We live in an age of cinematic remakes that tend to split opinions pretty drastically (remember Ghostbusters?!), but here’s an opinion that’s sure not to be too controversial: the 1999 Mummy franchise is utterly irreplaceable.
At first when I heard that The Mummy was being rebooted in 2017 I was skeptical, but willing to give it the benefit of the doubt. The pioneering effects in the 1999 films are laughable to us now, so perhaps a modern remake with all the advances in technology that have been made would really have the ability to turn it into the horror film the 1999 films never tried to be.
Perhaps a whole new generation of kids would be gifted a brilliantly charismatic and ass-kicking leading couple to laugh with and look up to! Since you’d have a hard time convincing a Gen X kid to sit through the 20th century effects, maybe a remake is the only way!
I decided the only way to sort out if this reboot was worth it would be to see if the 1999 movies hold up even now in 2017. If they’re not enjoyable now, then I’d grudgingly accept the reboot. Unfortunately for Tom Cruise and co., the 1999 films have stood the test of time! At first I thought I might only feel that way because I grew up with those movies and they hold a special place in my heart, but after a thorough re-watch I stand by the fact that they’re genuinely phenomenal films.
I’m sure there are purists out there who think the 1999 films were a ridiculous retelling of the 1932 Karl Freund classic, but let them make their own list on why that film’s irreplaceable! Here’s my defense of the 1999 Mummy franchise:
10 Reasons the 1999 Mummy franchise is irreplaceable:
Brendan Fraser’s floppy bangsIt’s an iconic 90s look that shaped Western culture well into the early 2000s, but there’s more to Rick O’Connell than his roguish good looks. His swashbuckling Indiana Jones badassery is balanced with his hilarious penchant to scream when surprised. Rather than a serious macho hero, Fraser brings a sweetness to the character which seems to have dropped out of style in Hollywood leading men.
Evie CarnahanEvie’s the undeniable heart of the franchise, and rather than damsel-in-distress or love interest secondary character, the whole of the first film at least revolves around her: her determination, her intellectual fascination, her mistakes, her resolutions, her love story. Rachel Weisz shaped a generation of young girls who aspire for that level of steely drive and dorky charm!
The hilarious b-movie effects…You can laugh at the Mummy’s laughably huge gaping mouth, and the army jackal warriors, but you have to admit that the bugs crawling under people’s skin is actually genuinely horrifying even now!
…specifically Dwayne Johnson the Scorpion King
Back in 2001 this was funny enough, but after the last decade of Dwayne Johnson’s unbelievable success, this particular gem has only increased in comic value!
Alex’s sass in the face of deathThe sheer nerve of this brilliant clever child, who’s a perfect chaotic combination of his parents! As a kid I remember wishing I could go on adventures like him, but revisiting the franchise as an adult I’m a little more horrified at the danger he’s put in! Even so, he’s a great addition to the family dynamic.
The O’Connellsa.k.a. the best power couple to ever make it to the big screen! The relationship between Evie and Rick is so organic and refreshing amongst all the love-at-first-sight or off-screen-development sort of romance plots which seem to pervade action films. We see the development of their feelings for each other, and their seamless teamwork in The Mummy Returns speaks to their closeness. What’s particularly great is that the plot never revolves around their relationship, nor is there ever any question that they love and support each other 100%. Though relationship drama can add something to a film, it’s so nice to see a couple as a supportive unit taking on bad guys, rather than fighting with each other!
Compelling villainsHaving multiple villains operating at various degrees of evil works so well in a film like this. Human greed contrasts with ancient magic evil, but at the end of the day, Imhotep retains some of the audience’s sympathy for his lost love. The Mummy Returns does a phenomenal job at further developing Imhotep and Anck-Su-Namun’s story, as well as weaving in Evie and Rick in new and unexpected ways!
This epic fight sceneThough pitting the only two female characters in the film against each other isn’t exactly progressive, it does gift us with this absolutely smashing sai-sword badassery!
The host of unforgettable supporting characters.From the mysterious Ardeth Bay to the slapstick Jonathan, each brings something unique and vital to the ensemble vibe of the film. Omid Djalili is particularly funny in the first film, whilst Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as villainous henchman Lock-Nah in the second film had me in stitches.
That time Beni had all the HORSES, but he was on the wrong side of the RIVER!a.k.a. the probably the most quoted line ever, even though most people never experience a situation where it could possibly be relevant.