You may have seen my thread stirring up interest for a movie discussion group. I said I would create the actual thread for the discussion on Friday. Well a day early, here it is!

 

The rules are simple. Those you have joined have picked a film. We take a week to watch the movie and a week to discuss. I'll post the list we have so far. Feel free join along. When you're film is up, you lead the discussion.

 

The list (which will be added to and/or updated)

The Mummy (1999 version)

Casablanca

Miller's Crossing

The Outlaw Josey Wales

The Miracle at Morgan's Creek (Available on youtube)

Vertigo & Citizen Kane discussion

 

I went with the short list to begin with but it certainly can grow.

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Thanks for the reminder, Phillip. I've revceived the Mummy dvd from netflix but have yet to watch it.  I will watch it this weekend though.

 

I want to discuss another order of business. While we spend the week discussing the Mummy, should we go ahead and watch the next film so we can discuss it next week? or do we want to only devote the weekt o discussion and watch the next film next week?

The Mummy (1999) a film by Stephen Sommers.

I saw this movie twice in the theatres and got it on DVD twice. It holds up really well. The acting and the effects are top-notch. It's a horror/action/romance/comedy.

The opening scene with Patricia Velasquez as Anck-Su-Namun is probably remembered by any male with a pulse!

Brendan Fraser made an excellent hero, handsome, strong and a rogue. Some have complained that he and Beni (Kevin J O'Connor) acted like ten year olds but that was their relationship!

Rachel Weisz was witty, brave and charming and absolutely beautiful as Evelyn/EeVee.

John Hannah was brillant as the conniving and endearing Jonathan, Evelyn's n'er do well brother. I later learned that in England he played tough and dangerous men, quite the opposite here.

Arnold Vosloo played the Mummy Imhotep, quite the challenge as he spoke not one word in English. In his mind, he was the hero of the story and how dare these little people try to stop him. He was menacing with a mere glance.

Kevin J. O'Connor's Beni was creepy and funny. He got the best lines and a fitting end.

Oded Fehr was Ardeth Bay, named after an actor from the 40s Mummy films. He also did the voice of Doctor Fate in Justice League Unlimited.

I loved the sets, especially the fort and the Hamunaptra ruins! What a playground that would have made!

Doctor Bombay's cameo was touching and humorous.

The Three Americans always seemed to me that they wandered in from another movie.

I liked that it was a period piece with some vintage props. Speaking of props, I would have loved to get that puzzle box!

The horror was handled well with shadows and cutaways instead of blood and gore. It was still just as frightening!

This is just an outline to set things up and (hopefully) we'll get some dialogue here!

"Death Is Just The Beginning!"

"Nothing bad ever happened by reading a book."

 

The Mummy

 

Thanks for getting this going.

 

I watched the film last night. I hadn't seen it in at least 10 years. I remember seeing it in the theaters when I first came out. It was quite exciting to see on the big screen. I didn't know what to expect and ended up really enjoying it. It felt like a throwback to the Indiana Jones films. The action and thrills were added nicely. The humor was a nice touch as well.

 

How does it hold up. Well I feel it loses something on the small screen. Also it was a straightforward film so watching it again some of the thrill is gone. But it's still a pretty decent flick. While I wasn't on the edge of my seat this time I still liked it. The effects, acting and set do hold up surprisingly well. Actually this film holds up better than another huge hit from 1999, the Matrix. That film hasn't aged well.

 

The cast is still pretty good. Brendan Fraser is excellent as the action hero. Prior to seeing this film, I was familiar with him as Encino Man and George of the Jungle. I wasn't expecting him to do well in this movie. He pulled it off. John Hannah was good as the comic releif. The guy is talented. He can do comedy and heavy handed drama, check out some of his other films. Rachel Weisz is stunning in this. I believe this really was her breakout role.

 

I like your description of Imhotep. He was relentless and menacing.

