- Written and Directed by Stephen Sommers
- May 7, 1999
An ancient evil is awakened and now an American adventurer must stop it before it destroys the world.
The original Mummy film was definitely a horror story (at least in its day). The Mummy 1999 was much more of an action-adventure film with horror elements. This was a fun story that could be enjoyed by the whole family that never talked down to the viewer in order to remain family friendly.
Brendan Fraser was the perfect pic for Rick O’Connell. This was the pinnacle of Fraser’s fame (unfortunately). He looked the cocky charmer, and he could channel that well. And as demonstrated here he could handle action. The character has a dash of swashbuckler and the character, much like the film, does not take itself seriously. Rick O’Connell is a bit of a Han Solo type. He is a charming rogue that if you accuse him of something he is probably guilty of it, but he is not that bad of a guy when it comes right down to it.
Rachel Weisz was cast as Evelyn “Evie” Carnahan. She is a clumsy yet brilliant archeologist who is the eventual love interest for Rick. Her desire is to go to Hamunaptra to prove herself. She lives in Egypt with her brother Jonathan (John Hannah) who is charming and conning his way through life.
Oded Fehr plays Ardeth Bay who is the chief of the Medjai which are the Muslim descendants of the Pharaoh’s sacred bodyguards and have watched over and guarded Hamunaptra for centuries.
A special treat for me was the appearance of Bernard Fox as Captain Winston Havelock. Best known as Colonel Crittendon in the series Hogan’s Heroes and Dr. Bombay in Bewitched he was always entertaining and did so much more than what I mentioned here. Havelock is the last Royal Air Force officer stationed in Egypt. On the surface he was an affable fellow, but a few lines here and there let you know he has survivor’s guilt. Apparently just about everyone he served with died in World War I.
And what is a hero without a villain? Arnold Vosloo as Imhotep was great. He created a sympathetic yet threatening villain. Vosloo gave him a special something. His scenes with his love had a motion and the moment when they were wrapping him up in the explanatory flashback you can see the fear in his eyes. And he wasn’t just a resurrected bad guy but he was a resurrected bad guy that was seeking to bring back his true love. He was not goofy or silly. Kevin J. O’Connor as his servant Beni on the other hand fell more into that mold. That is a great cast with a great script that made a great film.
Stephen Summers justifiably has his haters. His movies are not high art. I would say they tend to be low brow entertainment, but I enjoy lowbrow entertainment so I’m not one of those people that will necessarily hates on him. Some are better than others, but he has made enjoyable stuff. This is a great adventure story that he gave us here. It has great action scenes and the right amount of serious offset with the occasional comedy that can go dark.
This film is very reminiscent of the adventure serials/films from way back in the day. I have seen plenty of them and Sommers captured their essence perfectly. Fun and serious with entertaining characters and edge of your seat action and thrills
This is as good of a reboot in its own right as John Carpenter’s The Thing. That film took elements from the original as well as elements from the story and pushed the film concept even more into horror than the original version was. Carpenter understood he could do more in 1982 than could have been done in the 50s with the original film.
Steven Summers understood that it was not really possible anymore to do a Mummy film that audiences would find frightening. You could have shocking moments, but you couldn’t do anything that would be considered real horror, so he did an action-adventure film with horror elements.
This is exactly how you reboot a film concept! This version of The Mummy is a great adventure film that also manages the occasional nod to the original. For example, Imhotep and Anck-Su-Namun are both names used in the original film. Ardeth Bay is an anagram of death by Ra used as an alias by Imhotep in the original film and for Oded Fehr’s character here.
The Mummy 1999 is the rare perfect reboot of an old concept. It tweaked it and turned it into something special that stands firmly on its own and does not leech off of its predecessor while still maintaining elements of its predecessor. This is definitely a watch it.