"The Mummy" is an adventurous yarn in the vein of "Indiana Jones." It's a lot of fun, very charming, and never tries to be more than what it is. What is it? An entertaining summer flick which is not only worth seeing, but perhaps even owning. It's one of those fun movies you can return to over and over again and never grow tired of doing so.
It's hardly a remake of the Universal classic of the same name. It's merely a new way to tell the story with the same basic idea - a murderous mummy is brought back from the dead. This time we have a hero and heroine who must stop him before he takes over the world, or something along the line of world domination.
The hero is Rick (Brendan Fraser), a thief thriving off the very basics out in Egypt circa 1930. Arrested and to be hanged, he is saved by the heroine (Rachel Weisz), who believes he may hold the key to helping them find an ancient Egyptian kingdom buried under the sand, if I recall correctly. Little does she know what lurks beneath the sand near that old kingdom is none other than the remains of a man who was caught cheating on the king's wife years ago and mummified.
Now, after unearthing the remains of the kingdom, the expedition led by our heroes come upon an ancient "Book of the Dead," which, when read from, brings the ancient mummy back to life. Now he is out to kill, regenerate and bring back his old lover - pretty neat, huh?
I own "Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy," a great movie spoofing the classic film. "The Mummy" Isn't exactly a spoof but it's very tongue-in-cheek. It knows it isn't an Oscar-winner, it knows it stands nothing against the older film, and so it goes for pulp thrills. I actually believe that this film is a bit classy in execution - compared to many other entertainments floating around nowadays it stands as one of the only films to return to the roots of the pure adventure films like "Raiders of the Lost Ark" (1981) so successfully did.
Brendan Fraser is a perfect choice for the lead star. Calm, but with ironic and sarcastic humor; cool, but a strong lead. I wondered what it would have been like if they had casted an actor in his role who would have taken it all more seriously. I bet the results would have been disastrous. Fraser knows that this is all good fun, and he's having a good time playing his role with comedy. Every once and a while you can catch a wink at the screen that lets us know that he knows what he's doing.
2001 brought a sequel to "The Mummy" named, of all things, "The Mummy Returns." I found it just as fun as this film though some critics begged to differ. Summer 2002 brought yet another "Mummy" film, this one a prequel called "The Scorpion King" - it was a following of a co-star of the first sequel. The Mummy was not in it at all. It was a horrible film that wasn't near as fun as this one. So I recommend you see "The Mummy" as soon as humanly possible. After that, see "The Mummy Returns."
Either way, you simply can't go wrong.