It’s formulaic, cheesy, and rips off “Raiders of the Lost Ark” like nobody’s business. Yet one can’t help but have a fun time watching the FX-filled updated version of “The Mummy” which is under no assumptions to be anything more than a popcorn flick – probably why its entertaining. Starting with a flashback to ancient Egypt, the exciting visuals and painted skin costumes (that priestess – hubba hubba) are ruined by a really corny voiceover.
Flash forward to a confusing fight scene and one can’t help but wonder is there a story to this. Thankfully it starts after that and proceeds at a good pace. Brendan Fraser plays the wisecracking Han Solo type of hero character and does a surprisingly darn good job at it, but its Rachel Weisz who steals the film as the upper class English chick who takes what could’ve been your plain female sidekick role and gives it a good dose of assertiveness – proving to be at least an equal to Fraser’s less intelligent, but more world-weary soldier.
The rest of the characters fits stereotypes so closely it feels unusual – gun happy Americans, stiff snobby Brits, smelly and evil scheming Arabs, the list goes on. The FX for the most part are very impressive though at times do seem a bit too CG-ish, especially relating to a ‘spirit emerging from a pool’ scene which happens twice in the film.
Nevertheless they really do help update the title character who in previous films was just a slow walking pile of bandages. This mummy is an organ sucking, decaying flesh beast able to control the elements, change into a swirling mist of sand, and induce plagues. Why he does what he does is a pretty flat romance story which never develops, but who cares – we want to see some carnage and action and we get it. As both trash and adventure films go its good, there are plenty of better and plenty of worse examples.