The Mummy ('99): Still the best archaeology-themed flick since Raiders

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Gaith, Oct 4, 2010.

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For quality archeology-themed adventure, 1999's "The Mummy" is...

  1. Better than Raiders

    2 vote(s)
    5.7%
  2. Better than Raiders' sequels

    8 vote(s)
    22.9%
  3. Better than Temple only

    1 vote(s)
    2.9%
  4. Better than Crusade only

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  5. Better than Skull only

    9 vote(s)
    25.7%
  6. Better than Temple and Crusade

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  7. Better than Temple and Skull

    7 vote(s)
    20.0%
  8. Better than Crusade and Skull

    1 vote(s)
    2.9%
  9. Better than some other combination of Indy movies (please specify below)

    1 vote(s)
    2.9%
  10. Worse than all the Indy films

    6 vote(s)
    17.1%
  1. Gaith

    Gaith Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Location:
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    My case:

    The Story
    As the 2000 book The Films Of Steven Spielberg notes, Doom and Crusade don't so much fit alongside Raiders as remake it: in each, Indy is minding his own business until he's told about a mystical object he doesn't really believe in, but he goes looking for it anyway, finds it, learns some humility, and lets it go. (So far, this describes Skull, too.) Apart from the missing gun gag in Doom and the vague reference to the Ark in Crusade, only Skull demands to occupy the same Dr. Jones' life. And it's not hard to see why: a pious, believing Indy is no fun at all; we want him to be a lovable rogue, and share in his excitement when he begins to realize that bedtime stories are real. So whenever he gets chastened and humble, it's time to end the movie and restart his journey on the next one.

    The Mummy, on the other hand, tells its own story of how Evy learned to break out of her meek shell and inspired Rick to clean himself up and look beyond his own narrow interests for a change. Oh, and there's the whole Terminator-Mummy thing. Say what you like about the movie, it's definitely not a narrative or thematic retread of Raiders.


    The Heroine
    Rachel Weisz is a better actress than any of the Indy girls, and certainly gives a more radiant performance, with the debatable exception of Raiders' (but not Skull's) Karen Allen. (Plus, she's English!) And, in a sly way, she's really The Mummy's main character: she rescues Rick from hanging, she prompts the journey to Hamunaptra, she wakes finds and Imhotep up and then takes away his immortality. If you're immune to the charms of Weisz's performance... I really can't help you. ;)


    The Action
    No nuked fridge. No sledding down a mountain on an inflatable raft that magically avoids all trees. No day trip that starts off in the desert and transitions to forested mountains later that afternoon. But you do get fun stunts, a great car chase and soldier mummies. One can argue that individual sequences in the Indy sequels supass those of The Mummy, but the latter's action has more consistency.


    The Villain
    Let's face it: Raiders used both of Indy's greatest villains. You have the amoral but not quite evil learned counterpart (Belloq), and a-not-as-smart but definitely evil and creepy Nazi (Toht). How do you follow those up? With a dude wearing an antler hat, a selfish double-crossing rich guy, a hot blonde and Cate Blanchett in a wig and a gym track suit: these were decent characters, but none were really frightening or memorable. Imhotep, however, is a badass with soul, played with understated cocky humor by Arnold Vosloo. He's simply a more compelling antagonist than any Indy villain outside of Raiders.


    The Hero
    I won't try arguing that Brendan Fraser is cooler than Harrison Ford, because he isn't - even if he is a good deal taller! But while he doesn't get any scenes as touching or heartfelt as the Crusade blimp discussion or rip any hearts out, he does have a fun, dramatic arc from total screwup to formidable rescuer of damsels in distress. And while O'Connell isn't cooler than Indy, either, his childish goofiness perfectly fits with and accentuates the movie's irreverent, unabashedly contemporary fourth-wall-nudging tone, whereas Indy's sequels have either been overly gruesome and slapstick (Temple), overly slapstick (Skull) or pretty close to Raiders but with an abundance of awkwardly silly lines/sight gags (Crusade).


