Get the new FREE JFH METAL MP3 compilation -- Vol. 3!
Get the new FREE JFH METAL MP3 compilation -- Vol. 3!

The Mummy

Rated PG-13 - for pervasive adventure violence and some partial nudity.

Director: Stephen Sommers
Starring: Brendan Fraser, Rachel Weisz, Arnold Vosloo, John Hannah, Oded Fehr, Kevin J. O'Connor, Patricia Velasquez
Running Time: 2 hours, 4 minutes
Theatrical Release Date: May 7, 1999
25th Anniversary Theatrical Re-Release Date: April 26, 2024
Buy/Rent It Prime Video


Plot Summary

Rick O'Connell (Brendan Fraser) leads a group of explorers, and treasure hunters, who accidentally awaken a cursed mummy after 3,000 years. Now they must stop this mummy's rampage of death and plagues before he can resurrect his lost love and begin a reign of terror.

Film Review

The Mummy is a rather bizarre film that consists of an odd mix of moods; containing campy humor, grotesque mummies, eerie tomb scenes, and disgusting flesh-eating bugs. Sexual content is almost non-existent (aside from some partial nudity due to a woman donning only paint), the language isn't too bad, but the gore is rather high. I have to say that this may have been the most intense movie I've seen to date. I couldn't sit still, and the suspense really grabbed me. One criticism about the movie, storywise, is that the movie changed its tone too much. From a really high-intensity opening that revealed the fate of Imhotep -- who becomes the mummy -- to a goofy scene where Evelyn (played by Rachel Weisz) is working in a library and falls off a ladder, knocking over every bookcase in the room, the movie just doesn't seem to be really certain whether it wants to be horror or comedy. But the intense scenes balanced the campy ones. There was no Matthew Broderick running like a 5-year-old who had wet his shorts fleeing from a big monster (like last year's Godzilla, of course). Instead, the movie knew when to get serious and knew when the audience would need a laugh. And because of this, director Stephen Sommers was able to go to extremes on both ends of the spectrum several times.

The Mummy (1999)
For me, the worst part of the movie happened to not be the decaying mummies (not that those weren't grotesque, because they were), but those pesky little scarabs. They're these flesh-eating beetles that crawl under the skin and cause an unpleasant demise. There are two scenes where they show a scarab burrow under someone's skin and both have pretty good warnings (for those of you, like me, who won't want to see those scenes). In the first scene, the short, plump prison warden who Evelyn bribed to save Brendan Fraser's Rick, steals some priceless-looking mummified beetles. One of those mummified beetles decides to hatch and the scarab emerges and crawls into his boot, then up his body, crawling under the skin (and they show it in what feels like a mercilessly long sequence). The second time, Evelyn's brother Jonathan holds one of those mummified beetles in his hand and it hatches and enters his arm before Rick rips it out with the flick of his knife. But the other really gross scenes come when the computer-animated mummy is walking around partially decayed. As he kills the people who set him free, he sucks the life out of them --leaving their ghastly shriveled up bodies-- and you see the various stages of his decay improve, till he's half-human, half-decayed (with holes in his skin where scarabs sometimes even come out). In another gross scarab scene, a swarm is chasing people through the temple and a slave falls and the scarabs overtake him. Soon, all we see left of him is a gory mess of a carcass. Yeah, it's pretty nasty.

And as if all of that isn't obvious, the film is still very, very violent. But although people get shot and sliced and stabbed throughout the movie, there's almost no blood. There's a big battle scene in the beginning that is quite violent, but no blood is ever shown. And in another scene, the group of main characters are escaping the mummy and his zombified Arab followers in a car, and they are blocked by a mob in a trance chanting his name. Our heroes then decide to drive through the crowd, which throws bodies everywhere (there's no blood, but it's indeed violent). Later, one of the characters stays behind to fight off the mob with a sword while the others escape, and slices at the zombified masses. Finally, in the climax, Rick and others shoot a series of mummies, blowing them apart into pieces. Stuff like this is just ridiculously violent, but not particularly bloody or gory - but it's enough to seem over the top as well. Even though when people are eaten or sliced or shot or cut and you don't see it, you still hear it, and that tends to be just as effective. Quite honestly, this movie probably should have been rated R.

