Main cast: Brendan Fraser (Rick O’Connell), Rachel Weisz (Evelyn), John Hannah (Jonathan), Arnold Vosloo (Imhotep), Kevin J O’Connor (Beni), Oded Fehr (Ardeth Bay), Patricia Velásquez (Anck-Su-Namun), and Jonathan Hyde (Dr Allen Chamberlain)
Director: Stephen Sommers
The Mummy is all good fun. Brainless, fast-paced, totally exciting. Evelyn and Rick absolutely sizzled on-screen. But the real surprise here is Imhotep. More on that later.
The story started out with Imhotep and the Pharaoh’s mistress (who went around wearing fishnet see-through costumes) having a tryst and a ball of a time murdering the Pharaoh. The woman killed herself, and Imhotep vowed to restore her to life. Before he could do that, he was captured, mummified and buried alive with some sacred relics required for that reincarnation spell to occur. This mummification scene was totally creepy. Being mummified meant having your brain taken out via your nostrils. Imhotep experienced this while he was still alive. Can you imagine? Luckily this movie didn’t show any graphic horror scenes. I was still a little disappointed at that too, come to think of it. I’m quite contradictory in nature.
Cut to the ‘present’, er, 1920-something, where our hero Rick escapes a skirmish at the evil mummy’s tomb in the city of Hamunaptra. Our heroine finds the clue, a key to unlock the tomb in Hamunaptra that her brother Jonathan bought from Rick. Rick is to be hanged, Rachel saves him from that fate, and let’s face it, the plot isn’t important. What’s important is that Rick, Rachel, Johnathan, and many expandable extras that are obviously doomed to die take off to Hamunaptra. Here is where the fun started. Rachel frees the Mummy, they flee to Cairo, Imhotep the Reincarnated Mummy follows because Rachel is his lover reincarnated, and we all had fun.
Rick is a wonderful devil-may-care explorer hero, in the tradition of Indiana Jones. Spunky, reckless, easy with witty repartees and enough befuddlement when he meets his match in Evelyn, he is a delight to behold. Fit of mind and body, Brendan Fraser slips easily in his role, smiling cheekily as if he knows some private joke I don’t. Evelyn is a wonderful heroine. She may be a librarian on her first adventure, but heck, she isn’t ashamed of it. The scene where, drunk, she declares, “I’m… I’m a librarian!” with such pride and gusto I can’t help but to applaud. John Hannah’s comical skills were underused in this movie, but I’m not complaining. The Mummy is fun, rollicky, and all-so-exciting I couldn’t help but to hold my breath and go along the ride.
Imhotep, oh, he might look like a Billy Zane clone but he was a surprisingly poignant figure. He is doing it all out of love after all. I couldn’t help feeling sorry for him at the end.
Oh yes, the grand finale, which is the one disappointment. After all the tension build-up and thrills, the final confrontation is… this? Jonathan walking around the tomb translating hieroglyphics in bad Egyptian while mummy soldiers trotted out after Rick and Evelyn like those bad guys in a computer game – that is not fun. Worse, those mummy soldiers are like the battery rabbit, coming back again and again and again, totally spoiling an otherwise wonderful summer movie. What a cop-out. The ghostly chariot scene is wonderful though.
My verdict? The Mummy is fun, and apart from the last thirty minutes, I have a wonderful time of my life.