Wrapped in Adventure (The Mummy, 1999)
In the 1930’s an ancient book has been discovered. with the help of her brother and drunken adventurer Rick O’Connell, librarian Evie Carnahan leads an expedition to locate a lost city and the tomb full of treasures and antiquities. They are racing against mercenary thieves. Both sides have a person who has been to the lost city before(Rick for Evie and the mercenaries have the cowardly Beni). Upon finding the city, both sides set to exploring the tomb they find at the center. Each has a piece of the puzzle, Evie a key to the Book of the Dead, the other group has the Book.
After discovering a corpse that seems to still be fresh, in spite of its age, Evie gets drunk and reads from the Book of the Dead. This sets off a chain of events that could result in the end of the world. On a more personal level, Rick and Evie must find a way to stop Imhotep from using Evie to bring back his beloved Anck Su Namun.
While the Mummy has traditional been a character of horror canon, this film takes a very different approach. Stephen Sommers opts for an Indiana Jones style adventure full of crazy action and special effects. Lighter on the gruesome and elevating comedy, this is a fun film.
It’s heavily reliant on digital effects, and almost two decades later they hold up to varying degrees. It definitely dates the film, and yet, in the end, does not change that it is a pretty solid action movie.
The cast turns in entertaining performances. Rachel Weisz is charming as the beautiful, clumsy and ambitious Evie. Brendan Fraser channels Indiana Jones with swagger and goofball confidence.Sommers regular Kevin J. O’Conner is funny as the duplicitous Benji who ends up helping Imhotep to save his skin.
The film’s approach to the Mummy mythology is nicely thought out, tying Imhotep’s return to the ten plagues that beset Egypt in the Old Testament. The film even connects the oppression of the Jews under Egypt with Benji trying a variety of religious symbols to ward off Imhotep, only for Imhotep to pause when he sees a Star of David.
The Mummy is full of action and humor. It still holds up in spite of the dated effects.