The Mummy (1999)
April 26, 2024 6:16 PM - Subscribe

At an archaeological dig in the ancient city of Hamunaptra, an American serving in the French Foreign Legion accidentally awakens a mummy who begins to wreak havoc as he searches for the reincarnation of his long-lost love.

The Mummy is a rousing, suspenseful and horrifying epic about an expedition of treasure-seeking explorers in the Sahara Desert in 1925. Stumbling upon an ancient tomb, the hunters unwittingly set loose a 3,000-year-old legacy of terror, which is embodied in the vengeful reincarnation of an Egyptian priest who had been sentenced to an eternity as one of the living dead.

Emma Stefansky: Evie isn't the type to pick up a gun and start shooting, or a sword and start slashing (she does become a badass in the second movie, but we're not talking about that one). As she says in one of the movie's best scenes, she is a librarian, and she's proud of that. It might not look like a particularly exciting life to be shut up in dusty buildings all day squinting at scrolls of semi-illegible text, but that's what Evie loves, and, when they finally try un-resurrecting Imhotep for good, it's her translating skills that come in handy over and over. Evie is brilliant and funny and loves adventure, and content to leave the punching and kicking to the musclebound bros in her life, stepping in to save everyone's ass at the most crucial moments. At the end of the movie, she's never treated as Rick's reward for doing a good job -- if anything, he's hers. If that's not the pinnacle of cinema, then I don't know what is.

Vanessa Bogart: In getting ready to write this article, I sat down to watch The Mummy for the first time in...well, a couple months. What I realized watching it with my writer-hat on was this: The Mummy has a lot of heart. It begins like a Disney movie, with a voice over narration telling you a classic tale, but re-imagined for kids that have started realizing that they want an adventure with a little more oomph. In the first five minutes, you already have a salacious affair, some very impressive body paint, murder, and mystic lore. You know, everything a growing kid needs.

The Mummy has all of the qualities of a story book. It is an action-horror-fairytale of good versus evil, and it doesn't shy away from explicitly laying it all out for you. Honestly, I don't know how many more 'these lands are cursed,' 'you mustn't read from the book', and 'most have never returned,' comments you can fit into one movie. It follows a reliable, and comforting, structure, with the characters sliding neatly into several archetypes.

MaryAnn Johanson: You know that fourth Indiana Jones movie for which we’ve been waiting ten years? Well, here it is. From its wowser of an opening in ancient Egypt to the spectacular finale featuring an army of reanimated, bandage-dripping soldiers, The Mummy is a totally enthralling, nonstop thrill ride, the best popcorn flick in years, the purest fun I’ve had at the movies since I can’t remember when.

posted by Carillon (11 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I would have sworn this was posted before, particularly as I posted the 2nd one, which while fine, is not the one I would had posted has this still been free.

Just as a quick heads-up, if you love this movie like I do, they 25th anniversary is happening right now, and you can see this in theaters! We just did last night and it was wonderful.
posted by Carillon at 6:20 PM on April 26

I started watching this not knowing it was a comedy, and that made it sooooo much better.
posted by abraxasaxarba at 6:32 PM on April 26 [2 favorites]

'these lands are cursed'

"What is it with you and curses? 'This is cursed! That is cursed!' You aren't happy without a good curse."

Oh, wait. That was from the second movie.

What a great cast! I particularly like John Hannah as Jonathan Carnahan, who is like Bertie Wooster wandering in from another movie.
posted by SPrintF at 8:35 PM on April 26 [5 favorites]

This is one of my ultimate comfort movies. I don't think I'm exaggerating if I say I've seen it a hundred times.

I didn't want to watch it at first because when it came out, it looked scary! And I was still kinda young! But then some friends insisted it was fun and not a horror film, so I reluctantly agreed to watch it. And loved it.

I ended up so obsessed that I audio taped the DVD so I could listen to it in my room (we only had one TV in the living room, and my parents wouldn't understand my need to rewatch this movie over and over and over). It was the early aughts, and itunes/youtube/streaming wasn't a thing. So I literally had my little hand-me-down tape deck set to record while the DVD was playing, and when the tape ran out, I would pause and reload the audio cassette. When I rewatch the movie now, I still instinctively know where one of the tapes would stop and I had to flip it: "Oh my god, it's a sarcophagus... buried at the base of Anubis."

To be fair, this is a very quotable film, even for someone who didn't spend a summer memorizing it (I wish I knew what happened to those tapes!). I mean, how else will you greet someone except by shouting, "Hey, O'Connell! It looks to me like I've got all the horses!" only for them to respond, "Hey Beni! Looks to me like you're on the wrong side of the ri-verrrr!"

Also the Ultimate version of the DVD has the Brendan Fraser commentary, which is delightful, and was the first DVD commentary I ever listened to, and which proceeded to ruin me for all future commentaries because very few were as fun and informative. I'm sad that I can't find it digitally. Maybe I should dig out my old tape deck and record it, ha.

Anyway, I am going to see it again in the theater next week in honor of the anniversary! I go every year to my local Alamo Drafthouse for the movie party so it's not quite that special. But any excuse to see The Mummy on the big screen is a good enough excuse for me.
posted by paisley sheep at 9:27 PM on April 26 [9 favorites]

Also! Combat hieroglyphics! It's so fun, a great cast, and it has enough horror and suspense, without spending too long marinating in that feeling.
posted by Carillon at 9:30 PM on April 26 [1 favorite]

I adore this movie so much. It's one of my comfort movies that I will watch over and over again, with great contentment.
posted by maryellenreads at 7:58 AM on April 27 [1 favorite]

It's no 'Talos: The Mummy'
posted by Jessica Savitch's Coke Spoon at 1:24 PM on April 27

Are we talking about the Hamunaptra?

I love this movie. It has scary bits, but not too scary, and the funny bits are really funny and there is a cat and the only issue I have with it is that Beni doesn't live (he's the sort of weasel who will slime his way out of anything. I was legitimately surprised that he never made an appearance in the sequel).
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 4:30 PM on April 29 [1 favorite]

I won free cinema tickets (at a specific multiplex) for a year in 1999. I saw practically everything that was released in cinemas that year, but The Mummy got the most rewatches. It's just so much fun and age has done little to reduce that fun.
posted by slimepuppy at 3:26 AM on April 30 [1 favorite]

To be fair, this is a very quotable film

I... am a librarian!
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 3:53 AM on April 30 [2 favorites]

Just wanted to drop on and say thanks for this thread, and especially Carillon for pointing out it was in theaters. This is a friend's favorite movie (something like 30 viewings), and she had no idea it was playing. She took her 13 year old, and they had a great time.
posted by Gorgik at 10:26 PM on April 30 [1 favorite]

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