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(1999) (Brendan Fraser, Rachel Weisz) (PG-13)

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Horror/Adventure: A group of explorers must contend with an all-powerful and malevolent mummy who's returned from the dead to unleash various plagues and resurrect his long dead lover.
In ancient Thebes, the Pharaoh's mistress, Anck-Su-Namun (PATRICIA VELASQUEZ) and his high priest, Imhotep (ARNOLD VOSLOO) have conspired against their ruler. As a result, she kills herself and he's captured and mummified alive, left to be consumed by carnivorous scarab beetles with the warning that if he's ever exhumed, he'll unleash various plagues upon his liberators and the rest of Egypt.

Thousands of years later, a fierce battle at those hidden Egyptian ruins of Hamunaptra leaves American legionnaire Rick O'Connell (BRENDAN FRASER) and his weasel-like assistant Beni (KEVIN J. O'CONNOR) the only survivors. Three years after that, Rick finds himself in jail set to be executed in 1926 Cairo.

To his defense comes Evelyn (RACHEL WEISZ), a bumbling librarian -- who works for the Curator (ERICK AVARI) of the Museum of Antiquities -- and her relatively inept and boozing brother, Jonathan (JOHN HANNAH). It seems they've heard that Rick knows of the ancient temple, and after bribing the prison warden (OMID DJALILI) to spare the man's life, they set off into the Sahara in search of the ruins.

They're not the only ones heading there, however, as a group of American cowboys -- including Henderson (STEPHEN DUNHAM), Daniels (COREY JOHNSON) and Burns (TUC WATKINS) -- accompanied by an Egyptologist (JONATHAN HYDE) and led by Beni -- simultaneously arrive at Hamunaptra. Once their separate archaeological ventures are underway, they not only discover the still "juicy" mummified remains of Imhotep, but also inadvertently enact an incantation that brings the mostly decomposed mummy back to life.

Realizing that the inhuman mummy needs others' body parts to regenerate his body, and that he wishes to resurrect his long dead lover, Rick, Evelyn and the others do what they can to contend with the malevolent creature and the deadly plagues he unleashes, as well as with Ardeth Bay (ODED FEHR) and his fellow warriors who are sworn to protect the sacred burial grounds from Imhotep ever being released from his grave.

If they're into old-fashioned horror/monster movies or are fans of Brendan Fraser ("George of the Jungle") they probably will.
For pervasive adventure violence and some partial nudity.
  • BRENDAN FRASER plays an adventurous American legionnaire who kills many people in battle, and then does the same to the many mummies who attack him and the others.
  • RACHEL WEISZ plays a confident, if somewhat bumbling librarian and Egyptologist who gets drunk in one scene, but otherwise must contend with the mummy.
  • JOHN HANNAH plays her boozing and mostly inept brother.
  • ARNOLD VOSLOO plays the traitorous high priest who murders the pharaoh and then returns as a vengeful mummy/spirit who kills many people and unleashes various plagues upon the public.
  • KEVIN J. O'CONNOR plays a weasel-like character who allies himself with Rick and Evelyn's opposition and then with the vengeful mummy himself (to prevent it from killing him).


    OUR TAKE: 4 out of 10
    In ancient Egypt, to be readied for the afterlife, one was mummified, a process that involved the removal of the body's organs, including one's brain, a point that's graphically explained in Universal's release and remake of the classic film, "The Mummy." While highfalutin critics and "art house" aficionados will probably describe this film as having a similar, devastating cerebral effect on moviegoers, we think there's a better, alternative way of looking at the film.

    If you can manage to turn off your brain before seeing this picture -- but after you've parked the car and got your change back from the ticket office -- you might just enjoy this mindless excursion into the first of what will probably be many dumb, but big budget extravaganzas wishing to wrap up audiences in their summer offerings.