 

I kinda wished though that they had taken this another direction after the film. Rick O'Connel was a great hero and I would have liked to have seen him in other settings. I thought this back then and recalled it again on this viewing. I feel that that creators of this movie could have started a franchise similiar to Indiana Jones. Instead we just got more Mummy movies. I didn't feel the sequels lived up to the first. Sure the cast is excellent in the films but other than that, it felt like the same old thing.

The Mummy

So did anybody else watch the movie? Have anything to add?

 

Phillip you had previously stated that you also own the sequel and the 1932 original. How does this one compare to those? Are there any similiarities to this one and the 1932 one?

My library couldn't supply The Mummy.  Even if it had, I don't think I'd have had time to watch it... 

 

I saw The Mummy on video ten years ago.  It wasn't the deepest film ever.  That's ok.  Neither were Jaws or Raiders of the Lost Ark.  (But The Mummy isn't Jaws or Raiders, either...)  I'm not dissing it.  It was a well-made entertainment.  Was it Fraser's character or another who was described as a gun-runner for the IRA in the 1920s?  I liked seeing that little bit show up in the script.  A bit of realworld historical texture.

THE MUMMY

I initially saw "The Mummy" in the theaters back on its initial release. Like many people, I enjoyed it as an homage to the Indiana Jones series, yet it still was individual enough from that to stand on its own.

Where Jones was a scholar who fell into adventure, O'Connell was an adventure who fell into the scholarly world.

Likewise, the film gives a gracious nod to the pulp fiction that was prevalent in the early 20th Century, particularly with its sequences featuring a French Foreign Legion-type force and the cowboy-like squad of Mummy hunters that served as O'Connell's foils.

The cast certainly deserves a lot of credit for this, with the four principles putting in memorable performances.

Brendan Fraser Brendan Fraser ...
Rachel Weisz Rachel Weisz ...
John Hannah John Hannah ...
Arnold Vosloo Arnold Vosloo ...
Kevin J. O'Connor Kevin J. O'Connor ...
Oded Fehr Oded Fehr ...
Jonathan Hyde Jonathan Hyde ...
Erick Avari Erick Avari ...
Bernard Fox Bernard Fox ...
Stephen Dunham Stephen Dunham ...
Corey Johnson Corey Johnson ...
Tuc Watkins Tuc Watkins ...

(I copied that table directly from IMDB.com, so let's see if it posts properly. If it does, we should definitely swipe these for future discussions.)

Fraser: This is probably one of his first roles as an adult lead, and he does a great job. He's likeable and humble in the role.

Weisz: Probably the best casting of the bunch, Rachel Weisz puts in a perfect performance where she mimics attitudes of an earlier era. She's postively exhuberant in her nerdiness.

Vosloo: Even with his chubby cheeks, Vosloo manages to pull off a menacing performance. It's enhanced by his tall frame, but its his chops as a physical actor that stand out. Vosloo shows off his physical nature again in the short-lived TV series "Veritas: The Quest,"a show that has a similar "pulp fiction" feel to it.

O'Connor: One of director Stephen Sommers' regular cast members, O'Connor also put in a similar performance in Sommers' earlier work "Deep Rising," which is a movie that is very much like "The Mummy" in its feel, even though it's set in modern times. While "Deep Rising" doesn't have the same budget, it's a pretty good film nonetheless. Beyond his past credits, O'Connor here is just fabulous. You can't get more rat-like in appearance, mannerisms and vibe than O'Connor does as Beni. (If they were to ever make a movie of "Kraven's Last Hunt," then O'Connor should be Vermin!).

Other cast members are equally strong. Oded Fehr, who I best remember for his starring role in "Sleeper Cell" and also voices Ra's A Ghul in "Young Justice," plays the dashing Magi warrior. John Hannah plays Evey's brother as the perfect replica of Hugh Grant. I also enjoyed all the actors who were part of the "American Cowboy team" of adventurers.

Also of note is that Vosloo's original Egypt-era bride is Patricia Velasquez, a former "Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue" model. I actually have one of the SI Swimsuit videos that feature her, and she is ridiculously charming, even when she's fully clothed.

