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IN SHORT: Entertaining, but more cartoon than horror flick. [Rated [PG-13]]
Based on the 1932 flick directed by Karl Freund and starring Boris Karloff (from an original story by Nina Wilcox Putnam and Richard Schayer), Stephen Sommers' update is more an Indiana Jones style movie than an attempt to go for a full 1990s version horrorshow. That being the case, Cranky's nephew will be raving kid words like "awesome" when he sees it, 'cuz this flick is so family oriented that the aforementioned six year old will have the time of his life.
With all the graphic violence thankfully shown offscreen (or implied by shadows) there is nothing about The Mummy that will turn your stomach from violence. You get your fair share of monsters, rats and flesh eating bugs, sword fights and gunplay -- all that good stuff that summer movies are supposed to deliver with your ten dollar supersized popcorn and soda combo. The Mummy is an okay family flick that's creepy enough for the boys and romantic enough (in that "rescue the fair maiden" kind of way) for the girls that, despite what might not be captivating enough for us big folks, is certainly enjoyable as a summertime flick.
In 1,719 BC in the Egyptian city of Thebes, a forbidden love between the evil high priest Imhotep (Arnold Vosloo) and the incredibly lovely Anck-Su-Namum (Patricia Velasquez), whose costume is literally painted on (to the delight and heavy breathing of every male breeder in the audience) is uncovered and condemned by Pharaoh. Before the title credits roll, the back story packs in adultery, murder, suicide and resurrection -- all elements of a rockin' action flick. Problem is, once you get past the credits and into the "modern" day (set in 1923) story, director Stephen Sommers' script delivers way too many gags and tongue in cheek one-liners. But is it enjoyable? Definitely.
First came George of the Jungle. Next will be Dudley Do-Right. For right now, Brendan Fraser delivers another cartoon-like character as Rick O'Connell, American adventurer in Egypt. When first seen, O'Connell is in the midst of a frenzied battle at a newly discovered "lost" city -- it's a place called Hamunaptra (the City of the Dead) which is defended by black clad warriors called the Majii. With his American made six-shooters firing twenty or so rounds apiece, and he's carrying four of 'em, count on lots of firepower. When that's gone, Rick runs for cover and accidentally discovers the final resting place of Imhotep which, for some reason, sends the warriors running. [It didn't bother me at the time, but if these warriors have spent 3000 years keeping this tomb a secret, why are they scared off by a statue of an Egyptian god? A minor point. Let's move on.]
Meanwhile, in Cairo, we are introduced to the lovely but clumsy librarian, Evelyn Carnavon (Rachel Weisz) and her ne'er do well brother Jonathan (John Hannah). Jonathan has come into possession of an ancient map detailing the location of the City of the Dead, which leads Evelyn to O'Connell and (Cranky is going to leave out a lot of fun stuff here) and then to Hamunaptra, where another band of Americans, led by the other survivor of the opening massacre, the cowardly Beni (Kevin O'Connor) are looking for gold. What they find is the still decomposing corpse of Imhotep, cursed by Pharaoh and mummified alive. Once wakened, the Creature must find its guts, which have been cut out and stored in five sacred jars, and replace other vital organs, like eyes, by stealing them from the dodo's who woke him in the first place. The next step is to resurrect Anck-Su-Namum, which involves the sacrifice of Evelyn. Then he'll destroy the world. Y'know, the usual.
ILM did the effects,
which include the digital recreations of the cities of Ancient Egypt,
stampedes of flesh eating scarabs, and the early views of the Creature,
who looks a bit like the Cryptkeeper sans hair. They're cool. There's
enough rock 'em sock 'em action to keep anyone who hasn't seen a couple
of these type of flicks happy. The Mummy has the feel of being
pieced together from bits and pieces of what looked good in other action/
desert epic flicks, again it's a distinction that's only apparent if you've
seen a lot of 'em. Cranky could have used a bit less joking and more macho
from Fraser's lead, but nothing about The Mummy bothered me enough
to slam the flick. Kids'll have the better time. Adults will not suffer.
On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Eight Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to The Mummy, he would have paid...
The Kidlets'll put it at $6.50. The Mummy is enjoyable, plain good fun, but it isn't a mindblower for this old mind.
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