    There are plenty of bad elements abounding in this film, however, for those critics to have a field day raking it over the coals -- and pulling off its wrappings to better show its many flaws. We certainly won't argue with many of them -- as the acting is often quite bad, the writing and plotting cliched, and the film -- like last year's "Godzilla" that heavily relied on special effects to carry the story -- is neither scary nor adventurous enough to be very memorable.

    Of course, not having a brain will also come in handy helping to ensure that you don't recall or notice the myriad similarities between this film and the Indiana Jones movies. In particular, it most closely resembles the first and best of that series, "Raiders of the Lost Ark," and generously raids its elements as greedily and blatantly as the explorers in this film do the ancient tombs.

    In what essentially could be called "Raiders Lite," the film tries to emulate the adventurous, cliffhanger material found in that film (and the ones to which Lucas and Spielberg were clearly paying homage). As such and beyond the desert archaeological dig setting, there's also a budding romance between the tough, but ruggedly handsome adventurer and the pretty lady -- often with comic undertones.

    Plenty of scenes set in the tombs, also are present where bad things await those who trespass and meddle where they shouldn't, and there's even a scene where a character looks down into a tomb he's about to enter and says, "Bugs. I hate bugs" (whereas Mr. Ford had a similar reaction to the slithering floor in "Raiders").

    More akin to that film than its ghoulish predecessors of the same name -- most notably 1932's "The Mummy" with Boris Karloff as the title character or Hammer's 1959 remake starring Christopher Lee as the old guy in wraps -- this remake's many striking similarities to "Raiders" seriously undermine its efforts before it ever gets a chance to get going. Suffering from unflattering, but inevitable comparisons to Spielberg's classic, the film constantly feels like a "B" movie version of it.

    Beyond not having that grade A, Spielberg touch or feel, the picture also suffers from the mummy being introduced rather late -- about midway -- through the proceedings, and that the film -- like many summer blockbuster wannabes -- relies too heavily on special effects to carry the ball.

    No traditional mummy wrapped in old-fashioned bandages, this computer-generated fella gets the latest special effects makeover, but much like was the case with "Godzilla," that's not necessarily a good thing or much of an improvement. While I never found the old movie mummies very scary as a kid, this new and "improved" version may just scare the pants off little kids if they're allowed to see him, but didn't do much for me.

    That pretty much holds true for the film in general when viewed on an artistic level. While the screenplay -- courtesy of director Stephen Sommers ("Deep Rising") with help from Lloyd Fonvielle & Kevin Jarre -- efficiently moves from one point to the next, nothing special or surprising ever really unfolds.

    Essentially turning into an effects heavy, Egyptian haunted house (or tomb, as it is), the film's scares are of the traditional bogeyman style with things moving behind or suddenly jumping out at people. Once the mummy leaves the realm of special effects and is embodied by a real actor, though, he's anything but scary and did nothing but constantly remind me of the evil high priest in the 2nd Indiana Jones film.

    However, other special effects -- and there are tons of them throughout the film -- range from good to outstanding, and certainly make this film a visually exciting experience and an expensive piece of eye candy at that.

    In addition, some fun moments do occasionally occur and the film does pick up a feverish pace as it races toward its conclusion. As far as mindless, old-fashioned cliffhanger type films go, this one mostly works and delivers the goods in a rousing, albeit quite familiar way. One only wishes, however, that it had more zing, that something special that would make it standout from the crowd.

    Part of the problem also lies with the casting. Beyond the fact that the villain isn't particularly menacing as a human and is all too obviously computer-generated when he's not, the rest of the performers don't have that matinee idol status to propel the film to the necessary level.

    As such, Brendan Fraser ("Gods and Monsters," "Blast From the Past") and Rachel Weisz ("The Land Girls," "Swept From the Sea") are likeable enough, but beyond the inevitably unfavorable comparisons to Harrison Ford and Karen Allen, they just don't have what it takes to carry the picture. Whereas Ford's wisecracking quips in the "Indiana Jones" movies felt right -- especially due to him being a seasoned and rough around the edges explorer -- when they come out of Fraser's mouth they don't.

