With the Tom Cruise-starring The Mummy reboot currently in cinemas, let’s take a look back at the last time the classic franchise was rebooted…
It says a lot about the fondness people hold for 1999’s The Mummy that the current reboot was met with much hostility when it was first announced. Fans of this, the first (very loose) remake of the 1932 original starring Boris Karloff, felt that the new movie could never match up to it. And they were right. Not because the Cruise movie is receiving negative reviews, but because the 1999 film is so enjoyable.
Is The Mummy a world-class movie? No, of course not, but it is a load of fun to watch and sometimes that’s all you need. Its main strength is in eschewing the influence of the original horror movies and instead turning to some other films of that era for inspiration: the action/adventure movie serials of the 1930s and 40s. It’s this that causes many to compare it to Indiana Jones, but really they just share a common ancestor.
The other thing that brings the film to life is the terrific casting of the two leads. Rewatching The Mummy today will remind you how good Brendan Fraser was at playing the roguish chisel-jaw hero – it’s a shame he faded from the spotlight some years back. For me, though, the movie belongs to Rachel Weisz as Evie – the Egyptologist/Librarian is by far the best character in the movie, thanks to Evie’s smarts and Weisz’s buckets of charm. Fraser and Weisz also share a terrific chemistry. Oh, and a shout-out to John Hannah as comic relief character Jonathan. It’s hard to dislike the drunken, womanizing clutz.
All in all, The Mummy is the right way to reboot a franchise. Just focus on making one single good movie to start with and let a series organically spawn from that. Are you listening, Universal?