Review of 'The Mummy'

the_mummy.jpg In ancient Egypt the high priest Imhotep (stone-faced and very creepy, Arnold Vosloo) is entombed alive – damned for all eternity – after having an affair with Anck-su-Namun, the Pharoh's mistress. In 1926 a Cairo librarian Evelyn Carnahan (Rachel Weisz) is presented with a box containing a map to the lost Egyptian city of Hamunaptra, where it is rumoured the wealth of Egypt was stored. Hoping to learn more they question the man Evelyn's brother Jonathan (John Hannah) stole the box from, American Rick O'Connell (Brendan Fraser). Rick agrees to help Evelyn find the city if she frees him from prison. Eventually a bargain is made with the prison warden (Omid Djalili) who insists on coming with them. On arriving at Hamunaptra they discover the tomb of Imhotep who is accidentally brought back to life…and he not altogether there and is also not very happy, determined to bring his beloved Anck-su-Namun back from the dead to join him in ruling the world.

The first in a modern series of “Mummy” movies “The Mummy” probably has the best balance of humour and horror. The humour is no where near as prevalent as in the later films and this is a good thing as we are left to admire the impressive, though now somewhat dated, special effects hearkening back to the stop-motion days of Harryhausen in terms of care, attention to detail and quirky, imaginative, action sequences. The acting here is accomplished with the primary cast with the cheap laughs coming mainly from Jonathan and the warden instead of Rick who plays the roll here very straight with his jokey dialogue pretty much limited to ironic quips. A good thing which works very well. I have to say the whining of the warden and the imbecility of Jonathan quite grating and irritating at times. Yeah, OTT, but it jars against the rest of the cast who play it far more seriously.

What is a shock is the amount of horror here though it is without blood in order to maintain their certificate, lots of good B-movie shocks throughout. Indeed, it is a B-movie done in the modern age and has that sense of fun about it. It is never really clear that the good guys are going to win against the overwhelming odds stacked against them. But, this is Hollywood…

The plot is fairly well thought through without any obvious holes though it is often confusing trying to keep track of the details: What is that book then? What does it do? The action sequences are complex, very much Indiana Jones just not, it seems, as polished or convincing. Think B-Movie again (Indiana Jones being an “A”).

An enjoyable first romp in the Mummy series that, arguably, is the best of the lot, before it became too self-indulgent.


Review Date: 2019-03-17

Directed by: Stephen Sommers

Studio: Universal Pictures

Year: 1999

Length: 124 minutes

Genre: Action/Adventure