 

Some additional notes:

Stephen Sommers has had a pretty rocky career since his success with The Mummy. "Van Helsing" and "G.I. Joe" both tanked, although I feel that G.I. Joe was actually pretty darn good.

The swords you see many of the Egyptians carrying, a straight shaft with a curved quarter-moon end, are called khopesh swords. Aside fromt heir cutting edge (the curved part) they were used to disarm opponents by hooking a weapon and pulling it away.

As I re-watched this, I feared that it might turn into a "fetch quest" when they started talking about needing the five sacred jars of Imhotep's guts. Luckily that didn't happen, or at the very least it was expertly covered up by the action and dialogue. There isn't anything inheriantly wrong with fetch quests, but they work best in video games and 5-episode arcs of "G.I. Joe."

As Evey's character was introduced, I had to wonder just how many times I've seen a library shelf domino sequence in films. I think there was one in "Ghostbusters" and "Three O'Clock High."

When they buried him alive, I thought "Why would they bury him ALIVE when they know if he escaped he would be super-powerful? Why not kill him -- like five times over -- burn his body and spread the ashes to make sure that WOULDN'T happen?"

There was a lot of anti-American jokes, which I thought was kind of strange. I wasn't offended or anything, but the timing of them (the year 1999) seems strange. It seemed that attitude wasn't exactly en vogue as it is now.

As they prepped for their journey I wondered "How does one navigate in the desert without landmarks or the stars to guide them?"

Speaking of which, what exactly were they waiting for the sunset to show them? It wasn't explained how it revealed Hamanatra. It was just a random scene as far as I could tell.

(More comments after I feed the baby!)

More minor notes on "The Mummy"

  • As best as I can remember this is one of the first movies to feature a really good version of a swarm attack. That is a bunch of little creatures moving as a wave to assault someone or something. This, of course, is all thanks to digital effects. You certainly couldn't train a bunch of real beetles to do that.
  • One of the American team members looses his glasses (and ultimately a lot more) in the film. "My glasses! Could you help me find my glasses?!?" he pleads to Beni. This of course reminds me of all the times Velma loses her glasses in Scooby-Doo cartoons. As a person who is practically blind without glasses, I feel for him. However, most people can still see pretty well without their glasses. If he had my type of vision problem, he would have had "Coke-bottle" lenses that were really thick.
  • Travelling by dust devil must be quite convenient.
  • Another sequence of scenes that didn't really have a satisfying conclusion: Imhotep's issues with cats. It would have been nice to see him deal with the cat after he had acquired all his powers.
  • Does it hurt when you light a match off your cheek? I know matches back then were much more volitile and not the "safety strike" type we have now, but it still has to hurt doesn't it?
  • I liked the fight scene Fraser had at the altar with the cleric mummies. Lots of head chops, spins and crotch kicks that showed just how insubstantial a real mummy probably is.

Great quotes (again pulling from IMDB.com):

[after a shipwreck]
Beni: Hey, O'Connell! It looks to me like I've got all the horses!
Rick: Hey, Beni! Looks to me like you're on the wrong side of the river!

 

Evelyn: You were actually at Hamunaptra?
Rick: Yeah, I was there.
Evelyn: You swear?
Rick: Every damn day.

 

[after a mysterious wind blows up for the umpteenth time]
Rick: That happens a lot around here.

 

Evelyn: You lied to me.
Jonathan: I lie to everybody. What makes you so special?
Evelyn: I am your sister.
Jonathan: Yes, well that just makes you more gullible.

 

Rick: You're gonna get yours, Beni. You hear me? You're gonna get yours.
Beni: Oh, like I've never heard *that* before.

 

Rick: Are you sure you want to be playing around with this thing?
Evelyn: It's just a book. No harm ever came from reading a book.

 

Beni: [about Imhotep's sand storm] I loved the whole sand wall trick. It was beautiful. Bastard.

 

Rick: That's called "stealing," you know.
Evelyn: According to you and my brother it's called "borrowing."

