The Mummy posterThe Mummy (1999)

Starring Brendan Fraser, Rachel Weisz, John Hannah, Arnold Vosloo, Kevin J. O'Connor, Jonathan Hyde.
Written and directed by Stephen Sommers.

Grade: C+

Review by Carlo Cavagna.

Writer/director Stephen Sommers, the artiste who brought you Deep Rising, is back with The Mummy, an 80 million dollar monster movie that's heavy on cheese and short on content. A cross between a third-rate Raiders of the Lost Ark and a Dracula movie, The Mummy is definitely bad--downright awful, in fact. Being bad, however, is not always a bad thing. Not when the movie is laugh-out-loud funny. The Mummy is quite the comedy, with plenty of laughs, both intentional and unintentional. Throw in the special effects, and you've got an entertaining ride.

The title character, who is not so much a mummy as a big bald guy, is the high priest Imhotep (Arnold Vosloo). Three thousand years ago in ancient Egypt, Imhotep was buried alive and condemned to an afterlife of eternal torment for murdering the Pharaoh and sleeping with his mistress, not necessarily in that order. According to legend, Imhotep will become all-powerful and visit plagues upon the world if he is ever awakened. Naturally, two competing bands of treasure-hunters do just that. One team is led by our intrepid heroes, Brendan Fraser (Gods and Monsters, George of the Jungle), Rachel Weisz (Chain Reaction), and John Hannah (Sliding Doors, Four Weddings and a Funeral). Actually, John Hannah is not so intrepid--he'd rather be someplace else. Once Imhotep has regenerated himself by sucking a few victims dry and appropriating their organs, he sets his sights on Rachel Weisz, for in order to bring back his dead lover, Imhotep requires a human sacrifice. Brendan Fraser

It's interesting that Imhotep's tomb hasn't been found for over three thousand years, given that the archeologists locate it fairly easily. It's also interesting that the tomb's guardians, who for thousands of years have killed any who get too close, content themselves with asking Brendan Fraser & company to leave just as soon as it's convenient, but no rush. Also, why is it that all-powerful evil beings get really stupid as the climactic scene approaches? Imhotep appears to succumb to a sudden attack of Attention Deficit Disorder. Finally, an anatomical question: if a mummy appropriates the eyes of a very near-sighted man, would he not also be near-sighted? Just asking.

OK, so the writing is bad and the story is ludricrous. Who cares? After all, The Mummy is a summer movie--a perfect respite from a hot July afternoon. You probably shouldn't wait until then to see The Mummy, however, as it will likely find itself swept back into the sand dunes when Star Wars: The Phantom Menace opens in late May.

Review © May 1999 by AboutFilm.Com and the author.
© 1999 Universal Studios.

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