Posted on 6/10/12 08:02 AM
Directed by: Stephen Sommers
Written by: Stephen Sommers
Starring: Brendan Fraser, Rachel Weisz and John Hannah
Release Date: May 7, 1999
Budget: $80 million
Runtime: 117 mins
In my All-Time top 10 films, this ranks 9th.
You know how they say that the films you watch when you're 12-14 are the films you'll love forever?
I didn't watch Raiders when i was that age but i did watch this fantastic action-adventure which is no doubt an Indiana Jones- derivative but i would argue a better film.
Crazy thought, huh? Before you book me into a mental hospital let me explain.
This film take place in 1926 Cairo and features two protagonists. The first is Egyptologist Evelyn "Evy" Carnahan.
She's bookworm with supreme knowledge about ancient Egypt who's unfortunately lacking any field experience whatsoever.
Through a series of events, she saves the life of the second protagonist, American-born French Legionnaire Richard "Rick" O'Connell, and together they plan an expedition to uncover the fabled city of Hamunaptra, the city of the dead.
These two are essentially Indiana Jones split into two characters. Evey is the uber-intelligent history expert and Rick is the brave, rough-and-tumble swash-buckling type. The inter-play and simmering romance between these two gives a beating life to the film. Needless to say, the character development in top-notch and forces you to care about them.
The acting is also uniformly excellent. This is the breakout role for Rachel Weisz, who would go on to become an Oscar winner to the suprise of no one. And Brendan Fraser proved he's got the physicality of a modern action star and the comic sensibility of a comedian before ruining his reputation starring in one horrible "family" film after another.
Rounding out our quartet of well-developed characters is Evey's older brother Jonathan (John Hannah).
A shady, cowardly, pick-pocket who provides comic relief when needed. And this film is bolstered tremendously by a villain with the greatest motivation of all, love. High Priest Imhotep (Arnold Vosloo), isn't trying to take over the world or enrich himself through long-lost gold. I've long thought these shallow motivators impeded audiences from understanding antagonists.
He simply wants to re-unite with his lost love Anck Su Namun (Patricia Velasquez). The fact that he's 3,000 year-old Mummy, who needs to kill 4 other explorers to fully rejuvenate and sacrifice Evy's life for his woman's is completely understandable.
The gunfights, camel races, nasty scarabs, fiery meteors, epics sandstorms, undead hordes other action sequences featured in this film have one thing in common; they're executed with a sense of humour and zippy pace. This is without a doubt writer-director Stephen Sommers' best film. Miles ahead of the rote sequel, his dreadful Van Helsing and the silly G.I. Joe.
Only his charming 1994 film The Jungle Book comes close to replicating this great blend of adventure, character and charm.
For some ridiculous reasons, this film had mixed reviews from critics at the time of its release. Judging by the caliber of summer blockbusters in the subsequent dozen years or so, The Mummy only looks better. It stands the test of time by providing what audiences crave in the summer months - a thrilling adventure and lots of action - but thankfully also provides them with what makes any film worthwhile, three-dimensional characters, great dialogue and an interesting story.
It's a film I've watched many times and will no doubt enjoy for decades to come.
For all these reasons and more The Mummy has earned its place in my All-time top 10.