Universal/1999/125m/ANA 2.35

     Unwrap the shrouds off your home theater system with the latest incarnation of Universalís franchise horror flick, The Mummy. This time out The Mummy may leave some of itís soulful edge behind, but itís pure fun and mostly successful. A few missteps may keep The Mummy from immortalizing itself in the annals of special effects extravaganzas, but the energy never feels centuries old. The Mummy is not good enough to say youíll either love it or hate it. The special effects vary from frightening to laughable, but they are consistently well done.

Fraser takes on the forces of evil.©Universal

    For the uninitiated, the mummy in question was buried alive many Pharaohs ago for making whoopee with the Pharaohís lady.  You know the old saying about not fooling around where you work. Imhotep, High Priest of Egypt, made the mistake in spades and wound up buried alive. Fortunately, old Egyptian curses seem to provide for resurrection. 
     Jump forward in time to twentieth century Egypt and librarian Evelynís accidental discovery of a map to the legendary city of Hamunaptra. The bungling pretty lady is led by her brother to an adventurer in jail about to be hung for some questionable infraction of the local law. Itís desperation at first site. The lady manages his release after a failed hanging. Thank God for strong necks. When the group of fortune hunters stumbles onto the tomb of Imhotep,
The Mummy rises up in search of his lost lady with a fury unseen in the annals of Mummy flicks. And so the search for the great Pharaohís treasure begins.
     Brendan Fraser goes action hero as Rick O'Connell a soldier of fortune after the loot of Hamunaptra and the lady librarian. Fraser proves himself a worthy action hero mining the most of his burly physique and easy charm.  Itís a winning combination for The Mummy. Rachel Weisz plays the femme fatale with rather less camera chemistry than her male co-star. John Hannah, recently opposite Gwyneth Paltrow as the romantic lead in Sliding Doors, adds a touch of callow silliness as Evelynís reprobate brother.

     The Mummy would have been a better picture if it took itself more seriously yet maintained its cavalier spirit. Some of the humor is unfortunate, especially the portrait of sniveling Beni, O'Connell's nemesis and evil's accomplice. The special effects are more suited to a dark Arabian Nights than to an adventure yarn, but they still look great. Films that poke fun at a genre and still want to preserve some of the genre's freshness often find themselves on a foundation of sand. That The Mummy avoids sinking under the weight of it's own shrouds is a tribute to the energy of the filmmakers. 
     The Mummy casts a DVD spell with razor sharp images, dynamic picture presentation, sparkling color and a Dolby Digital 5:1 surround track good enough to shake the dust off the walls in your home theater. Lots of extras are provided on this outstanding special edition. The second audio commentary from director Stephen Sommers and Editor Bob Ducsay is honest and illuminating.  Add a short about the visual effects work and some entertaining deleted scenes and The Mummy DVD package stands the test of Pharaohís past: itís worth preserving as an example of the best in todayís DVD presentation and technology.


































































































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