The Mummy starring Tom Cruise hit the big screen earlier this month and has been met with some less-than-stellar reviews. Luckily, fans of nostalgia and summer blockbusters have another movie to turn to. No, I’m not talking about It, or Transformers. I’m talking about the 1999 The Mummy starring the Encino Man himself Brendan Fraser.
Side note: I would’ve written a review for it when it came out, but I was 11.
Summary from IMDB:
An American serving in the French Foreign Legion on an archaeological dig at the ancient city of Hamunaptra accidentally awakens a mummy.
The Mummy (1999) was written and directed by Stephen Sommers and stars Brendan Fraser, Rachel Weisz, and John Hannah as a trio of adventurers (some better at it than others) tracking down the lost city of Hamunaptra. After shenanigans involving curses, skin-burrowing scarabs, and another team of adventurers led by the shifty Beni, the trio finds themselves face to decaying face with Imhotep, and Imhotep is not a happy mummy.
The Indiana Jones vibe is strong with this one. In fact, the tone of The Mummy falls more in line with the original Jones trilogy than Kingdom of the Crystal Skull did, and I didn’t think that movie was all that bad. It has that early Hollywood Errol Flynn feel that makes it more endearing than a gritty reboot would.
Speaking of Errol Flynn, Brendan Fraser’s Rick O’Connell is great. He’s not your typical action star that’s known for his physical presence, but he manages to steal the screen with his quick wit, over-the-top style. Oh, and Rachel Weisz said that he literally had to be resuscitated after the hanging scene. If that’s not dedication to the craft, I don’t know what is. I particularly liked Weisz in her role as Evelyn Carnahan. Not only is she incredibly smart, but she is also brave, endearing, and is the only person capable of keeping her idiot brother and Rick O’Connell in line.
I also enjoyed that the film uses real sets instead of relying on CGI, which is all too common nowadays (looking at you, The Hobbit). The set pieces look more like Temple of Doom than green screen, and that’s a good thing when you are making a love letter to old school adventure films. Sure, the CGI they used was a little rough, but every time Imhotep’s jaw dropped farther than a jaw should drop it was creepy, and remember that scene where the scarab is crawling under that guy’s skin? If you were a kid when it came out, I doubt you’ve ever forgotten it #heebiejeebies.
Overall, The Mummy stands the test of time. The final action sequence had everything you’d expect in a monster/action/adventure movie, including mummy zombies (zombie mummies?), romance, sword fights, one-liners, and last second escapes. It’s hard to mash several genres together, but The Mummy does it well. Parts of it are legitimately creepy, even when the violence is implied using the ol’ shadow on the wall trick, but then the comedic relief comes swooping in to make you laugh and break the tension.
If you haven’t seen The Mummy in a while, it’s time. As long as you don’t go in expecting every aspect to hold up 100%, you should have a great time reliving your childhood with the help of Brendan Frasier’s relevance, at least me and my wife did. Now I just need to track down a copy of The Mummy Returns. I hear a certain WWF superstar might make an appearance.