THE MUMMYMOVIE REVIEW
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Head Production Designer
JOSEPH CROSS, BRIANA EVIGAN,
Special Effects Make-Up
A SIERRA NEVADA
(MICHAEL MADSEN & JOHN SAVAGE).
Picture the action/adventure-style humor of Indiana Jones coupled with the basic concepts behind Hellraiser, and you have a good idea of what to expect from THE MUMMY. Written and directed by Stephen Sommers (DEEP RISING), THE MUMMY is an update of the old Boris Karloff film of the same name.
The ads and the theatrical trailers hype the film as mostly horror, and my first thought was that perhaps Brendan Fraser (GODS AND MONSTERS) was at last turning his hand to some more serious roles. However, this was not the case. But is this a bad thing?
Fraser plays American ex-patriate and French Foreign Legionnaire Rick O'Connell, who stumbles across the ancient, lost Egyptian city, Hamunaptra. Chased away by supernatural phenomena, he returns several years later, leading an Egyptologist named Evelyn (Rachel Weisz: DEATH MACHINE) and her kleptomanical brother, Jonathan (John Hannah: THE FINAL CUT, RESURRECTION MAN) to the city to find the Book of the Dead. Racing against an American band of treasure hunters, they encounter the Magi, a band of desert warriors sworn to prevent the city of Hamunaptra and its deadly curse from being uncovered.
The Mummy Imhotep (played by Arnold Vosloo, who you likely missed as DARKMAN in the two sequels. Also: BURIED ALIVE, THE PROGENY), a cursed Egyptian priest, is awakened by the arrival of the archeologists. When he sees Evelyn, who looks very much like his ancient lover, the Pharoah's mistress Anck-Su-Namum (Patricia Velazquez), he moves to capture and use Evelyn to resurrect Anck-Su-Namum.
Again, like the Indiana Jones films, there is a lot of comedy relief tied to the action. Much of the comedy is provided by Kevin J. O'Connor (DEEP RISING, LORD OF ILLUSIONS), who plays an almost typecast role for him as the deceitful, treacherous Beni.
There are genuine scares however, and the Mummies, for the most part, are fairly creepy. Unlike his film predecessor, this movie Mummy is no limping, groaning, slow-moving bag of bones and dust! Imhotep is genuinely a force to be reckoned with, bringing plagues upon the land and using his magic and incredible strength in combat.
So long, that is, as you don't defend yourself with a cat . . .
In the ancient Egyptian religion, cats were Guardians of the Underworld. Sommers uses this logic, and when Imhotep spies a cat, he runs away. Despite being somewhat funny to see this raging beast flinging magic and dropping fireballs on the city run from a fluffy white cat, it just didn't really work for me*.
The special effects are, for the most part, expertly done. The panorama of ancient Egypt in its complete glory in the beginning of the film is just breathtaking, and most of the magic is very well done. The swarms of scarabs are outright creepy, and the battling mummies near the end beat even those in TV series like Xena and Hercules which people consistently rave about.
There are a few minor complaints I had in the effects of some of Imhotep's actions, but nothing glaring or worth mentioning here.
Normally when I hear someone refer to a movie as "fun," it means the movie sucks. But that's the best way to describe THE MUMMY. Whether you're 14 or 41, you will likely have a good time with THE MUMMY and not regret the box office bucks you had to plunk down to see it.
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