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THE MUMMY (1999) - 20th Anniversary
#1
Twenty years ago today (May 7 2019), Universal's reboot of one their iconic monsters debuted.

It's easy to dismiss this as an effects-heavy Indiana Jones knock off (though there's a lot of truth to that). It's easy to let it be tarnished by the increasingly shitty sequels and sidequels it sparked. And it's easy to write it off considering the director's done exactly one movie since then with a similar sense of glee and DGAF. (That would be 2009's delightfully bonkers and dumb GI JOE). 

But dismissing the film is, I believe, a mistake.

Against a lot of odds, this film just works. Sommers deftly (improbably?) balances action, horror, and comedy here; the story never devolves into a cartoon while also never becoming a gory or nightmarish horror story. Casting is, for the most part, spot on: this is peak Brendan Fraser, and his chemistry with co-lead Rachel Weisz is solid. Arnold Vosloo appears to be having a blast running around in a ragged robe and breechclout, while Sommers regular Kevin J. O'Connor is deliciously weaselly and greasy as betraying Benny.

While the film lacks depth, it's horizontal/plot structure and integrity remain strong and surprisingly tight, even on multiple viewings.

Many of the effects hold up fairly well; groundbreaking at the time, most play well even 20 years later. Indeed, this version still plays better than the updated and more expensive version released in 2017 with Tom Cruise. (One exception being the "sunrise" race to the ruins which clearly takes place well after sunrise.)

But more than anything, the film's just a lot of fucking fun: not just funny, but fun. It itches multiple cinematic scratches: pulp adventure, comfortable but enjoyable supernatural thrills, likeable characters we can root for, and it never overstays its welcome.

Lastly (for now): the home video DVD and blu ray releases feature a really great commentary track featuring the director and producer of the film. It's clear that they had a blast making the film, and they share a LOT of behind the scenes tidbits from the production. (Including the fact that Omid Djallili [the warden]'s pants kept busting open during his big bug infestion scene.)

I'll try to say more later but wanted to (hopefully) get a thread going on this.
"Nooj's true feelings on any given subject are unknown and unknowable. He is the butterfly flapping its wings in Peking. He is chaos and destruction and you shall never see his true form." - Merriweather

My Steam ID: yizashigreyspear
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#2
(05-07-2019, 03:47 PM)MichaelM Wrote: Many of the effects hold up fairly well; groundbreaking at the time, most play well even 20 years later. Indeed, this version still plays better than the updated and more expensive version released in 2017 with Tom Cruise. (One exception being the "sunrise" race to the ruins which clearly takes place well after sunrise.)

If you're thinking of the same "sunrise" scene that I'm thinking of, I'm pretty sure that happened in the Mummy Returns, not the Mummy (unless there's also one in The Mummy that I've forgotten).

I'm not so sure The Mummy is underrated or forgotten ... I unapologetically love it, my kids love it, when it comes up in conversation my friends speak highly of it ... it was a great throwback adventure film of the kind we just don't see much of anymore. The Mummy has more in common with Indiana Jones or Romancing the Stone than it does with the horror genre.  Clever script with some fun dialogue (look what I've got ... *holds up cat*).  

Maybe the sequels took some of the sheen off? 

*Also Weisz in this?  MREOW.

**What a year 1999 was for movies, particularly "pop culture" films. Matrix, The Mummy, The Phantom Menace, Fight Club, the Sixth Sense, Blair Witch, Toy Story 2, Iron Giant, Office Space, Austin Powers, Galaxy Quest ... quite the run.

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#3
There are like four Scorpion King movies. It's stunning.
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#4
Love this movie.
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#5
I think how good this movie ended up is probably one of those accidents, everything just clicked in the editing room. The performances and chemistry are all way better than the frankly should be. The cartoon VFX are a great example of aesthetics trumping realism.

Also, the second Scorpion King film is the only movie in history that’s a prequel to a spin off to a sequel to a remake.
Brigadier Cousins on PSN
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#6
(05-07-2019, 04:10 PM)bradito Wrote: There are like four Scorpion King movies. It's stunning.

They did a fifth last year! Starred the brooding hunk from Black Sails. Think he filmed it the same month he starred in the fourth DEATH RACE (not counting the original DEATH RACE).
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#7
(05-07-2019, 04:10 PM)bradito Wrote: There are like four Scorpion King movies. It's stunning.

Egads, Bradito is right!?!?!?!