    Supporting performances are generally okay and deliver what's expected of them, but the talented John Hannah ("Four Wedding and a Funeral," "Sliding Doors") seems wasted in his bumbling sidekick role. A brief highlight arises when Bernard Fox (Dr. Bombay from the old "Bewitched" TV show) appears, but he's likewise underused and doesn't stick around for long.

    Despite the complaints, the film did seem to entertain our audience that was obviously primed and ready for the summer's first big-budget extravaganza. It does have its moments -- both funny and adventurous -- and like a weak version of the various incantations read from an ancient book used late in the film, manages to cast a mild spell over the audience.

    While the film has plenty of problems and its similarities to "Raiders" will draw much criticism and immediately turn off some viewers, the fact that it intentionally strives to be a mindless, but adventurously fun film wards off some of those critical barbs. While we weren't that impressed with the picture overall, we found its escapist qualities somewhat redeeming. For that, we give "The Mummy" a 4 out of 10.

    Here's a quick summary of the content found in this PG-13 rated horror/adventure film. While most adults and teens will probably find the proceedings more campy and adventurous than horrifying or scary, younger kids might just see it the opposite way and have plenty of nightmares if allowed to see it.

    As such, the film evolves in a sort of haunted house type story for a while, and there are plenty of images of mummies (in various stages of decay) chasing and/or attacking humans, and killing some of them. Other scenes involve flesh-eating scarab beetles chasing people in swarms or crawling around under their skin. Due to all of that, violence is extreme, and also involves plenty of human on human violence, although much of it's of the "old school" style where people are shot and fall from their horses, etc... in a non-graphic way and don't bleed.

    Some drinking occurs during the film and a few major characters are briefly seen drunk. Profanity is mainly limited to several uses of "damns" and "hells" along with other words and phrases. The most notable content in the Sex/Nudity category is a woman dressed in a fishnet-like outfit that barely covers her body and shows a great deal of her breasts and butt, and when seen in a long shot, makes her look as if she's nearly nude.

    Since many kids will probably want to see this film, you may want to take a closer look at the listed content should you still be concerned about its appropriateness for them or anyone else in your home.