    The Dearth of Lameness
    Short Round and Willie. A mine cart chase that plays out like a Donkey Kong game. A Boy Scout troop from a mountainous, forested small town that can ride on horseback to Utah's Monument Valley in the course of an afternoon. A centuries-old knight who speaks modern BBC English, and has apparently been reading a book for several hundred years. A KGB agent who actually attempts a Jedi Mind Trick. Tarzan Mutt. Etc. All these factors speak for themselves.


    The Sequels
    Yes, The Mummy Returns was atrocious and Tomb of the Dragon Emperor at best mediocre, but this argument doesn't concern those two.


    Conclusion
    I could go on, discussing the awesomeness of John Hannah and Oded Fehr, not to mention the fantastic sense of place, Jerry Goldsmith's excellent score and more, but I think I'll rest my case here. I say that for the above reasons and more, The Mummy is the best archaeology-themed adventure movie since Raiders... let the debate begin! :p
     
  2. Baldus885

    Baldus885 Captain Captain

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    Re: The Mummy ('99): Still the best archaeology-themed flick since Rai

    I agree with everything you say with one exception. I wanted to kill John Hannah. The cocky, stupid, double-crossing sidekick thing is annoying enough, but his portrayal was nauseating.
     
  3. Ancient Mariner

    Ancient Mariner Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: The Mummy ('99): Still the best archaeology-themed flick since Rai

    Aw c'mon. You didn't at least chuckle at:

    Im-ho-tep ... Im-ho-tep ... ?
    [​IMG]

    I'm trying to think of other archaeology-themed films since Raiders and since none are immediately coming to mind I suppose that speaks to a general lack of either quality or impact.

    The Mummy was a near-perfect film. It's not exactly original or innovative, but it succeeds at nearly everything it sets out to do. As for comparisons, Crusade is a good-but-flawed film and while Skull was plenty fun, it pushed the limits of plausibility. And I've long said that Temple of Doom would have been an abject failure of a movie if it didn't have the "Indiana Jones" moniker attached to it.

    The Mummy is superior to all three Raiders sequels -- even if they feature John Williams. The Mummy sequels ... well, let us not speak of them in this life, or the afterlife. :p
     
  4. Shazam!

    Shazam! Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
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    Re: The Mummy ('99): Still the best archaeology-themed flick since Rai

    The Competition

    None worth mentioning.
     
  5. Mr Light

    Mr Light Admiral Admiral

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    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Re: The Mummy ('99): Still the best archaeology-themed flick since Rai

    The Mummy was definitely a great film... but I don't know how I'd rank it against the Indy sequels. They have the nostalgia factor going for them.
     
  6. Lonemagpie

    Lonemagpie Writer Admiral

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    Yorkshire
    Re: The Mummy ('99): Still the best archaeology-themed flick since Rai

    I agree, best since Raiders - *but* the sequel dropped the ball quicker and further and harder than the Indy sequels ever could.
     
  7. Nardpuncher

    Nardpuncher Rear Admiral

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    Re: The Mummy ('99): Still the best archaeology-themed flick since Rai

    I liked the first one but also liked The Mummy Returns.

    If they could combine those two (the first had more of a horror feel, the second more action) then that would have made a most excellent Indy IV.
     
  8. captcalhoun

    captcalhoun Admiral Admiral

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    Re: The Mummy ('99): Still the best archaeology-themed flick since Rai

    i like all three Mummy movies.

    archaeology themed movies other than Mummy? Tomb Raider and its sequel...
     
  9. Locutus of Bored

    Locutus of Bored Co-Founder of ISIS Moderator

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    Re: The Mummy ('99): Still the best archaeology-themed flick since Rai

    Raiders of the Lost Ark
    Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
    The Mummy
    Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
    The Body
    Stargate
    National Treasure
    Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
    Lara Croft: Tomb Raider
    Sahara
    The Mummy Returns
    The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor
    National Treasure: Book of Secrets
    Lara Croft: Tomb Raider - The Cradle of Life
    Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist (Schrader Version) / Exorcist: The Beginning (Harlan Version)
    Firewalker
    King Solomon's Mines
    Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold

    That's about all the archaeology/treasure hunting related movies set in the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries that came out post-Raiders that I can recall off the top of my head. Any further back and you have to start getting into pirate and barbarian films.
     