(05-07-2019, 04:15 PM)Judas Booth Wrote: Love this movie.

That's cause you're a frat bro.

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#8
(05-07-2019, 04:20 PM)Alt-molt Wrote:
(05-07-2019, 04:10 PM)bradito Wrote: There are like four Scorpion King movies. It's stunning.

They did a fifth last year! Starred the brooding hunk from Black Sails. Think he filmed it the same month he starred in the fourth DEATH RACE (not counting the original DEATH RACE).

Are you sure they're not the same movie with two different titles?
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#9
I'm positive. The fifth SCORPION KING doesn't feature Danny Glover as "Baltimore Bob."
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#10
Yeah The Mummy still works for me. I like it as an easy going, swashbuckling adventure movie.

Stephen Sommers just kind of lucked out with Deep Rising and The Mummy back to back.

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#11
(05-07-2019, 04:05 PM)Overlord Wrote: *Also Weisz in this?  MREOW.

Rachel Weisz's performance in The Mummy is the most attractive phenomenon put on celluloid. 12 year old me was pissed as hell when I saw The Mummy Returns in the cinema and the bloody suits had turned her into a sultry, sexy badass.

But otherwise, The Mummy's an absolutely toight film. All the characters are charismatic, and it hits the fun-scary-gothic feel *perfectly* (it's very of a piece with Sleepy Hollow, which I think was the same year?). Jerry Goldsmith's score is fucking breathtaking too.

In a perfect world, all fun, disposable popcorn blockbusters would be of The Mummy's quality.
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#12
(05-07-2019, 05:10 PM)rexbanner Wrote:
(05-07-2019, 04:05 PM)Overlord Wrote: *Also Weisz in this?  MREOW.

Rachel Weisz's performance in The Mummy is the most attractive phenomenon put on celluloid. 12 year old me was pissed as hell when I saw The Mummy Returns in the cinema and the bloody suits had turned her into a sultry, sexy badass.

You'll take the character-shift in The Mummy Returns and you'll like it.

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#13
(05-07-2019, 04:05 PM)Overlord Wrote: If you're thinking of the same "sunrise" scene that I'm thinking of, I'm pretty sure that happened in the Mummy Returns, not the Mummy (unless there's also one in The Mummy that I've forgotten).

Nope, it's in the 1999 film. O'Connell's folks race the Americans and Beni to the entrance to Hamunaptra. It's fucking terrible, because we watch them IN FULL SUNLIGHT waiting for the sun to rise.

Can't find a clip, but it's the first film. 

MUMMY RETURNS might also have a terrible sunrise scene but I don't recall.
"Nooj's true feelings on any given subject are unknown and unknowable. He is the butterfly flapping its wings in Peking. He is chaos and destruction and you shall never see his true form." - Merriweather

My Steam ID: yizashigreyspear
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#14
(05-07-2019, 05:56 PM)MichaelM Wrote:
(05-07-2019, 04:05 PM)Overlord Wrote: If you're thinking of the same "sunrise" scene that I'm thinking of, I'm pretty sure that happened in the Mummy Returns, not the Mummy (unless there's also one in The Mummy that I've forgotten).

Nope, it's in the 1999 film. O'Connell's folks race the Americans and Beni to the entrance to Hamunaptra. It's fucking terrible, because we watch them IN FULL SUNLIGHT waiting for the sun to rise.

Can't find a clip, but it's the first film. 

MUMMY RETURNS might also have a terrible sunrise scene but I don't recall.

In Mummy Returns they have to race to the pyramid before the sun rises.  You can actually see the sun sweeping across the ground while they run.  It's ... ridiculous.

I seem to dimly recall something about the scene you're referencing.   Sommers apparently, for some reason, has a fetish for this oddly specific action sequence!

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#15
The Mummy is fantastic, an atmospheric retro-adventure movie with some great lighting-in-a-bottle fusion between the director and the cast. I'm also really fond of the sequel too. Even Scorpion King has it's moments (mostly due to The Rock being so damn charismatic). Sommers went on quite the run, Deep Rising, The Mummy 1 + 2, G.I Joe (another brilliantly fun film). Even Van Helsing is at least O.K.
There are weapons in my hands, my hands are weapons.
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#16
(05-07-2019, 06:00 PM)Jones Wrote: ...  Even Van Helsing is at least O.K.

You had us in the first half, I'm not gonna lie.

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#17
(05-07-2019, 06:00 PM)Jones Wrote: Even Van Helsing is at least O.K.

