the desert will kill him and don’t worry about him telling anyone of his experience.
That doesn’t quite work out, of course. Soon, not only is Rick on his way back to the location of the City of the Dead, but a whole entourage is with him, determined to excavate and plunder the site. With Rick are Evelyn and Jonathan Carnahan (portrayed by Rachel Weisz and John Hannah).
They uncover the Book of the Dead, and Evelyn begins reading from it, not knowing what power she is about to unleash.
What The Mummy has that other movies similar to this didn’t have in the past is the incredible computer-generated effects. In the past, it was difficult to show the multitudes of the dead rising from their sleep. Instead, there were a few guys wrapped in bandages walking with their arms out. Here, they are convincing as being dead and scary. They manage to actually engage in battle and create convincing battle scenes between the un-dead and those who live in the world. At the same time, it’s fun to watch them. As usual, the people with the entourage to excavate the site seem to get what’s coming to them at the hands of those who have arisen while the good guys manage to avoid most of the bad stuff.
Well, not completely and that’s a good part of the story as well. It sets up a well-rounded movie with tons of action surrounding the effects as well as romance and suspense. It’s set in such a different world that the story works. I mean, it’s pretty hard to nitpick how realistic people are being when they are battling mummies arisen from the dead. But it handles it well, not trying to convince us that it could happen, merely inviting us along for the ride. And what a ride it is!
The acting is good. I really like Brendan Fraser and this is a good role for him. Unlike some of his earlier work, he isn’t completely immersed in comedy but does manage to convincingly pull off those moments which elicit laughter in between being the hero. He’s also nice to look at and comes off as strong and decisive in how he handles himself throughout the film.
I also like Rachel Weisz as Evie. She’s not quite the helpless female but holds her own quite often. She comes off as smart, beautiful, and independent. None of the talk of curses and peril phases her until it pretty much shows up at her front door. She is also a direct contrast to the character of the dead Egyptian Anck Su Namun. Where Namun uses her beauty and sexuality to achieve what she wants, Evie achieves what she wants despite her beauty and the contrast between the two works well. Weisz and Fraser also have great chemistry and their attraction is believable.
Oded Fehr as Ardeth Bey, the guardian of the City was also terrific. He becomes the reluctant ally of Rick and Evie to defeat the un-dead Imhotep. He pretty much is a one-note character, but he is the link between the ancient beliefs and superstitions and what is happening to them and plays the angle of being forced into action quite well.
The rest of the cast is fine if a bit one-dimensional. John Hannah is only interested in the dollar signs until his sister is in peril, then changes his tune. Others don’t change their tune at all and suffer the expected consequences. there are little surprises, although there is some satisfaction.
If you are looking for a good action flick that will allow you to sit back and relax while watching it, The Mummy is for you. It’s a lot of fun with a decent plot and special effects that are used well to enhance the story rather than become the story. It’s definitely not for kids, especially the very young with some potentially frightening imagery as well as nudity. For the rest of us, it’s a great ride.
” Building a Better Mummy
” Feature Commentary with Director Stephen Sommers and Editor Bob Ducsay
” Visual & Special Effects Formation with Visual Effects Supervisor John Berton
” DVD-ROM Materials
” Cast and Filmmaker Biographies
” Deleted Scenes
” Egyptology 101
” Peoduction Notes
” Theatrical Trailers
” Universal Showcase
Categories: Movie Reviews