The Mummy (1999) – Exploring the Past

TL;DR –.While some parts of the film have not aged well, it is still a fun romp from start to finish.   

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Disclosure – I paid for the Stan service that viewed this film.

Camels in the desert crossing sand dunes.

The Mummy Review

There are those films from your childhood that should stay there because revisiting them can never come back to those heights. One of those films is The Mummy. I have fond memories of over everyone crowding around the VCR to watch it and then the unfortunate moment when someone decided to hand out tea and coffee. Every couple of years, I will think about watching it again but then wonder if too much time has passed. But then, when they keep remaking it both in name with The Mummy and in spirit with films like Jungle Cruise means that no matter what, there is a core here that is timeless.

So to set the scene, in Thebes, the capital of the Ancient Egyptian Empire in 1260 BC and home to Pharaoh Seti I (Aharon Ipalé) and his High Priest Imhotep (Arnold Vosloo). One fateful day, the Pharaoh’s mistress Anck-su-namun (Patricia Velásquez) and the priest were caught in their affair when Imhotep brushed the makeup from her shoulder, and they struck the Pharaoh down with his own blade. Soon they were all captured at Hamunaptra, the City of the Dead, and cursed for their crimes. In 1923 AD, Hamunaptra is at most a ruin, but for many, just a legend. But the French Legion found it and was massacred, with only Rick O’Connell (Brendan Fraser) and Beni Gabor (Kevin J. O’Connor) surviving to tell others of the treasure and curse that may await you there. Three years later, one Evelyn Carnahan (Rachel Weisz) might just take them up on that.

Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz read form a book.
The chemistry between Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz is clear to see. Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

Now to be clear from the start, this is a film made in 1992 and with that comes the technical limitations of the time and the unfortunate baggage that comes with that time. A lot of the visual effects feel outdated outside of the titular Mummy. An awkward moon placement, a matte painting that doesn’t quite sync, and things like that. There is also not a lot of cultural awareness of the local region, with some characters getting cherry-picked attributes from across the Levant. While there are a lot of small things that are all over the place, I will say that they do get some details right, Seti I was a Pharaoh during the Nineteenth Dynasty, and their capital was Thebes.       
If there is one thing that The Mummy nails that I wish more films these days would, it would be all their perfect introductions. When time is of the essence, you must encapsulate a character entirely in one interaction. Take Evelyn. In that scene when you first meet her, you know that she is organised, well versed in classics and histories in a time when that was difficult for women, strong-willed, and a walking disaster at times. Jonathan Carnahan (John Hannah) is irreverent in everything, yet he and Evelyn are not that far apart. Rick O’Connell swaggers onto the screen and does not stop swaggering for the entirety of the film. Warden Gad Hassan (Omid Djalili) is handsy, the American brothers gun-hoe, and Dr Allen Chamberlain (Jonathan Hyde) is a self-righteous twit who was happy sacrificing workers.

The Mummy screams
The Mummy remains a compelling antagonist. Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

 This is also a film that perfectly knows how to build tension. You can see this on a micro level, like when Beni tries to escape the carnage and then runs into the Mummy. The slow back away as he runs through all the religions he knows, trying to stop the oncoming death. Or how before the water turns to blood, we are introduced to the fountain in the middle of the room twice and then the sound of water slowly increases to focus you on it. It also works on the macro level. For a film called The Mummy, it takes almost an hour, half the film, before it appears, and even longer for him to be a real threat. This could have been disastrous if the film had not expertly managed the suspense of what the team were heading towards.

On top of all this, The Mummy is just a bunch of fun, which says something for a film that still jumps into the horror genre at times. It is filled with moments that are still iconic. O’Connell screaming back at The Mummy. Or lines like “Hey, O’Connell! It looks to me like I’ve got all the horses!” “Hey, Beni! Looks to me like you’re on the wrong side of the *river*!” or “He must have been someone of great importance. Or he did something *very* naughty.” To name a few. It provides the perfect amount of levity to counter the horror elements. As does the phenomenal chemistry between Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz makes the film work.

Brendan Fraser screams back at The Mummy.
It also knows just when to crack a joke. Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

In the end, do we recommend The Mummy? To be fair, some parts have not aged well at all. But at its heart, it is a perfect action/adventure romp across Egypt. You also can see its DNA across cinema to this day. So, yes, yes will recommend the film warts and all. If you liked The Mummy, we would also recommend to you Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.

By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.

Have you watched The Mummy?, let us know what you thought in the comments below, feel free to share this review on any of the social medias and you can follow us
Here. Check out all our past reviews and articles Here, and have a happy day. 

Credits –
All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of The Mummy
Directed by
– Stephen Sommers
Story by – Stephen Sommers, Lloyd Fonvielle & Kevin Jarre
Music by – Jerry Goldsmith
Cinematography by – Adrian Biddle
Edited by – Bob Ducsay
Production/Distribution Companies – Alphaville Films & Universal Pictures.
– Brendan Fraser, Rachel Weisz, John Hannah, Arnold Vosloo, Kevin J. O’Connor, Jonathan Hyde, Oded Fehr, Erick Avari, Stephen Dunham, Corey Johnson, Tuc Watkins, Omid Djalili, Aharon Ipalé, Bernard Fox & Patricia Velásquez
Rating – Australia: M; Canada: PG; Germany: 12; New Zealand: M; United Kingdom: 12; United States: PG-13


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