Wielding two revolvers, dodging traps, adventuring though ancient Egyptian temples, fighting enemies which range from possessed humans/cars/lemmings to deadly black scarabs which really get under your skin, and dark brown hair that still looks good at the end, this is The Mummy.
Written and directed by Stephen Sommers, The Mummy has revived the old Egyptian myth genre, full of its tombs and traps best shown in the Indiana Jones films. Starring Brendon Fraser as the gritty American hero (Rick), Rachel Weisz as the Egyptologist and his virgin love interest (Evelyn), and John Hannah as the stupid bumbling Englishman (Jonathan), these characters go as well together as the script allows, which is not good, for the script is terrible. All the acting is pretty bad, and the bumbling Englishman is overdone and gets annoying.
After a short 'Previously in Egypt' scene we are brought into the 1920s where the story sees Rick discovering the Hidden City of Hamunaptra showing two English archaeologists how to get there before the Americans and then reading the Book of the Dead1. This brings the Mummy back to life and thus goes around looking for parts of his mortal body. Any he can't find he takes from others while releasing flies from his mouth and trying to bring his dead girlfriend back to life.
The opening history is a nice touch and suits the film. By setting their own past events beforehand, the producers can create whatever mythical Egyptian fantasy they wish, without those taking courses in the subject getting offended. Its confusion between a form of shocker/comedy, however, is not clearly defined and disrupts the flow of the film in places. One example of this is the library scene which must have been done in a Carry On2 film which is then contrasted by whenever the Book Of The Dead or curse is mentioned, there is a sudden howl of wind in the dead desert air and the camp fire burns brighter, though after the number of times this occurs, Fraser comments, 'That happens a lot round here'.
The special effects are excellent, especially the Mummy and the sand storm scene, however, they do go over the top as the film progresses. The action comes hard and fast, with well paced 'fill-in' scenes and however bad the script is, the direction is good, even with slight Hitchcock influences, such as the very powerful death scene when one of the good guys has his life drained by the Mummy is seen entirely as his shadow on the wall. The effect is great and, in fact, all of the death scenes are excellent each evoking new intrigue and disgust as they take place on screen, yet blood is never shown.
A real no brainer, The Mummy is perfect to sit down with a load of mates and just enjoy. Those into ancient Egypt will love the re-creation scene at the start of the film. Its good fun with great effects and music and will easily fill a spare hour and a quarter.