Updated: Oct 22
My son has been really into Mario as of late and he's all about King Boo, or as he calls him, "Boo King." If I'm honest, I prefer his way of saying it. It sounds cooler and it's easier to excitedly exclaim. He's going as Boo King for Halloween and having Dear and me go as his "Boo Children. Also, Dear did an awesome job on the costumes! She is #1! One of the struggles of doing this with a little guy is it can be hard to find entertaining horror or horror-adjacent movies to watch together because he's not there yet. Thankfully, there are movies like...
The Mummy (1999)
I'm surprised I've never reviewed this movie before. I discussed the one from the 30's and the one for the Dark Universe that sadly never got off the ground. Growing up, it didn't matter the time of year, on any given weekend you could turn on TBS on a weekend and this movie would be playing. I'd be curious to see what the ratings were when it would run because it is the perfect movie for channel surfing. There are so many fun set pieces and interesting scenes that it doesn't matter when you tune in, something cool was about to happen.
Brendan Fraser is a rogue who found himself in some hot water with the local authorities after the French Foreign Legion he was stationed with was forced out of the mythical city of Hamunaptra. A brother and sister, Evelyn and Jonathan convince the local magistrate to let him go, saying Fraser can lead them to the city and bring the man untold riches. While on their journey they run into another expedition led by Beni, a man who abandoned Fraser before the battle. During the dig they find the Book of the Dead, and the old saying "Curiosity killed the cat" applies because Evie accidentally awakens Imhotep, a former priest who was shacking up with the pharaoh's wife. Unfortunately, Imhotep has designs on ruling the world and resurrecting his bride through Evie.
That's the plot, but I'm assuming you know that because you've seen this movie 100 times. Recently I decided to give it another look and it's even better than I remember. It's an incredibly fun movie. It's a rare film where every single character is fun and memorable in their own way. Any character the movie spends more than five seconds on is a delight. Even the sleazy official that had Fraser jailed manages to entertain in the limited amount of screen time he has.
I also love the way the movie balances the fun with the horror. It starts as a great adventure movie. You get plenty of swashbuckling action, along with gun and fist fights, it even includes a horse/camel race! When Imhotep gets resurrected and the horror aspects come front and center, the movie keeps its pulp energy. But when get to see Imhotep in action it gets pretty horrific. You don't see him make his kills. The camera pans to the wall and you see the shadow of the person, I'm not sure how to describe it, but it looks like they get the life sucked out of them? It is one of those occasions where seeing the shadow of the kills is more effective than actually seeing it play out. I'm not sure how they could have not made it hokey if we actually saw it.
I need to talk about my favorite scenes because one is hilarious and the other is really funny and clever. The first is the gunfight on the flaming boat. Everything's hectic, people are dying, and bullets are flying everywhere. Jonathan is walking around and sees the group of Americans having a blast. They're firing behind cover, hooting and hollering like this is what they'd hoped for the whole time. Jonathan derisively says, "Americans..." Then one of them turns to Jonathan and starts shooting at a baddie that was right behind Jonathan. Quickly composing himself, Jonathan responds with, "Jolly good show, chap!" It's wonderful.
I also love it when Beni runs into Imhotep. The undead monster sees the weasely character and Beni pulls out a cross on a necklace and says a prayer. When that doesn't work, he grabs another religious object on his chain and says a prayer in that language. Much like the other scene I mentioned, it's incredibly funny and shows what type of person Beni is. He's a slimy guy who believes in nothing other than self-preservation, he will do whatever he can to come out ahead, which ends up being his downfall. He's an antagonist but he's incredibly likeable. He's the architect of his doom, but you feel bad for him when he meets his end because he was so close to getting out of there alive. Plus every time he interacts with it Fraser makes for a memorable moment.
The movie spawned a trilogy and a spinoff starring The Rock in Scorpion King. Plus, the sequel can claim that it was the first movie The Rock was in, setting off a career that would make him a whole lot of money. None of the other movies were able to match the adventure and fun of the original and I didn't care for their son in the sequel. He was too excited about the genuine danger he was in. But this movie, this movie is special. There's a reason it was always on TV, it's wonderful and I've never heard anyone have anything bad to say about it. I've seen it pop up on social media but if I saw the bumper sticker that said, "Honk if you'd rather be watching the 1999 cinematic masterpiece "The Mummy" starring Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz," I would lay on the horn!