The Mummy (1999)

Rating: ****
Release Date: 5/7/99
Director: Stephen Sommers
Writer: Stephen Sommers
Music: Jerry Goldsmith
Cast: Brendan Fraser, Rachel Weisz, John Hannah, Oded Fehr, Arnold Vosloo

This film really ambushed me. It's a thoroughly enjoyable and gorgeous, but goofy, adventure comedy the likes of which I haven't seen since the 1950's and 1960's. Fortunately, the film doesn't take itself very seriously, and that's immediately apparent - you know you're in trouble when a film begins with nearly ten minutes of expository narration. Basically, a group of treasure seekers break into an ancient Egyptian crypt and unleash a nasty mummy with supernatural powers who has intentions of global destruction. Naturally, a lot of people die and our heroes must figure out how to stop the creature. Brendan Fraser elegantly stumbles through the film with his own goofy charm that more than once made me feel like I was watching "Kull The Conqueror" (1997). Adorable Rachel Weisz is on hand as the requisite book-smart babe and oh-my-god is she something to look at. Whew! Then there's my favorite character, Ardeth Bey (Oded Fehr), who is the leader of a band of desert dwellers that protect the mummy's crypt. He is very cool and extremely sexy. The film steals nearly every horror film and adventure film cliché, and pays homage to the "Indiana Jones" trilogy as well as many other adventure films. But where the film really shines is in the outstanding special effects work. Holy crap, there is some really cool stuff going on in this movie, and probably the piece that sticks out the most in my mind is Brendan Fraser fighting off a horde of computer animated mummies. It's extremely reminiscent of Todd Armstrong's classic skeleton battle in "Jason And The Argonauts" (1963), and modern technology does wonders to spruce up the overall effect. Fun and exciting, this is stupid campy entertainment at its best.