Saturday, October 9, 2010

Rags and Bones

Director: Stephen Sommers
Writer: Stephen Sommers
Starring: Brendan Fraser, Rachel Weisz, Arnold Vosloo
1999 | United States | PG-13 | 125 mins

When Stephen Sommers decided to revamp Universal's original The Mummy starring Boris Karloff he wanted to keep the look of Imhotep from those first few minutes of the original where the mummy is actually bandaged, decayed, and symbolizing death. Because for the rest of the original picture, after that first scene, it's just an 'aged' Karloff wearing a cap. So with this new version of The Mummy, Sommers wanted that spectacle and horror that goes along with the look of a mummy. And not only that, but he wanted it as a full blown action-adventure a la Indiana Jones.

An English librarian (Rachel Weisz) fascinated with Egyptian history and mythology receives a treasure from her thieving brother (John Hannah) which happens to be a key, containing a secret map, to the lost city of Hamunaptra. Teaming up with an adventurous American (Brendan Fraser) serving in the French Foreign Legion to find the lost city, the trio embark on an archaeological dig which results in resurrecting a three-thouasand year-old mummy (Arnold Vosloo) with unfinished business.

The Mummy is a sprawling, exciting, and often funny action-adventure romp with just the right amount of horror elements to keep the mummies scary. Taking after the action-adventure archetype that George Lucas and Steven Spielberg crafted with the Indiana Jones films, Stephen Sommers successfully fabricates this new version of The Mummy around that archetype. Constantly entertaining the film features great set-pieces, fun performances, and some great scares using its Egyptian setting. Brendan Fraser, Rachel Weisz, and John Hannah must have had a blast making the film as it shows on screen. Arnold Vosloo is also entertaining as Imhotep, the High Priest seeking evil vengeance.

Unfortunately some of the CGI hasn't held up very well since The Mummy is already over 10 years old, but it still doesn't detract too much from the action taking place on screen. Industrial Light and Magic had quite a task creating all the visual effects, but even outdated as the effects are they are still quite inventive. The Mummy is a blockbuster-esque epic that succeeds at completely entertaining; providing both action, laughs, and horror. It's may not be high art or true-to-the-genre horror, but it sure is two hours of pure escapist fun worth revisiting.

All contents copyright 2010 Tyler Baptist

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