Sunday, March 9, 2014

The Essentials- "The Mummy" (1999)

The Essentials- #47

The Mummy
"The Mummy" doesn't feel like any other movie made in awhile. On one level, its hard to miss the Indiana Jones resemblance. Clearly that film heavily inspired this rendition of "The Mummy." On another level, "The Mummy" for me is one of the many great examples of a perfect summer movie. Its got action, its got comedy, its got romance, and its got humor. Director Stephen Summers was able to balance all of these sub-genres into a great script and a good-looking movie.

Brendan Fraser stars as Rick O'Connell, an American adventurer lingering in Egypt at the beginning of the film. O'Connell is recruited by Evelyn Carnahan (Rachel Weisz) and her brother Jonathon (John Hannah) to escort them to Hamunaptra, the city of the dead, the city where all of Egypt's rich citizens were mummified. O'Connell has knowledge of the city due to his service in the French Foreign Legion and reluctantly agrees to help the Carnahan's. While in Hamunaptra, they discover the mummy of Imotep, a high priest who was apart of a terrible curse due to his love for the old Pharaoh's mistress. Evelyn finds the ancient Book of the Dead, and accidentally brings Imotep back to life. Rick, Evelyn, and Jonathon assemble a team to take Imotep down.

Rick O'Connell is easily Fraser best performance. He's an actor I have never really cared for, but something awoke in him when he made this movie as well as "Blast From The Past," I don't get that he has so few memorable performances. Rich O'Connell is an adventurer, a romantic and a swashbuckler. Fraser is able to bring these emotions to life in a huge way. Fraser is funny and charming the whole movie and the audience really buys into his leading performance. Not that the rest of the cast isn't great. Weisz puts together an innocent yet intelligent female presence. Hannah creates a funny and memorable side-kick to the group, he's very good. I also still get goosebumps every time Arnold Vasloo appears as Imotep, incredibly effective work.

The films special effects were pretty amazing for 1999. I remember the creature work being very effective. I think that standard has held up pretty well today. The iconic scene of Imotep creating a sand face to chase a fighter jet is still mesmerizing to watch, beautiful effects on display. The scenes with the scarabs are also very effective. On the other hand, there are also great make-up effects on display in this film. Sommers chose a make-up crew that created good work. The regular mummies are absolutely stunning and big highlight of the film.

I love that the movie features romance but its never daytime soapy. I love that the movie has humor but its never once cheesy. I love that there are scary moments but Sommers still created a motion picture for most audiences. Like I said, "The Mummy" is a perfect summer movie and as the weather begins to get warmer out. It'll be a good one to catch.

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