The Mummy (1999)
In the beginning of the film, Anck-Su-Namun is shown with Imhotep, briefly, and all she is wearing is paint on her body. A black mesh-like design is painted on her body, which is also painted gold, revealing most of her figure as she's virtually nude with just paint on. It's not entirely obvious or especially sexual, but it's still sensual enough.

Believe it or not, as a whole, I still liked the film. It's tough, because the characters - especially Brendan Fraser's Rick O'Connell - are really fantastic. It's just that the content is often so ridiculously intense. Most critics didn't like the film and relentlessly compared it to Indiana Jones, but I think the movie held its own enough to stand apart from the famous hero. The Mummy is adventurous, suspenseful, scary and creepy, but also very much entertaining.

The Mummy (1999)
Overall, Sommers' remake of The Mummy is pretty good, but due to the gore and creepiness, I can't really recommend it with a clear conscience. I advise exercising strong caution before seeing this film. Also, the whole Egyptian mythology is a big part of the story. And when Imhotep tries to raise his deceased love, there's plenty of mystical Egyptian spirituality to make some squirm. However, in the end, it's a classic tale of good versus evil (and you can bet which one wins). Read all the content details at the bottom of this page carefully. It's a rough flick and NOT suitable for young kids (or even some adults).

- John DiBiase (reviewed: 5/9/99 and updated 5/10/99; Re-edited 4/25/24)


Theatrical Re-Release Review

It blows my mind that it's been 25 years now since the release of Brendan Fraser's box office hit version of The Mummy. Since its release, two mediocre sequels, and a 2017 reboot starring Tom Cruise, have come and gone, but nothing quite fell into place and clicked as well as the 1999 film. I saw it in the theater as a teenager and found it to be pretty intense for my still sensitive viewing eyes. (You can read that 19-year-old's viewpoint above if you wish, but I'll reiterate many of those points here as well.) To be fair, I still try to steer clear from super intense movies (especially of the rated R persuasion), but I admit I've definitely become more desensitized in the past two-and-a-half decades.

The Mummy (1999)
With that said, I was pretty eager to see 1999's The Mummy in a theater again. It's one I've since obtained on DVD and then Blu-Ray, and have revisited several times over the years, especially during the "spooky movie season." Even rewatching this movie again... there's just something about the tone of this movie that works for me. There is an endless string of quotable lines and one-liners throughout its runtime, and Brendan Fraser turns in a great fun, and a little campy - yet still cool - performance as the action hero, Rick O'Connell (Again, something that couldn't quite get recaptured right in the sequels). Rachel Weisz is also absolutely adorable and lovable as Evelyn -- a geeky librarian who has a great knowledge of all things Egyptian, and is a perfect romantic match for Rick. There is also a wonderful production feel to the movie that makes the 1926 setting feel "just right" - and a lot like an 80's Indiana Jones film. In fact, at the time of its release, The Mummy got slammed for being an Indiana Jones rip-off. It's sad, too, because I still don't think it's so much like an Indiana Jones movie that it feels like a poor copycat. I've always felt like The Mummy was its own kind of animal. And Rick is much different of a character than Indiana. I really don't think it makes much sense to compare the two. But, at the same time, the movie does kind of scratch that itch for the kind of action/adventure that an Indiana Jones film offers. (Let's face it, this movie is still probably way better than 2008's Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.) Finally, Jerry Goldsmith's booming score for the movie is just "the chef's kiss." It's so perfect. He gets dark and creepy when the movie calls for it, but offers such a wonderfully memorable fanfare for Rick and the action scenes that really elevates the movie (this is also something that was sorely missing from the sequels). Again, all of the pieces just seemed to fall into place for this movie. It's crazy.

If anything does NOT hold up, it's a lot of the special effects. From the mummy's overly-exaggerated jaw stretches (which are just SO bad), to the muddy sand animations - or some of the attempts at gruesome empty eye sockets and scarab-chewed corpses - the digital effects really lack. That opening shot of the pyramids and ancient Egypt is still a decent introduction for the movie, but it's kind of downhill from there. You almost have to force yourself to look past these shortcomings to enjoy the rest of it. Still, those more gruesome moments would look even more graphic if the animation was better, so in retrospect, it makes certain sequences less grotesque than they seemed 25 years ago.