 

[at Hamunaptra, opening Imhotep's sarcophagus]
Evelyn: Oh my God, I hate it when these things do that.
Rick: Is he supposed to look like that?
Evelyn: No, I've never seen a mummy look like this before. He's still... still...
Rick, Jonathan: ...juicy.

 

Another thing I took from The Mummy is that I would have loved to see the series continue, but not in the way it did.

Instead of seeing Eve and Rick continue to battle mummies, I wanted them to work their way through the stable of Universal Monsters.

I think that would have made for a better movie series than what came next: "The Mummy Returns," "The Scorpion King" and "The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor."

And the studio shouldn't have green-lighting Sommers' "Van Helsing." Instead, Universal should have signed Sommers and Fraser, Weisz, O'Connor and Hannah (Evey's brother) for a bunch more films that explored the "Monsterverse":

  1. First, the should have renamed "The Mummy" to "Universal Monsters: The Mummy" and follow with ..
  2. "Universal Monsters: Dracula," where Rick battles the famous vampire ...
  3. Followed by "Universal Monsters: Frankenstein" and continuing with other famous monster names ...
  4. "Universal Monsters: The Wolf Man"
  5. "Universal Monsters: The Bride of Frankenstein"
  6. "Universal Monsters: The Invisible Man"
  7. "Universal Monsters: Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde"
  8. "Universal Monsters: The Creature from the Black Lagoon"
  9. "Universal Monsters: Monsters United"

The last would be an effort to bring all the monsters and the four series principles back for a wrap-up film that sent them all against Rick and his crew.

And, as you see above, they should have marketed the whole series under a "Universal Monsters" banner.

It would have done wonders for the studio I tell ya. Massive merchandising opportunities. Fraser would be a major star. Sommers would be making the types of movies he relishes. Weisz would be big too. And O'Connor would have been huge on the Con circuit.

I like that idea, LJ. I didn't think the Mummy warranted a direct sequel but I still wanted to see further adventures of Rick and co.

The Mummy (1932) which starred Boris Karloff or Karloff the Uncanny was more like Lugosi's Dracula than the clumsy Mummy Kharis that Tim Tyler and Lon Chaney Jr* portrayed. Karloff was only seen as a wrapped up mummy briefly. He too played the High Priest Imhotep who dared to love the wrong woman and was horribly punished for it. He possessed supernatural powers, particularly mind-control. It also featured the theme of reincarnation which was a very minor part of Ancient Egyptian religion that was also essential to The Mummy II. My problems with the sequel were that

  1. We never saw Rick and Evelyn's courtship nor their later adventures.
  2. Both Rick and Evelyn got too much backstory. It made them less heroic and more forced to battle mummies.
  3. The kid had to go!

But then we did see more of Patricia Velasquez and Anck-Su-Nanum who was apparently one kick-ass concubine! 

And we met the Most Electrifying Cursed Warrior of All Time, The Scorpion King!

As far as Van Helsing goes, I wanted to like it but it was too crowded a film: Dracula, his three Brides, three different werewolves, the Frankenstein Monster, Igor (a sadistic Kevin J. O'Connor), Doctor Frankenstein, Mister Hyde, Faramir, Wolverine and the vamp-kiddies! Just too much!

I love that Universal Monsters concept, LJ! Wonderful! 

And I thought about Imhotep's fate, too. I guess they REALLY wanted to punish him, no matter what he would become! Also they never bothered to tell the Magi the spell that would turn him mortal again! Y'know it really makes one root for Imhotep a little!

* Chaney Jr deserves some award for playing the Wolf Man, the Frankenstein Monster, the Mummy and (the Son of) Dracula!

So who were the protagonists in the 1932 version? Any similarities to the modern version?

I have seen it and thought it was kind of boring. One of the sequels, "The Mummy's Hand," is really good if my memory serves me correctly.

Even better than the above-mentioned sequel is the Hammer Horror flick "The Mummy" from 1959, which features a mummy storming through the English countryside.

Looking up more on Velasquez, I see she appeared in "Almighty Thor", a SyFy channel movie. ... I am intrigued.

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