Revisiting the old.
After watching the physics-defying pile of piss 2017 mummy movie we decided to check out the old classic. The story is similar in many ways, and I had actually misspoken when I said I thought the new one wasn’t trying to be this version of the film.
Anyway, The Mummy is all about—wait for it—a mummy come back to life and now wishes to exact his revenge on the world. Rick O’Connell (Brendan Fraser) takes the lead as a charismatic ruffian who leads Evelyn Carnahan (Rachel Weisz) to a lost city of Egypt where the treasure of the Pharaohs (and the mummy) rest.
The movie is a charm fest, and pours on the silliness with sides of action and snarky dialogue from all of the characters. For a straight-up adventure flick, this one holds up surprisingly well. The special effects are showing their age, but not as bad as I had expected they would. The narrative moves at a quick enough pace for us to feel like we know the characters.
It is somewhat odd watching this movie now. We have Muslim characters who are good and bad, smart and silly, competent and a joke. Being pre-9/11 there are a lot of moments that might feel antiquated to current audiences regarding race, gender, and class, but it feels different. When a character says “Praise Allah” in this movie it is only done to signify that they are local to Egypt, not to code a scary Muslim (as is the case with so many movies now). Despite some shortcomings on social awareness, this film might be more progressive than many current stories. I don’t know if this will add or detract from your viewing pleasure, but it stood out to me.
I have stated that I do not mind remakes as much as a lot of people seem to currently. However, as I watched the 2017 film, I could not help but wonder why they chose this narrative to remake. The Fraser film holds up quite well, and is more enjoyable by about every metric imaginable.
The movie is not perfect though, and there are some odd decisions made throughout. First, there are simply too many characters at the beginning. Granted, the movie thins the herd rapidly, but it is somewhat difficult to keep everyone straight. For example, I don’t think I could name any of the American characters (aside from O’Connell) without the aid of a wiki or IMDB.
I like the style of the film. It is over-the-top and leans heavily on multiple genres. The zoom in on the character’s eyes when something scary might happen reminds me of old horror from yesteryear. We get several shots of characters with chaos happening around them (sometimes they are drinking during the fights), and there is often a lot happening in the background. The sets feel alive because of this, and as the mummy begins to curse the land the adventure picks up a good speed.
The film is an adventure-romance-comedy, and it will blend these three genres at a nearly constant pace. If you’re the type who doesn’t like a lot of cheese in your action you will probably not enjoy this film as much. For me, this is one of those movies that is simply a fun time. It won’t make you think about much afterword, and that is okay. For a good popcorn flick that most people will find something to enjoy about, this one certainly hits the mark.
Seriously, watch this one instead of the new one. 7/10