The Mummy (1999)
But that doesn't change the fact that The Mummy is basically a horror / comedy / action hybrid. I remember being terrified about how gruesome a scene might turn out to be, which made my first viewing of the movie a tough one. But the lightheartedness created by the fun characters, and the over-the-top action sequences, all made this movie just a little less dark or explicit. I find it funny that the tonal shifts really irritated my younger self, but seeing it in a theater again, I actually did feel like it was pretty jarring to see Imhotep get sealed alive in a tomb with a bucketful of hungry scarabs and then watch Rachel Weisz knock over a series of bookcases in a domino effect just two scenes later. Thankfully, the movie finds its footing pretty soon after (perhaps when Jonathan gives her "the key"?). But as I mentioned in the original review, the scenes of Imhotep trying to have a ritual where he sacrifices a woman to bring back his love, Anck-Su-Namun, will certainly unsettle some of the more spiritually sensitive viewers. Good triumphs over evil in this action/adventure flick, but that doesn't mean it's not a bumpy road to get there.

If you're a fan of the movie and wouldn't mind catching it on the big screen again, I highly recommend doing so. And if you have grown to like the movie in the years since its release, but have never seen it in a theater, now is the perfect time to take that fateful journey with Rick, Evie, and Jonathan, to Hamunaptra. Just... leave the kids at home for this one.

- John DiBiase, (reviewed: 4/25/24)


Parental Guide: Content Summary

. Sex/Nudity: Anck-Su-Namun is shown with Imhotep, briefly, and all she is wearing is paint on her body, in the form of a mesh-like pattern, revealing most of her figure (so basically she's nude, with paint on); Evie's nightgown is ever so slightly translucent after she gets out of the river following the riverboat attack; Rick makes a joke about Imhotep "getting frisky with the Pharoah's daughter."
. Vulgarity/Language: 10 "d*mn," 8 "h*ll," 1 "S.O.B.," 2 "b*stards," 1 "a" word, 1 "Sweet J-sus," 1 "bej-sus" 5 "Oh my G-d," 3 "G-d," 1 "G-d awful"
. Alcohol/Drugs: A lot of people drink alcohol from flasks and bottles; Evelyn is drunk in a brief scene (and it's played for laughs)
. Blood/Gore: Rarely any blood, lots of grossness and gore: there are many shots of mummies in different degrees of decay which may be gross or scary; When Imhotep's dead body is found, we see it's almost monster-look to its still-decomposing skeletal look. We then see Imhotep slowly regenerate as the film goes on as it grows more flesh and muscles, then turns mostly human-looking with some open, gross-looking holes in his cheek and neck. In one instance, we see a scarab crawl from the hole in his neck to the one in his cheek and he eats it. Some of the diggers have blisters on their skin after acid has sprayed on them. After a scarab enter's the warden's boot, we see the bulge of the beetle moving under his skin on his stomach as it moves up to his face. The mummy removes a man's eyes (which we don't see) but we do see his face, where his sockets look empty. Later we see his eyelids closed and they look bruised and sunken-in. We see the gory remnants of the body of a digger after a swarm of scarabs consume and partially devour him after he had fallen. We see several dead, shriveled up bodies of men who's life was sucked out by the mummy. We see a large mass of people with boils on their faces. The mummy of Anck-Su-Namun has no eyes. Rick cuts off Imhotep's human arm which, he just reattaches afterwards (no blood). After a man is impaled by a sword, we see some blood on his hand before he sinks into a pool of water and dissolves.
. Violence: Shootings, a failed hanging, beetles moving under people's skin, a car running into people thus tossing them, decaying mummies, mummies alive, mummies being shot, sliced and decapitated and blown up, people eaten by scarabs, a person is stabbed, etc...


Disclaimer: All reviews are based solely on the opinions of the reviewer. Most reviews are rated on how the reviewer enjoyed the film overall, not exclusively on content. However, if the content really affects the reviewer's opinion and experience of the film, it will definitely affect the reviewer's overall rating.

To find out why we don't typically review R-rated movies, click here



go to main Movie review page
go to Video and DVD review archive


Listen to the debut EP from the band Hopeful.!

Search JFH

This Friday, May 24, 2024
AOH Music Heal Our World - EP (independent)
Twenty One Pilots Clancy [Fueled by Ramen]

Next Friday, May 31, 2024
Crowder The Exile [Capitol CMG]
Jon Foreman In Bloom [Capitol CMG]
HighRoad Straight from the Heart [Daywind]

For all release dates, click here!

Listen to the new EP from Saved By Skarlet!

Listen to the new Album From Tim Juillet!

Check out depositphotos for royalty free images