Sunday, April 1, 2018

Movie #452: The Mummy

The Mummy is an action monster/movie starring Brendan Fraser, Rachel Weisz, John Hannah, Arnold Vosloo, Kevin J. O'Connor, and Oded Fehr.

In ancient Egypt, Imhotep (Vosloo) gets a little too frisky with Anck Su Namun (Patricia Velazquez), mistress of the Pharaoh (Aharon Impale) and winds up undergoing a really nasty cursed burial for his trouble. Fast forward to 1923, and an American member of the French Foreign Legion discovers the resting place of Imhotep, the famed city of the dead. Said American, O'Connell (Fraser) trades this knowledge to British/Egyptian librarian Evy (Weisz) and her grifter brother Jonathan (Hannah), who undertake a mission to loot the place, as is the British custom.

Of course, they do that just as O'Connell's former compatriot Beni (O'Connell, just in case you weren't confused) leads a bunch of American treasure hunters and another British Egyptologist (Jonathan Hyde) to the city of the dead, and long story short, they wind up awakening Imhotep and bad shit ensues. Eventually, O'Connell, Evy, Jonathan, and a truly yummy Medjai called Ardeth Bay (Fehr) have to team up to kill the mummy once again.

So, this is by no means high art. It's campy and schlocky and the CGI hasn't aged well. But for all that, it's one of my favorites. Fraser is a really superb comic/action performer (and what happened to his career truly saddens me). Rachel Weisz is feisty and clever and fun and just so proud of being a librarian. Jerry O'Connell steals the show as Beni, the cheerfully amoral and somewhat ghoulish toady who winds up falling victim to his own greed, and Hannah plays off the other characters perfectly. One of the reasons this movie works as well as it does is that it doesn't offload the humor onto one comic relief character - most of the characters, except maybe Imhotep, get a few laughs in. The chemistry between Weisz and Fraser works and doesn't feel forced, and Vosloo is appropriately menacing as the mummy.

The series fell off as it progressed (as we'll see), but this movie kinda occupies as special place in my heart; it's a movie that watches the way I think Savage Worlds should play.

My Grade: A-
Rewatch value: High

Next up: The Mummy Returns