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Film Review - Mummy, The
It's the return of Indiana Jones! Well, almost. The Mummy reminds you of Jones at every corner, but doesn't come close to stealing the hat and whip. Part Saturday afternoon cliffhanger, part horror movie, The Mummy is about the quest for fortune and glory (Remember Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom?) that drive all adventurers.
The quest happens in Egypt in the 1920s. The Great War is over. Men and women who were swept up in the conflict have now been scattered all over the globe. How are you to keep them on the farm? In Egypt, dig after dig was being pursued, not just for knowledge of ancient Egypt, but for the money. Our hero, Rick O'Connell, may have found an ancient city which is reputed to hold the wealth of the first Pharaohs. After his failure to recover the gold, he ends up in jail for "having too good a time." Enter Evelyn and Jonathan, Egyptologists. Jonathan is a petty thief and has pinched Rick's secret map to the city, and the key to open all the secret stuff. Evelyn is a prim and proper klutz. These two soon discover that they need Rick to find the city for them. The three start a quest, racing against an American team, while attempting to dodge a tribe of desert dwellers who are defending the city (remember Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade?).
Unfortunately, this is about the depth of the characters. Everything in this plot is on the surface. Real motivations beyond simple greed just don't exist. The Mummy itself is a classic villain, but director Stephen Sommers doesn't explore past the base emotions of the character.
This was also my criticism of the character Ra in Stargate. A well written villain can be even more interesting than the hero. For some reason, directors don't seem to care about villains. While watching The Mummy I was under the impression that actor Arnold Vosloo, who plays the mummy Imhotep, had so much more he wanted to put on the screen. You could see in his face that there was more there. Pity the rest of the production didn't allow it.
The Mummy is also about special effects. Industrial Light and Magic enhanced the picture with some great effects, building sand storms, swarms of bugs and the Mummy itself. I hate to say it, but special effects are getting passé. Don't get me wrong. There's nothing wrong with the effects in The Mummy; it's just that special effects aren't so special in this day and age.
The Mummy is a cut below Indiana Jones, but is a fun run through the sand. Just don't go digging below the surface.
Directed by Stephen Sommers
Released in 1999
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Reviewed by Mongo