  • Some of the Americans playing poker drink while onboard a boat.
  • Jonathan finds a bottle of liquor in the warden's bag and takes a drink. Moments later, he drinks more while firing at some assailants and Beni drinks as well.
  • Later, Jonathan seems a bit inebriated and Evelyn is definitely drunk (saying, "Unlike my brother, I know when to say no" but then takes a swig) and eventually passes out.
  • Rick and Jonathan drink shots of liquor and then they and others who are drinking spit it out, noting that it and the water in a fountain have turned to blood.
  • Jonathan drinks from a flask.
  • An American goes to get some food/drink and asks what the other American wants. He responds with many liquor (bourbon) related requests.
  • The many shots of mummies in various states of decay may be gross or unsettling/scary to some viewers.
  • The same holds true for Imhotep's body that's initially described as "juicy" and then goes through various stages where we see mainly skeletal remains, then more fleshy parts, then mostly human looking with gaping, gross-looking holes in his cheek and neck (where we see a scarab beetle crawl from one hole into the other).
  • We see several blistered looking men after acid has sprayed on their faces and arms.
  • We see the bulge of a scarab beetle moving under the skin on a man's stomach and then up his face.
  • A man's eye sockets look strange after the mummy has removed his eyes (we don't see that or the holes, just a bruised, sunken look in his sockets).
  • We see a gory-looking mess of a body after a swarm of scarab beetles attack and partially devour him.
  • Rick and Jonathan drink shots of liquor and then they and others who are drinking spit it out, noting that it and the water in a fountain have turned to blood.
  • We see a dead and somewhat shriveled body, and then see another one in a similar condition.
  • We see many people with boils and sores on their faces.
  • We see a scarab moving under another person's skin.
  • We see the mummy of a woman who has no eyes.
  • Rick cuts off Imhotep's fully fleshed out arm, but the priest simply reattaches it.
  • We see a little bit of blood on a man's hand after he's been run through with a sword and his body then dissolves away in a pool of water.
  • Anck-Su-Namun and Imhotep conspire against and kill their Pharaoh, and later as a vengeful and resurrected mummy, Imhotep kills many people and unleashes various plagues on the public.
  • Beni turns sides on Rick by locking him out of a safe room during a battle, then by joining an opposing archaeological team, and finally by joining Imhotep.
  • A man says about Evelyn and her team, "They're led by a woman. What does a woman know?"
  • The film's many adventurous and violent scenes (whether they be man against man battles or man against mummy ones -- all listed under "Violence"), the many ghastly sights of the many mummies (in various stages of decay and including the main, ferocious one), and the many scenes where humans nervously move through the dark tomb and have things jump out at them may be unsettling or downright frightening to some kids (all dependent, of course, on their age, maturity level and tolerance for such material).
  • The same holds true for a spirit like vision that comes up out of a body of water in several scenes, swarms of locusts and flies, as well as scenes where swarms of scarab beetles either chase after people or enter a person's body (and can be seen moving under their skin). In addition, fireballs rain down from the sky, and in another scene, a huge sandstorm that partially turns into an open-mouthed face chases after a biplane.
  • An American has his glasses broken in a tunnel and can't see the mummy who's moving around him.
  • The entire, many minute sequence where mummies come out of the woodwork (and the ground) and chase after/fight Rick and the others (with them then having to get out of the tomb before it seals them in) may be intense or unsettling to the youngest of viewers.
  • Pistols/Rifles/Swords/Knives/Dynamite: Used to threaten, wound or kill both people and mummies. See "Violence" for details.
  • Phrases: "Broad" (what Rick calls Evelyn in one scene), "Shut up," "Balls" (testicles), "Bugger," "Scared the bejesus out of us," "Bastard" and "Bloody Idiot."
  • Jonathan scares Evelyn with a mummy that pops up as she slowly walks through the museum after hearing some noises.
  • Rick suddenly throws down his bag that startles Evelyn (and some in the audience).
  • An assailant suddenly shows up in Evelyn's mirror.
  • A mummy pops out of a sarcophagus when it's opened.
  • Something passes behind a man in a dark tunnel.
  • A man is suddenly grabbed.
  • A person suddenly touches another person on the shoulder.
  • An extreme amount of scary, suspenseful and action-oriented tense music plays throughout the film.
  • None.
  • At least 10 damns, 8 hells, 1 use of "bugger," 1 ass, 1 incomplete "What the..." and 5 uses of "Oh my God," 2 of "My God" and 1 use each of "God," "God awful" and "Sweet Jesus" as exclamations.
