The Mummy (1999)
Director: Stephen Sommers
A powerful Mummy is awakened from his sleep and it's up to “Indiana Jones” wannabe Rick (Fraser), hot to trot damsel Evelyn (Weisz) and a few eccentric side characters to stop him. Pop that corn and hang on!
This film made me feel like a kid again. It takes all the classic ingredients of those old matinee movies and pumps them up for the 90’s. You’ve got the tough hero (but this time, he also has a sense of humour and a sensitive side), you got the damsel in distress (here she’s also very smart and is not too helpless), you got the GQ-like mummy (has this undead been working out in his tomb or what?) and you got all the romance, swashbuckling, gun fights and deadly creatures you can ever want.
I delved into the action/adventure side of this film big-time and had a blast. The fight scenes are exciting and have lots of slapstick…kinda reminded me of “Army of Darkness” sometimes. The humour is always on (did u guys spot that inmate in a hamster wheel in the prison scene…funny) and the competent actors play very well off each other. Everybody’s comic timing is so on. There’s no doubt this flick is very entertaining but unfortunately it's not scary and it makes some mistakes. Let me expand.
NOT SCARY: -This film goes all out with the CGI and even though some of it looks way kool...it still looks like CGI. For example, when the mummy is in his early stages and attacks our heroes, it is so obvious that he’s just a computer effect and is not really at the scene. How can I get scared of a villain that’s obviously not there? I’m all for CGI (the impressive sandstorm and the meteor shower worked like a charm) but you don’t have to use it all the time! What ever happened to slapping a guy in a suit? That would’ve made the mummy’s presence feel more real.
-The way the characters are written and played out also makes it is so obvious as to who will live or die. I never felt any real threat towards the three main characters; I knew the whole time that nothing would happen to them. Maybe if the flick would have toned down the campy vibe just a bit, I might have felt some tension in regards to the three heroes and their safety.
SOME MISTAKES: -Rick often fires his six-shooter more than six times without reloading (I was able to let that one go).
-If you knew an undead Mummy would want to kill you, would you A) stick around, leave the “safe house” and get yourself a drink or B) Get on a horse and get the fuck out of dodge. A character in this flick goes for A. What???
-If the only thing that scares the mummy is cats…why not take a trip to the pet store and stock up on felines instead of sticking around in a room holding a gun that you know just won't work on the invincible villain.
-And last but not least, I had trouble with the script’s tendency of introducing a character for the sole purpose of getting to the next plot-point and then killing him off. It gets really obvious. Winston (Bernard Fox) is the perfect example of that bad habit.
I could nitpick this flick for hours and find all kinds of shite that doesn’t make sense (like Rick’s heavy bag of guns floating in the water), but I won't. The flick tries real hard to cover its many plot-holes/goofs by slapping non-stop action our way but it doesn’t always work. But damn are those action scenes fun or what?! The film made me smile, made me laugh and entertained the hell out of me. My advice is to put your brain in a drawer and just enjoy yourself. It’s that kind of movie…if you start thinking…. you’ll ruin the fun you could be having…Mummy this…
The flick is not too gory. Lots of the murders are executed by showing us a shadow on the wall of what’s happening. We do get creepy man eating scarabs crawling under people’s skins (brrr), a brief moment of people getting their faces burned by acid and lots of after-the-fact corpses. If you’re looking for real gore…. go elsewhere, this flick is rated PG-13.
Brendan Fraser (Rick) action hero…why not? He handles the part very well and his goofy humour made me giggle like a schoolgirl. I didn’t really buy him as a tough guy though but he still works. Rachel Weisz (Evelyn) is a charming cutie pie and looks great in Egyptian wear…wow…can you say "marriage material"? She’s so cute when she does that funny noise to make the camel go faster. Her and Fraser have great chemistry. John Hannah (Jonathan) is also on the money. His drunken, British shtick made me chuckle. Arnold Vosloo (Im-Ho-Tep) doesn’t have much acting to do and lets his impressive pecs do most of the work. But he has that little something that keeps you watching him (no ladies, I don’t mean his ass). Am I the only one that loved him in “Hard Target”? Kevin J. O Connor (Beni) excels at playing “the weasel” and goes all out with the part. He’s pretty funny. Oded Fehr (Ardeth) looks menacing and does well in the action scenes. Omid Djalili (Warden) cracked my arse up and I was sad that he wasn’t in the whole film. Patricia Velazquez (Anck-Su-Namun) is sizzling hot…'nuff said.
T & A
We get Patricia Velazquez showing off her stuff in a see-through dress (nice butt, but no nipple action). And the ladies will appreciate Arnold Vosloo showing off his pecs and fit derriere at the drop of a dime.
Lots of wide shots are used in this film and the directing rarely stands out. To be honest, I was to busy having a blast to notice the directing too much. I can safely say that the pace is pretty good (the first hour lags a bit but the last hour never stops) and that apart from the occasional tilted angle and quick close ups, the film is mostly shot in a very conventional way. Sommers sure knows how to stage action scenes though.
Jerry Goldsmith gives us an appropriate score with an Egyptian twist.
For me, the adventure vibe, the action and the laughs made it all worthwhile. But yes, the film is not scary, has its fair share of boo boos and overdoes it with the CGI. If you’re able to stop thinking for two hours, you will enjoy yourself…you have my word…if not, you’re in for a frustrating time. See this flick when you’re in a happy mood.
During the scene where the people are in a trance and chanting, the extras began to chant "Ohwhatanarseyouare" (oh what an arse you are). They did it on the final take, nobody on the crew noticed during filming, and if you listen carefully, it’s in the film.