Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5. USA, 1999. Universal Pictures, Alphaville Films. Screen story by Stephen Sommers, Lloyd Fonvielle, Kevin Jarre, Screenplay by Stephen Sommers, based on the 1932 story by Nina Wilcox Putnam, Richard Schayer, and screenplay by John L. Balderston. Cinematography by Adrian Biddle. Produced by Sean Daniel, James Jacks. Music by Jerry Goldsmith. Production Design by Allan Cameron. Costume Design by John Bloomfield. Film Editing by Bob Ducsay. Academy Awards 1999.
A rollicking good time is to be had with this beautifully filmed though often heavy-handed remake of the classic Boris Karloff horror movie. In this updated and more elaborate version, Imhotep is still the ill-treated lover of the Princess Anck Su Namun who vows to return even from death to be with his already-taken beloved. Here, Imhotep is less gloomy than Karloff was and more studly. Brendan Fraser is the wisecracking hapless hero who takes librarian and passionate Egyptologist Rachel Weisz to the sacred and myth-enshrouded Hamunaptra to satisfy her taste for information about ancient civilizations, and John Hannah is her boob of a brother who is just in it for the loot. The film is fiery and adventurous, with great visual effects and lots of very fun moments, most of them provided by Weisz’s character who is constantly aware of the fact that she’s in a silly adventure movie. It certainly doesn’t have the cinematic grace of a similar movie like Raiders Of The Lost Ark, partly because Fraser isn’t all he’s cracked up to be as an action hero, and partly because much of the film is too damn noisy. However, the stunning production design and delightful turn by Weisz more than make up for all of this.