Stars: Brendan Fraser, Rachel Weisz, John Hannah
Combine “Abbott & Costello Meet The Mummy”, “Raiders of the Lost Ark”, along with terrific special effects and you’ve got today’s version of “The Mummy” and it’s good. It’s a first rate adventure film with comedic overtones, not a die-hard horror flick, even though it has some rather nasty horror elements.
Brendan Fraser plays O’Connell, the American, adventurer who escorts Evelyn (Rachel Weisz) and her brother Jonathan (John Hannah), two Britishers, to the lost City of the Dead in search of a book and various treasure. A competing team of Americans is hot on the trail. The good guys unearth the tomb of Imhotep, the disgraced Egyptian priest, who got buried alive after defiling the beloved princess of the Pharaoh. Evelyn reads from “The Book of the Dead” which causes Imhotep to come alive and wreak havoc by unleashing the ten classic plagues upon the earth, or at least in this little part of Egypt – locusts, storms, fireballs from the heavens – we see enough to know that Evelyn has made a really big mistake.
Imhotep is out to regenerate himself and thus bring back to life his princess who killed herself 3,000 years ago at the same time Imhotep got dumped in the tomb alive with a hoard of flesh-eating beetles for company. For her part, good old Evelyn will serve as the human sacrifice to help bring back the princess.
Fraser is a very affable performer and does well with these types of roles; Weisz has a certain Ellen Barkin quality about her and played the smart damsel in distress admirably; John Hannah had an attack of classic melodrama overacting but it really wasn’t overly distracting considering the type of character he played – snobby but comical British know-it-all. They worked well together.
The only scene that really bugged me (no, no flesh-eating beetles were beset upon me) was the library scene in which the girl and her brother are introduced. It was quite dumb and they tried to make her out as a super airhead which didn’t play through the rest of the film. She was clutzy, yes, but far from an airhead.
Normally “flip” dialogue (read: “tongue ‘n cheek”) tends to wear itself out fast or else it just isn’t funny at all. But here, it was right on the money, every time.
There’s an battle sequence in the very beginning that’s just excellent and special effects, particularly those dealing with sand, are highly imaginative and executed with impeccable verve.
Lotta says this is a dashingly fun family film.