  • Anck-Su-Namun wears a very revealing outfit that shows much of her body, but no explicit nudity. As such, she wears a mesh-like, see-through outfit that covers just her breasts (although her nipples are covered) and other parts (although we see most of her bare butt with just a thin strip of material going down the center). As she walks along and we see a full body shot of her, she appears mostly nude despite the fine, mesh-like material.
  • As Evelyn tries to bribe a prison warden to let Rick go, the warden tells her that he's a very lonely man and puts his hand on her leg, but she stops him.
  • Evelyn shows a bit of cleavage.
  • A guy playing poker smokes.
  • None.
  • Ancient Egypt, the plundering of its ruins and tombs in the beginning of this century, and mummies.
  • Anck-Su-Namun stabs the Pharaoh in the back and Imhotep then slices him with a sword. We then see a silhouette of them stabbing and slicing him (accompanied by the sounds of such). We then see her stab and kill herself when confronted by the guards.
  • There's talk of people being mummified alive and we see a long shot of various people having this done to them with them screaming. We then see guards holding Imhotep's tongue and moving some sort of instrument (perhaps surgical) toward it, but we don't see what happens next. We then see them pour carnivorous scarab beetles into his sarcophagus and then sealing him inside it.
  • A massive battle takes place between two warring parties (with Rick and Beni on one side) and many people are consequently shot, stabbed and sliced to death (although in the old-fashioned way without blood or gore, they simply fall to the ground) and others are hit with rifles, stepped on by horses, etc... With most everyone else dead, several soldiers on horseback chase and finally corner Rick, ready to kill him, but are then scared away.
  • Evelyn smacks her brother after he playfully scares her.
  • Prison guards hit Rick in the back with their clubs. He then punches Jonathan in the face through his cell bars and the guards then hit him some more.
  • Guards try to hang Rick, but his neck doesn't break and he then hangs from the rope (by his neck) until he's eventually cut down.
  • Rick throws Beni overboard from a boat going down the Nile.
  • An assailant holds a sharp object to Evelyn's face. Rick then shoots and kills several other assailants while Evelyn jabs a lit candle into the first assailant's eye who then catches on fire and chases after Jonathan who's just arrived in her room. Others then shoot at Rick and he returns fire, killing three more. Another assailant then punches Rick many times, he in turn head-butts that assailant and then hits him many times as the boat they're on is engulfed in flames.
  • As they're racing side by side on camels toward the lost temple, Beni repeatedly whacks Rick with a stick, eventually causing him to grab Beni and throw him from his ride.
  • Several men have acid sprayed into their faces when they try to remove a large stone.
  • After a scarab beetle has entered his body and visibly crawled underneath his skin, a man goes crazy, races down a hallway and slams headfirst into a wall, knocking himself out.
  • Ardeth Bay's men raid the camp and shoot many explorers, with Rick and Jonathan returning the fire and hitting and presumably killing some assailants. Rick then lights a stick of dynamite and Bay then calls off the attack and retreats.
  • Although we don't see the act, the mummy tears out a man's eyes and tongue to make his own.
  • We see a gory-looking mess of a body after a swarm of scarab beetles attack and partially devour a man.
  • Rick shoots the mummy.
  • Fireballs rain down from the sky and hit several people, catching them on fire.
  • After they see that the mummy has "drained" a man (killing him and leaving his body somewhat shriveled), men open fire on the mummy and it knocks Rick backwards.
  • Rick heaves a chair at Beni that knocks him down. He then grabs Beni and slams him against a wall, then onto a table, and then holds him up close to a fan's spinning blades, all trying to get info out of him. Beni then hits Rick and jumps out a window to escape.
  • The mummy kills more people (either off-screen or seen in silhouette/shadows).
  • Rick and his cohorts drive through a mob of locals who are under the mummy's spell and hit many of them with their car. They then punch and hit those who've jumped on board the car, knocking them off where they hit the street or passing poles. One of the men who's cornered by them then shoots many locals dead, but is then confronted by the mummy (and we hear the sounds of the man being killed).
  • The museum curator slices many locals dead with his sword before he's overtaken and presumably killed by the mob.
  • We learn that a man was killed in a plane crash.
  • Rick shoots a scarab that he's extracted from Jonathan's shoulder.
  • Rick and Bay use machine guns to blow apart many mummies and Bay then slices and fights with many of them. Rick then uses dynamite to kill many mummies.
  • Rick fights with more mummies, cutting many of them to shreds with his sword, while a female mummy tries to stab Evelyn. Rick then cuts off Imhotep's arm, but the priest simply reattaches it.
  • Some guard mummies kill another mummy.
  • Imhotep repeatedly tosses Rick around a chamber.
  • A character is killed when a sword is driven through him.

  • Reviewed May 4, 1999 / Posted May 7, 1999

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