We’ve all been there: it’s Sunday morning, it’s raining, you have no clean clothes, and The Mummy is on TV. Life can wait two hours. The Mummy is where cable networks turn when they have nothing else to show. It’s practically a default button on the control panel. As a result, it feels like The Mummy has aired every other weekend for well over a decade. I’ve seen this movie more times than I’ve seen some members of my immediate family. At the gym I once ran for over an hour because it was playing on the treadmill screen. Many things in life are not eternal, but I have a strong (and ironic) feeling The Mummy will outlast us all.
Egypt, it seems, has more curses than sand dunes. It’s just unfortunate that one of these curses – the one that will awaken a 3000-year-old villain – is buried next to a famously large (and notoriously hard to find) treasure trove, along with the legendary Book of the Living. Historian, Evelyn Carnahan (Rachel Weisz), is just one of many in search of this book and the vast treasure of Hamunaptra. She and her brother, Jonathan (John Hannah), enlist the help of the handsome scoundrel, Rick O’Connell (Brendan Fraser), to take them to the hidden city. This American rogue, the librarian, and her brother the comic relief compete against a gang of American cowboys to get to the treasure first. As it happens, in their eagerness, they unlock a curse so devastating it unleashes the great plagues of Egypt and two cinematic sequels.
If a fella is so terrible his punishment is to be mummified alive and buried with flesh-eating scarabs in a locked sarcophagus under the feet of Anubis with all the ritual blessings (and his name) scratched out next to a warning to whomever should find his burial place… should you really make reviving him a possibility? This dude was so bad the ancient Egyptians cursed him in this life and the next, but rather than damning him to a deeper hell, the curse puts his fate in the hands of future idiots who might unknowingly grant him magic powers and immortality. I’m not going to say those Egyptians didn’t know what they were doing… but evidence suggests they were packaging him up and delivering him to future generations with a message of, “He’s your problem now.”
While the un-compostable damned is hunting down the crew who opened his box, romance blossoms among our group of heroes. Jonathan, the future cool uncle and eternal third wheel, has to deal with Evelyn and O’Connell falling inevitably in love. Their attraction progresses at the perfect pace, and is the rope ladder in a pit of quicksand. Evelyn and O’Connell have such a strong connection it lasts through two more movies and a casting change.
But who wouldn’t fall for that 90’s American action hero and his flippable brown hair? Brendan Fraser brings both romance and comedy to this action-horror. That’s probably one of the reasons The Mummy has aired on numerous cable networks for so many years; The Mummy is an even mix of multiple genres that fits multiple moods, making people neither too excited nor too bored to sit through it one more time. It’s the Old Faithful of TV movies; a little campy, a little dramatic, a touch of 1990s grossness, a smidge of scary, with happy gun-wielding Americans, and a swoonable action star.
Sure I’d be happy to see The Mummy roll around again (and have little doubt that I will). It ticks all the boxes, making it such a satisfying watch and such an easy plug for cable networks (in fact, The Mummy Returns is on right now – fancy that). There’s nothing to dissect in The Mummy, no deep meanings to wrap up, and a few convenient happenings that seal the story up neatly. The Mummy is a pleasing but not too pleasing 7.5/10.