Curiosity is something that influences many of my daily decisions. Much like the astute character played by Rachel Weisz, my desire for knowledge carries me forward. I’ve always had a sort of flirtation with being a scientist, even as a child, though anything that involves investigation and study of information is fun. Which is why The Mummy was a watch based on incredible word of mouth. I had to study it for myself to see if the praise is warranted.
It’s a hoax.
“Dashing legionnaire Rick O’Connell stumbles upon the hidden ruins of Hamunaptra while in the midst of a battle to claim the area in 1920s Egypt. It has been over three thousand years since former High Priest Imhotep suffered a fate worse than death as a punishment for a forbidden love—along with a curse that guarantees eternal doom upon the world if he is ever awoken.”
I understand why this is so beloved. It’s an easy watch, all the characters are likable enough, it has that ’90s cheese that people tolerate from action-adventure blockbusters. Also, it’s from 1999, which means it’s probably very nostalgic for people my age (I never watched it as a kid). All the makings of a pleasant popcorn experience.
One issue: I don’t like popcorn films. While some are better than others, a majority of films like The Mummy have generally made me squint. Alas, all the hype surrounding this film made me at least consider that, maybe, this would be different! Brendan Fraser is pretty cool! Rachel Weisz is pretty cool! To no surprise, they were the best part of the film for me (specifically Weisz). Everything else? Eugh.
Such is the detriment to something being an “easy watch.” The writing to this picture is really straightforward, easy to predict, and, by consequence, cliché. Many narrative trappings persist within the progressing conflict, interaction between characters, and nature of objectives. All this led to a very boring product. I yawned and checked my watch multiple times throughout.
Action is another genre that I tend not to like very well. Everyone drools over John Wick as some cinematic action marvel, yet I thought it was passable at best. Something about gunfights and car chases and fancy fights don’t do much for my amusement gauge. They need to have something behind it—motivation to care about the stakes, the characters, the… anything. Wasn’t much in John Wick, and there wasn’t much in The Mummy.
Fraser and Weisz have some chemistry. I will admit that one scene, where Weisz’s character is drunk and being vulnerably silly, was nice to watch. Priorities in action-adventures are obviously indifferent to silly character interaction that pulls them closer to one another like gravitational force. Perhaps that’s why I didn’t like this; perhaps if I cared at all about anyone onscreen more than their surface appeal I wouldn’t yawn.
There also exists some Disney-esque “family friendly” coat of comedy to it that I didn’t agree with. Kooky behavior and cheesy jokes and writers clearly having a good time. Leave it to a dullard like me to bring down the mood. Not much to this was charming to me, whether in terms of action, adventure, or comedy. There are plenty of films that have done a lot of these qualities better, particularly Indiana Jones, which this was likely inspired by.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a review without mentioning the atrocious CGI. Yes, it did not hold up well. No, the effects were not that scary (didn’t stop them from attempting several jumpscares, though). Yes, it broke whatever immersion I had of the film at the points where things were becoming supernatural. This is expected, however. Old CGI will never look good after a certain point. This film just happened to have… a lot of it.
Solely for people who like cheesy action-adventure films with hot characters. Not especially clever in execution and its characters are only serviceable, occasionally wishing to express themselves more during slower, more intimate scenes. Just not for me at all.
Final Score: 4/10
The rating for all other films can be found at Letterboxd.
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One thought on “Day Twenty-One: The Mummy (1999) (March of the Movies 2023)”
Eh, live and let live, like and let like. 😉