Monday, June 5, 2017

The Mummy (1999) - Flashback Review

There really isn’t anything stellar about the 1999 hit The Mummy. It’s not always best to lead off reviews by telling the reader that there isn’t anything great about a film, but for this particular film it’s almost necessary. The Mummy is one of those films that despite not having anything truly good about it, you can’t help but have fun with it the entire time. And audiences did enjoy it upon its release, sparking two more films in the franchise, but does it still hold up today?

The Mummy is a rousing, suspenseful and horrifying epic about an expedition of treasure-seeking explorers in the Sahara Desert in 1925. Stumbling upon an ancient tomb, the hunters unwittingly set loose a 3,000-year-old legacy of terror, which is embodied in the vengeful reincarnation of an Egyptian priest who had been sentenced to an eternity as one of the living dead.

First let’s just touch this subject right away: this is knock off Indiana Jones and it doesn’t even hide it well.  An ancient artifact hunted for by many and ends up bringing more destruction than they could’ve imagined is a plot that fits right at home amongst the other Indiana Jones films. With this film though none of the supernatural elements are really clear and the danger of the creature returning never feels terrifying by any means.

Leading the film is Brendan Fraser as Rick, effectively the low rent version of Indiana Jones. Fraser has a lot of funny moments and lines that actually hit their mark, even possessing enough charisma to carry most of the film. Rachel Weisz is almost too inept to be worth much more than a damsel in distress and the lynchpin of the plot through her seemingly endless knowledge on Egyptian history. John Hannah gets the most humorous lines of the three leads, though his bumbling nature makes Brendan Fraser look even more heroic. None of the characters are truly interesting but they fit this film and for that I can’t fault them too much.

In terms of action, The Mummy offers nothing truly new or groundbreaking in any way. The heroes face increasingly dangerous creatures and obstacles as the film progresses, much like any other action film. But perhaps the biggest element that dates this film is the CGI work. It’s understandable that it looks bad now, as CGI has improved greatly since 1999, but still it doesn’t look remotely good compared to the films that used it well in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Overall, The Mummy is somewhere in between trash movie and good film. It’s not complete garbage as it is really fun to watch whether it’s the over the top nature of it all or some of the well-written humor.  The film doesn’t quite pack the horror punch that you’d want from a movie titled The Mummy and because of this feels like any other action/adventure film. Eighteen years later the film is still enjoyable but it’s starting to show it’s age, taking on the look of it’s tarnished title character more than ever.

So what are your thoughts on The Mummy? Have you seen it? And are you looking forward to the upcoming reboot? Subscribe, share, comment below, and as always return to I Am Sam for weekly reviews and insight. 

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