Since Universal is releasing a new Mummy movie, I figured I would look back at the last successful one.
The Mummy was a pretty bold re-imagining of the original pokey horror from the 1930s. Brendan Fraser starred as the Indiana Jones style hero who agrees to take an archaeologist on a search for ancient Egyptian artifacts. Of course, they stir the wrath of a mummy who is imbued with magic powers that replicate the plagues of Egypt. There is an ancient sect devoted to keeping the secrets of the graves that keeps interfering, a cowardly stooge for the mummy who keeps betraying the good guys and, of course, an army of flesh eating beetles.
As horror, there are a few scenes that work. As a grand adventure in the Indiana Jones vein, almost the whole movie works. The movie is packed with cool characters so that the deaths feel earned rather than cheap. The CGI holds up pretty well (much better than in the sequel that was rushed out). Imhotep, the mummy, takes a page from the Karloff original and only stays mummified a short time. The rest of the movie, he is a normal looking person with magic powers.
As an homage to the originals and an expansion of the myths, this movie works rather well. Is it art? Goodness no, but it is very fun. I would recommend it if you have an afternoon to kill.