Why The Mummy (1999) Is The PERFECT Action Movie

Never has fending off an undead monstrosity and surviving the plagues of Egypt been so fun!

The Mummy 1999
Universal Pictures

When Universal announced that they were launching the Dark Universe, eyes rolled across the collective consciousness of the internet. That being said, there was a possibility of doing something cool with the idea. Having heroes like Dr. Jeckyl, Van Helsing, and others come together to battle Dracula, Frankenstein, and the Wolf Man could have had merit.

That was before the disastrous decision to launch the universe with The Mummy. The problems were two-fold: first, The Mummy just wound up not being very good, and was a sour start for a shared universe experiment.

The second, of course, is the looming shadow of the The Mummy. No, not the classic Boris Karloff film. Specifically, the 1999 remake staring Brendan Fraser. Of the Universal films, it was the most recent to have a beloved remake, and, therefore, was absolutely the worst choice to lead the effort.

It seems releasing the 2017 update released a collective wave of nostalgia for the film, which, if well-remembered before it, became straight up beloved in the wake of its failure.

But what was it about the film that fills everyone with such fond memories? Let's look at the reasons why this big dumb Summer tentpole is a modern-day adventure classic.

10. A Remake Done Right

The Mummy 1999
Universal Pictures

There's an argument to be made that the best remakes are of films that are enjoyable, but flawed. Taking a movie that is amazing and just doing it a second time doesn't help anyone, and only serves to draw constant comparisons.

That's why The Mummy is such a refreshing film. The original version was over 65 years old upon its release, and so there had been plenty of dormancy between releases. Contrast that with the 25 years its been between the two versions of The Lion King.

Speaking of, The Lion King chose to go for an almost shot-for-shot remake. The same songs, the same plot points, the same narrative beats. It renders the new version pointless if it's been done better before.

Rather than a haunting, decade-long exploration of Imhotep from his resurrection as a mummy into a man living among the people, the plot shifts to an action-adventure focus with Imhotep sharing the screen time with rival Rick O'Connell. This allows Imhotep to be a force within the film without dominating it. In the original it was hard to escape Boris Karloff's ever-present figure, but here, Imhotep, despite not always being on screen, always feels like he could return at any moment, keeping the tension high.

Because of that, viewers don't feel like they're just sitting through the original with a fresh coat of paint, but a legitimate original take on the source material.

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A former Army vet who kept his sanity running D&D games for his Soldiers. I'll have a bit of D&D, pro wrestling, narrative-driven video games, and 80's horror movies, please and thank you.