I thought that every frame of that film was miserable.

But I'm willing to bet this is fun:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Van_Helsing%27s_Factory
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#18
Count me in on liking VAN HELSING. It's not close to the first Mummy movie but I dug it.

And THE MUMMY RETURNS is peak Weisz.
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#19
Oh alright, it was many many years ago I last saw it, and it's not great, way too long, and a bit too camp. But at least it gave us Hugh Jackman's enormous pimp hat!
There are weapons in my hands, my hands are weapons.
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#20
Hey man I just defended you!
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#21
(05-07-2019, 06:12 PM)Judas Booth Wrote: Hey man I just defended you!

Thank you, I appreciate it.

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#22
(05-07-2019, 06:12 PM)Judas Booth Wrote: Hey man I just defended you!

It's an aggressively fine movie.  I stand by that.  There's problems, sure, but the hat.  That hat!


[Image: 10030893_3.jpg?v=8CE71411C11F350]
There are weapons in my hands, my hands are weapons.
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#23
Well, that was a fun conversation about The Mummy movies that ended immediately.
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#24
(05-07-2019, 07:28 PM)bradito Wrote: Well, that was a fun conversation about The Mummy movies that ended immediately.


Well, for some folks thread headings set forth the ground rules for the topics to be discussed.  

For others? 


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#25
Sorry, guys, VAN HELSING is fucking terrible.

MUMMY RETURNS has one decent segment (the museum resurrection and subsequent bus chase), peak Weisz (as noted by JB) but the rest is complete garbage.

Back to THE MUMMY:

One favorite recurring bit: Jonathan's ongoing struggle to retain ownership of the key.
"Nooj's true feelings on any given subject are unknown and unknowable. He is the butterfly flapping its wings in Peking. He is chaos and destruction and you shall never see his true form." - Merriweather

My Steam ID: yizashigreyspear
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#26
Ninja Evie is definitely a departure from Hot Librarian Evie.
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#27
As far as Sommers goes, I dig The Mummy and The Mummy Returns and G.I. Joe 1 and 2. I know he didn't direct G.I. Joe 2 but he produced it and it feels as much like one of his films as much as Halloween III feels like one of John Carpenter's so I'm counting it. His Jungle Book film is pretty darn great too. Seriously. It's kinda fucked up and brutal. Needs a blu.

He'd be great for an MCU movie.

Has anyone even seen Odd Thomas? How is that?
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#28
Was creepy when the Mummy stole that guys eyes and tongue. The haughty days of Peak Fraser!!

Van Helsing is fucking trash.
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#29
Deep Rising is my favorite Sommers film but I have a lot of love for The Mummy.
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#30
Hmmmm, favorite film that Sommers helped create...


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#31
I look at Fraser's Rick O'Connell as what Ash should've been in Army Of Darkness: goofy and sardonic, but not silly and agressively sarcastic. Also: Molt's totally correct about Gunmen.
Giving money to the studio that keeps enabling Adam Sandler is morally equivalent to Satanic kitten rape orgies. - Hypnotoad
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#32
I saw Gunmen in the theater.

Anyway, back to The Mummy... I also saw it in the theater.
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#33
I saw Odd Thomas. It’s your basic Direct-To-Streaming horror movie. Based on a Dean Koontz book, and it feels like it.

I watched it the week after Anton Yelchin died, and as it’s a film about the inevitability of death and learning to accept it, it had a sort of blithe profundity that week. Doubt that it retained this.

As a Sommers vehicle, it lacks his usual verve and style. It’s no Mummy, basically.
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#34
(05-07-2019, 10:53 PM)DerekM Wrote: I look at Fraser's Rick O'Connell as what Ash should've been in Army Of Darkness: goofy and sardonic, but not silly and agressively sarcastic.  Also: Molt's totally correct about Gunmen.

One of the things I really love about O'Connell (and the writing) is that he does what we'd expect him to do and (literally) doesn't pull punches.

Example: when he finds Beni "hiding" on the ship. O'Connell sort of fucks with him for a couple of seconds, and then just throws his ass overboard. It's a small thing but it's an edge that seems to get sanded off a lot for "heroic" characters.
"Nooj's true feelings on any given subject are unknown and unknowable. He is the butterfly flapping its wings in Peking. He is chaos and destruction and you shall never see his true form." - Merriweather

My Steam ID: yizashigreyspear
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#35
Nothing beats the chair throw.

'Nice shot '
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