Tuesday, 26 March 2013

The Mummy (1999)

After many many different ideas and approaches a final concept was agreed upon and this franchise was kick started, note...I really will try not to mention Indiana Jones too much.

A very loose remake of the classic Karloff horror film this was completely re-imagined and given the Indy treatment with minor horror aspects. To be honest the film is actually a little scary in places with a few jump moments, bugs eating people and getting under their skin and lots of decaying mummies with good close ups, like 'Raiders of the Lost Ark' the film achieves the family adventure status despite actually being close to the bone here and there.

The film of course had dated now and the effects that were break through for the day now look pretty dreadful in places, the CGI on the main mummy is dire, bluescreen work is obvious, sets are obvious and the sand effects also look poor. This is of course looking at the effects now, as I said back in the day they were pretty neato, the best examples that still actually look good today are probably at the finale battle with a group of Egyptian mummy soldiers and some real time models, suits and makeup, the severed forearm crawling for the sword is a good 'Evil Dead' moment.

I always did hate the way Imhotep turned into a mini sand tornado for his vanishing act and kinda flew out the window, really nasty video game effects and idea there, looked dumb then...looks dumb now.

The plot is cheesy and simple as are most of the performances, you can easily tell who's gonna die right from the start because most of the character actors here are the usual cannon/monster fodder in other films. I know the film is suppose to be a kind of homage to B-movies and those old daring black and white adventure matinee flicks but the cast do really give the film a rough n ready feel, its almost as if they couldn't attract anyone else. Everyone is pretty well cliched to the hilt here with your toff sounding British accents, trigger happy yanks, the horrendous Kevin J. O'Connor, the odd but well cast Vosloo who plays it deadly straight and a nice little turn for British comedian Omid Djalili in a rather stereotypical role.

Its definitely one of if not the best period adventure type flicks that can hold a candle to old Indiana Jones. The only other few films that can challenge Dr Jones in my opinion are 'The Rocketeer' which would be a flying Indy and probably 'The Phantom' and 'The Shadow'. Looking back is was a good fun ride, nowadays its still fun but more like a bad video game of sorts. I think they tried too hard and went over the top with all the guns, stunts and stuck in too much slapstick, sure it was meant to be a blockbuster (and that's its problem really) but less is more right.