The Mummy
Dir: Stephen Sommers
Star: Arnold Vosloo, Brendan Fraser, Rachel Weisz, John Hannah
Cert / Year: 15 - PG-13 / 1999
Format: DVD R2

For committing heinous and blasphemous crime, High priest Imhotep ( Arnold Vosloo) is sentenced to endure the most horrific punishment that the ancient Egyptians can meter out. The "Hom Dai" was sentenced upon Imhotep for his relationship with the Pharoahs concubine Anuck-su-namun. When they are accidentally discovered by the Pharoah they kill him and Imhotep escapes whilst Anuck-su-namun takes her own life. Stealing her body from the crypt Imhotep races to Hamunaptra or the City of the Dead so that he can resurrect her. He gets caught before he can complete the ritual and is sentenced to the "Hom-Dai" the most feared punishment the ancient Egyptians can bestow. He is cursed and mummified alive and should he ever be resurrected he would have control of the sands and the 7 plagues will herald his arrival (not someone you want to bump into on a dark night then). More than 3000 years later, former soldier and American adventurer Rick O'Connell (Brendan Fraser) leads would be Egyptologist Evie (Rachel Weisz) and her wayward brother Johnathan (John Hannah) to the fabled and mysterious Hamunaptra. Unfortunately, they aren't the only adventurers looking for Hamunaptra and a rival team of explorers led by Rick's former "associate" Beni (Kevin J. O'Connor) also seek the "City of the dead". Both teams make interesting discoveries and it is only that night when Evie acquires the book of the dead from the Americans and reads aloud a passage which unfortunately wakes the Mummy and thus begins it's quest to become whole again and resurrect Evies body I hasten to add....which will lead to his plan for world domination. Rick has to save the girl, the world and Jonathan who keeps getting into trouble but Imhotep is rapidly becoming stronger and looking much healthier too.......

Essentially a reworking of the 1932 Boris Karloff classic, The Mummy has a relatively simple script which is a refreshing change and manages to bring the "mummy" movie genre bang up to date with some showy effects and stylish direction. Unlike the original a lot of the suspense and tension is sacrificed in favour of some comedic set pieces and unfeasible action in addition to an underlying romantic aspect but surprisingly this all manages to work rather well. Some occasionally cliche or nostalgic but nonetheless impressive direction by Stephen Sommers who also co-wrote the screenplay binds the film nicely together and combined with some "groundbreaking" CGI the film holds your attention well. After seeing Sommers' previous offering in the shape of Deep Rising I was impressed by his overrall visual style and keen to see what he could do with this film. Sommers certainly seems to have a flair when it comes to working with CGI and The Mummy merely hammers this home as he blends some fast paced and good direction with some impressive multi media elements.

So many horror sub-genres have been flogged to death and have now become particuarly staid so it is nice to see "the Mummy" being given a new lease of life so to speak. This film is very stylish, with great action and the mummy itself breaks from the stagnated tradition of merely being a guy wrapped up in mucky bandages to a chilling CGI apparition which in this instance works exceptionally well. Virtually non stop action and dazzling visual efects. I did feel the films finale appeared like a fabulous homage as it is very reminiscent of some Ray Harryhausen work, which is not a bad thing at all. Unfortunately some of the CGI does look blatantly CGI and whereas some of it looks great some really does look quite poor and overshadows it. On the plus side, the flesh eating scarabs are chilling and well used.

Brendan Fraser plays our "hero" Rick O'Connell who at times borders on hapless but Fraser affords a most likeable and charismatic personality to the character who works very well with the winsome and enchanting Rachel Weisz as the clumsy, bumbling heroine Evie. The excellent Arnold Vosloo strides through his role as the titular character of Imhotep (the Mummy) . The superb John Hannah plays Evies drunken liability of a brother Jonathon whose complete ineptness is the cause of a great deal of the films "humour". The slinky and sexy Patricia Velazquez is almost clothed for her captivating performance as AnuckSunamun, Imhoteps lover. Excellent supporting performances from Oded Fehr as Ardeth Bay and Kevin J. O'Connor as Beni the double crossing little weasel.

A gripping, likeable and fabulous heroic romp in the grand adventure style of an Indiana Jones movie but with a lighter hearted perspective that affords some cheesy and camp fused with some mildly scary moments. Don't get me wrong, this is hugely entertaining film in a gun-toting desert based swashbuckling kind of way. All the required elements are here; archeological adventure, damsel in distress, mummy risen from the dead, hapless hero, daring escapes and fast paced action......what more could you want. The action is well choreographed and tends to be a little comedic or even slapstick at times demonstrating that someones tongue was firmly in cheek when making this film but for an alleged "horror" movie remake this is not a particuarly good thing. The ever incroaching "predictability factor" takes hold when watching this film and you can see what is coming later on not to mention who to. I have to admit, you can't help laughing and occasionally sighing at much of the film. Some of the historical facts leave a little to be desired as some are misplaced but overrall no brain entertainment at it's best.

Nice try but the archeological adventurers crown is still very safe in the hands of Indiana Jones.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Picture 1:2.35 Anamorphic Good quality crisp image
Audio Dolby Digital 5.1 Fantastic sound
Features The Main Feature
Audio commentary by director Stephen Sommers
Excellent audio commentary by stars Brendan Fraser, Oded Fehr, Kevin J. O'Connor and Arnold Vosloo
Features "Building a Better Mummy" - cool behind the scenes documentary
Visual & Special effects storyboard to film comparison
Small series of deleted scenes
"Egyptology 101" - small static, text based historical feature
"Highlights of The Mummy Returns" - short montage
Theatrical Trailer
"Pharaoh Lineage" - small text based feature
"Photo Montage"
"Production Notes"
Verdict Superb 2 disc set. Some good extra features guaranteed to keep anyone who waited for the release of the "Ultimate Edition" occupied. There are also some additional DVD ROM features on Disc 2 which are interesting. On the whole it's a well put together set.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Reviewed by Logan Back Top Home