Brendan Fraser seems to be a bit down on his luck lately, and no matter how much he reiterates how fine and dandy he is in interviews you can still seem to see an inescapable sadness protruding from behind his eyes, in a similar fashion to Ben Affleck in the now viral Batman vs Superman Sad Affleck interview, and now to top it all off Tom Cruise is rubbing his success in my man Brendan’s face with the cash cow reboot of the classic 90’s hit The Mummy, easily Brendan’s best work, a classic film bursting with character, excitement and adventure which looks like its now been turned into a run of the mill, Egyptian themed Mission Impossible knock off. So, to show solidarity for my Brother Brendan I have decided to veto this 2017 cheap imitation and revisit the classic Mummy saga, minus the 2008 The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor because that one just doesn’t count, no offence Brendan.
Brendan Fraser has made some questionable career choices during his time with films like Dudley Do-Right (1999) & Furry Vengeance (2010) going down like a lead balloon filled with more lead, but he has also starred in some real cult classics like Airheads (1994), Bedazzled (2000) & the family classic George of the Jungle (1997). But it is safe to say, as mentioned earlier, The Mummy is by far his best work, as it allows him to show off his comedic acting chops along with his action hero abilities, which come together greatly as he leads a film of misfits on an enthralling adventure.
The premise of the film is quite simple as they brush over all the potentially complex details which could have come up and made the film into a lot more of a bore, and just leave it as basically a rebellious treasure hunter & explorer O’Connell (Brendan Fraser) gets bought into a hunt for the ancient book of the dead by two historians Evelyn & Johnathan Carnahan (Rachel Weisz & John Hannah) whilst also being joined by some reprobates searching for gold and racing a another group of explorers to the treasure, however during all this they manage to awaken an ancient cursed mummy, Imhotep (Arnold Vosloo), who is sucking the life out of everybody, spreading a plague across the world and trying to bring his old missus back from the dead, no big deal.
The plot does get a bit mixed up at times as the story does sometimes tend to move from one place to another with little to no explanation as to what is going on, most notably in the first act where O’Connell is involved in some sort of big guns a blazing shootout in the desert with little context to it and all of sudden next time we see him he’s locked up in a prison, about to be hanged for “for trying to have a good time”. This in a way works well for the film as it keeps the action rolling and keeps the story light hearted, fast paced & entertaining, but it does also leave you wondering at times about the who, what, why & where of everything, but not too an extent where it takes away from the enjoyment of the film.
What really brings the story to the next level though is the fact that it is a real kooky cast of characters on this adventure, with cowardice, self indulgence, and hapless heroism a constant throughout the film. Making for a thoroughly enjoyable adventure full of goofs and gaffs throughout, particularly from the cowardly Johnathan Carnahan & the sneaky, self indulgent Beni (Kevin J. O’ Conner). This great comedy aspect is cleverly smothered over an action packed story which gets extremely dark at times with people getting there eyes and tongue ripped out, getting eaten by scarabs and getting sucked dried by the cursed mummy. So it is really the perfect mix of comedy and action, which also contains some great practical effects and action sequences very much to the same standard of the classic Indiana Jones films. The CGI however, isn’t all that great and they go abit crazy with it towards the end, but its probably the best the had.
Overall, this film is a real classic treat, with a plot which could have easily been hampered by technicalities made into an easy going adventure with a lovable band of rogues and misfits, mixing comedy and action superbly to make this a film very reminiscent of Indiana Jones & Jurassic Park. So it’s fun for the whole family to enjoy, which will leave your kids with a great smile on their face whilst also having to now deal with an irrational fear of scarab beetles and Egypt.
As Gubby as a juicy 3000 year old mummified corpse.
Surprise, surprise the sequel isn’t as good as the first, after the great fun that was to be had throughout the first outing with Brendan Fraser and his mummy mates, it seems they’ve decided to cut back on the fun aspects of the previous film for The Mummy Returns, along with the simple yet exciting storyline, and instead create a nonsensical, overly complicated story which has just got to be slightly too far fetched for it to be as enjoyable as its predecessor.
We re-join O’Connell (Brendan Fraser) & Evelyn (Rachel Weisz) on another hunt for Egyptian artefacts however, this time round they are now a married couple and have a son Alex (Freddie Boath), an 8 year old son who they seem happy to leave unsupervised a lot of the time whilst they hunt for artefacts, but get butt hurt when he gets kidnapped later on. This time round the plot isn’t as easy to explain, as the title suggests the mummy, Imhotep (Arnold Vosloo), from the first film returns, however that seems to be just a minor detail as this time; O’Connell now has a tattoo which could be some sort of sign that means he is an embodiment of an ancient magic person or something, Evelyn has got high off the Egypt fumes and keeps having visions of Ancient Egypt which she was apparently a part of or is closely linked to, Imhotep’s old missus is now alive in modern day times and trying to reincarnate the version of herself from the past, Alex has put on the scorpion king bracelet so has 7 days to reach a golden pyramid before he dies and the apocalypse begins. That is just scratching the surface as well, so yeah as you could probably gather there is a lot more going on this time round but not in a good way.
Within this stupidly complex story, the comedic aspect, which was one of the main highlights of the first film, is not as consistent, as Johnathan Carnahan (John Hannah) returns but this time is walking on the thin line between being funny, and just being plain annoying, him and Alex seem to lead the comedic forefront which can be funny but gets to be very repetitive humour, the comedic aspects of the other returning characters such as O’Connell is not as commonly seen and is what really leaves the comedic aspects lacking.
The action sequences also seem to have been downgraded this time out, with the CGI effects that were terrible in the first film taking centre stage, and they are still pretty terrible, especially with Imhotep, who is no longer too spooky to handle like in the first film, and is now a CGI mess, along with the Scorpion King whose grand reveal at the end of the film is supposed to be something of spectacle but turns out to be more like a wet fart. The action is also made stupider by the fact that now O’Connell and Evelyn have become some sort of invincible enigmas who are able to escape the bullet storm that comes from 20 or more gun wielding opponents just by making a dash for it without the slightest of niggles or scratches, making for very unexciting action throughout.
Overall, the film becomes too much of a good thing it turns bad and ugly, the plot is hard to keep up with as it jumps from one thing to another, with people time hopping from past to present, chatting historical and magical mumbo jumbo and just really getting very stupid, they have taken the elements of the first film which were great and put them in the backseat, whilst a hundred and one different story arcs all pile in the front causing an unenjoyable mess. There are still glimmers of the good stuff from the first film within the mess but they are rare commodities throughout, which is a shame because if they had just gone on another simple yet entertaining and exciting adventure like the first it would have been bloody great.
Real sorry Brendan, but this is just a Gu.