  10. Ancient Mariner

    Ancient Mariner Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: The Mummy ('99): Still the best archaeology-themed flick since Rai

    Oh, don't forget about The Librarian TV films. LOL
     
  11. Captain Craig

    Captain Craig Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: The Mummy ('99): Still the best archaeology-themed flick since Rai

    Surprised it took till post #9 for the National Treasure movies to get mentioned.

    Both Mummy and NT are slight variations.
    Mummy is more dumb/action archeology fun.
    NT is more cerebral/action archeology fun.

    Raiders, Mummy and National Treasure are all great first installments to a franchise.
     
  12. Teelie

    Teelie Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    May 1, 1999
    Re: The Mummy ('99): Still the best archaeology-themed flick since Rai

    Hard to say objectively. If you grew up with the Indy films, you'd think they were better. I think it's hard to say. Both movies are based on archaeology but that's like saying Star Wars and Star Trek are space-themed movies. While true, both are very different incarnations of that theme. Both have their merits and both have their drawbacks.
     
  13. mauddib

    mauddib Ensign Red Shirt

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    Re: The Mummy ('99): Still the best archaeology-themed flick since Rai

    You forgot to mention Patricia Velasquez dressed in nothing more than body paint and strategically placed long hair.
     
  14. Too Much Fun

    Too Much Fun Commodore Commodore

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    Re: The Mummy ('99): Still the best archaeology-themed flick since Rai

    I've never been very keen on the Indiana Jones movies. I like the '99 Mummy movie better than the first two. I like "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" most of all because of the chemistry between Harrison Ford and Sean Connery. The only thing I think is better about the other two is the female lead, but in every other way, I prefer the third Indiana Jones movie. Haven't seen the fourth.

    The first two Mummy movies were fun summer movies that I am nostalgic for, having enjoyed them as a teen. They weren't the classiest or most sophisticated movies, but they weren't as stupid as a lot of the big budget stuff that comes out these days, and I enjoyed the whole cast, especially Rachel Weisz. They made me and my friends laugh, and when I watch the first two on DVD, they still make me laugh, even as I'm now able to recognize how immature they are at times (especially the second one).
     
  15. captcalhoun

    captcalhoun Admiral Admiral

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    Re: The Mummy ('99): Still the best archaeology-themed flick since Rai

    she didn't appear in The Mummy. her appearances as Anak-Sun Amoon were in the sequel.
     
  16. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: The Mummy ('99): Still the best archaeology-themed flick since Rai

    Yes, yes she did, in the prologue.
     
  17. captcalhoun

    captcalhoun Admiral Admiral

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    Re: The Mummy ('99): Still the best archaeology-themed flick since Rai

    d'oh... forgot that...
     
  18. Locutus of Bored

    Locutus of Bored Co-Founder of ISIS Moderator

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    Re: The Mummy ('99): Still the best archaeology-themed flick since Rai

    I had - gratefully - forgotten them until you mentioned it, thank you very much! ;)
     
  19. Ancient Mariner

    Ancient Mariner Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: The Mummy ('99): Still the best archaeology-themed flick since Rai

    Pleasure. ;)
     
  20. Wynterhawk

    Wynterhawk Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Re: The Mummy ('99): Still the best archaeology-themed flick since Rai

    Yes, I agree that The Mummy was much more entertaining than the Indy movies. I thought it had more of a campy fun factor and Oded Fehr was very pleasant to look at ;).

    I might be biased because as a youngster I was tramuatized by the head-melty scene at the end of Raiders. Bleh. :D It looks cool now, watching it as an adult, but I do remember being frightened by it.