In the post-Indiana Jones era,
the 1990s, the movie screens were ultimately devoid
of true Indiana Jones-inspired fare until the
final year of the decade, when Universal
Pictures graced the silver screen with
its now-blockbuster The
Mummy, starring Brendan Fraser as the intrepid
fortune hunter, Rick O'Connell. For the few of
you out there who have not seen the film, the
story is as follows.
of the Dead.
During the reign of Pharaoh Seti
I, his most trusted alchemist and high priest,
Imhotep, is caught with Seti's mistress, Anck-su-namun.
The mistress murders Seti and is executed by the
royal guards. Imhotep, in his attempts to revive
her with dark magic, is also caught and buried
alive at Hamunaptra, the City of the Dead, with
an ancient curse cast upon his soul. Time passes
In 1923, Rick O'Connell is an American
solider for hire in the French Foreign Legion.
During a heated battle with enemy Arabs, Rick
and his men find themselves with their backs to
the ruined city of Hamunaptra. There, Rick discovers
a small artifact, and ancient box.
Three years later in Cairo, a goofy,
brainy librarian named Evelyn with an affinity
for Egyptian lore and archaeology finds her brother
Jonathan with the box in his possession. Inside
it, they find an ancient map to the city of Hamunaptra,
thought to have been a city of myth. Evelyn, determined
to find the original owner, discovers Rick in
a local prison and saves him from execution. In
return, Rick agrees to show them the way to Hamunaptra,
where it is believed Seti I hid all of the great
wealth of Egypt. Evelyn also wants to find the
rumored Book of the Dead, which may contain ancient
Vosloo as The
Along with a group of serious American
competitors, Rick, Evelyn, and Jonathan race to
the city in search of fortune and glory. Instead,
they accidentally awaken the dead corpse of Imhotep
when Evelyn finds the Book of the Dead and reads
the incantations inside. The mummy, unleashed,
begins killing off the American fortune hunters
one by one in an attempt to regain his powers
so he can resurrect Anck-su-namun and dominate
the Earth. It is up to Rick and Evelyn to stop
The film was a huge success, due
to the fact that, for the first time in a long
time, the film had a sense of story and characters
that were a little more developed than usual.
Combine that with great sets, effects, and atmosphere
and The Mummy
was guaranteed to be a winner.
as Rick O'Connell.
However, while many said that the
film was inspired by the Indiana Jones series,
people tend to forget that this film was very
much inspired directly by its 1930s counterpart,
The Mummy. Rick
O'Connell is not an archaeologist and the plot
does not center on any one rare artifact. Initially,
some fortune hunting is involved, but the real
crux of the story is the threat of Imhotep's powers.
Unlike Indiana Jones films, this story centers
on an ancient evil that returns in a magical and
tangible form as Imhotep's living corpse and the
corpses of numbers of undead warriors.
This film is filled with amazing
magical situations that Indiana Jones would never
be seen running through. Rick fights off scores
of mummy warriors with a sword and guns, Imhotep
causes all sorts of magical plagues upon Cairo,
and wayward archaeologists manage to cast spells
out of ancient Egyptian tomes. There is no central
object of the quest either. There is no Lost Ark
or Holy Grail for the characters.
Our heroes sneaking.
Probably the biggest influence Indiana
Jones had on this film, besides Rick O'Connell's
shirt, is the set design and atmosphere of the
past. Also, the more grounded action sequences
(meaning those in which humans fight humans) are
in the spirit of Indiana Jones, if not as straight
forward and primal as Indy's scenes. In other
words, whereas Indy's fistfights and gun battles
were gritty and dirty, Rick O'Connell's fights
with Magi warriors and others are filmed with
a flare, a slick bravado in which his clothes
may get dirty, but his hair is never mussed and
his lip never bleeds.
Regardless of all this, some of
the Indiana Jones spirit is there, in the dark
ruins which the characters traverse by torchlight,
the swarms of scarabs so reminiscent of the bugs
from Indiana Jones and
the Temple of Doom, and the general excitement
of the film. Unfortunately, do not expect any
wild stunts (such as sliding under trucks). In
this digital age, these aspects of the film are
handled "virtually". Sad, yes, but true.
However, the film does entertain on its own terms
and is available on DVD for those who crave an
adventure in the spirit of Indy, if not in the
style of Dr. Jones. (MF)