Flashback Review: The Mummy (1999)

During the 1990’s horror films we’re slowly dying out, but it didn’t stop remakes like Dracula, Frankenstein and Wolf. The three of them manage to make enough money, however they received mixed reviews from critics.

In 1996, filmmaker Wes Craven released a slasher film called, Scream. It became a critical and box office success. The movie encouraged Hollywood studios to give the horror fans what they want with their hard earned cash. Proving the horror genre is back from the grave and ready for fresh blood.

Separate monster movies were remade based on the classic Universal Monsters including Dracula, Frankenstein, Wolf, and I’m not making this up, Dr. Jekyll & Ms. Hyde. Those four films were made outside of Universal Pictures, because the title characters are in the public domain without creating any problems involving trademark infringement.

One remake in particular came out in the year 1999, that remake is none other than The Mummy. The movie was directed by Stephen Sommers, the reason why he wanted to this picture is because the original film with Boris Karloff was his favorite film.

Stephen Sommers once stated he wanted to remake the film in his own vision by turning a horror classic, into an Indiana Jones type of picture as a throwback to classic adventure films. If you own a DVD or Blu-Ray copy, there’s commentary by Sommers about why he did it in the first place.

Fun Fact: Several actors including Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Cruise, Ben Affleck, Matthew McConaughey, and Matt Damon were considered for the part of Rick O’Connell before Brendan Fraser eventually won the role. Guess which actor went on to star in a Mummy related film eighteen years later?

The following review contains no SPOILERS what so ever, feel free to read it. Does The Mummy 1999 still holds up to this day? Well let’s find out shall we?

Positive & Negative Elements

Positive: The Main Cast did an outstanding job portraying their characters including Brendan Fraser, Rachel Weisz, John Hannah, Oded Fehr, and Arnold Vosloo as the titular character A.K.A. Imhotep.

Unlike the original which was horror oriented, the 1999 version has a variety of action, adventure, fantasy, horror, and comedy all in one. It’s a love letter to B Movie horror pictures.

Proper buildup on getting to know the lead characters like Rick O’Connell and his love interest, Evelyn. The title character also gets buildup.

Stephen Sommers did a fantastic job directing the remake. It remains his best work. Too bad he made Hugh Jackman’s Van Helsing a household clunker.

The narrative is influenced by Indiana Jones. Rick is obviously similar to Indy. I never got bored. My eyes were glued to the screen without checking to see what time it is.

Chemistry between Rick & Evelyn felt natural. I didn’t find their interactions boring.

The Action Scenes are filled with guns a blazing, swordplay, and dark magic.

The Set Pieces are historically authentic. Reflecting the film’s time period set in The 1920’s.

Practical Effects were also used for specific scenes.

The Cinematography was good. No gimmicky shaky cam involved.

The late Jerry Goldsmith (Star Trek series, Mulan, Rambo films) orchestrated music for the movie.

Imhotep has a ridiculous but hilarious phobia. If you have already seen The Mummy, you probably know what I mean.

Imhotep’s villain motive is taken from the Boris Karloff version. Remaining faithful to the classic.

The Opening Prologue introduces Imhotep’s origins. Giving us context about his background.

For the first time in a Mummy film, there’s a female mummy. I’m not gonna say who it is, you’ll have to figure it out. This is before Tom Cruise’s Mummy had a mummified female.

There’s a George Of The Jungle reference with Brendan Fraser making monkey noises while jumping on skeletons, plus another scene featuring him with longer hair bearing a resemblance “The King Of The Jungle.” Stephen Sommers hired Brendan after seeing his performance as George.

Negative: For a film released in 1999, the C.G.I. Effects haven’t aged pretty well. It’s like I’m watching a cutscene from a Tomb Raider video game. Not the recent ones, I’m talking about the original PlayStation/PS1 game.

The Final Verdict: A-

I’m gonna be honest with you fellow movie goers, if you’re a major cinephile over classic Golden Age Of Hollywood, please don’t grab your pitchforks and torches. In my opinion, the 1999 remake is much better than the 1932 version due to the positive things on the list. I actually like this direction of the 1999 remake as a breath of fresh air. It’s also my personal favorite Mummy film. If you like a mix of action and horror, I highly recommend it for anyone who haven’t seen it.

Tom Cruise’s Mummy is definitely gonna be a tough act to follow. Will have to see if it has what it takes to live up to the hype.

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