ad info




CNN.com
 MAIN PAGE
 WORLD
 ASIANOW
 U.S.
 LOCAL
 POLITICS
 WEATHER
 BUSINESS
 SPORTS
 TECHNOLOGY
 NATURE
 ENTERTAINMENT
   movies
   music
   tv
 BOOKS
 TRAVEL
 FOOD
 HEALTH
 STYLE
 IN-DEPTH

 custom news
 Headline News brief
 daily almanac
 CNN networks
 CNN programs
 on-air transcripts
 news quiz

  CNN WEB SITES:
CNN Websites
 TIME INC. SITES:
 MORE SERVICES:
 video on demand
 video archive
 audio on demand
 news email services
 free email accounts
 desktop headlines
 pointcast
 pagenet

 DISCUSSION:
 message boards
 chat
 feedback

 SITE GUIDES:
 help
 contents
 search

 FASTER ACCESS:
 europe
 japan

 WEB SERVICES:
Movies

Review: 'Mummy' long on swash, short on buckle

By Reviewer Paul Clinton

(CNN) -- Boris Karloff scared the wits out of moviegoers in 1932, playing the title character in the horror film "The Mummy." Since then, the Egyptian monster has been wrapped up in at least seven different film treatments. Now he's back. And this time he's really ticked off.

But be warned if you've seen the trailer and are looking for another "Indiana Jones And Temple Of Doom": This movie strives for that same Saturday-matinee feeling, and the results are close -- but no cigar.

"The Mummy" opens with a sensational special-effects establishment shot of the ancient Egyptian city of Thebes, 1719 B.C. The shot goes on and on. It's pretty amazing.

RELATED VIDEO
Theatrical preview for "The Mummy"
Windows Media 28K 80K

Paul's Pix: "The Mummy"
Real 28K 80K
Windows Media 28K 80K

As we watch, we get the back story of how an evil high priest, Imhotep, played by Arnold Vosloo, has an affair with the Pharoah's mistress, Anck-Su-Namun. Of course the powers that be are not amused. Imhotep is mummified while still alive and cursed for all time.

Flash forward and ... flash forward

Flash forward 3,000 years to the 1920s. We meet dashing legionnaire hero Rick O'Connell, played by Brendan Fraser. He's most definitely an Indiana Jones wannabe -- minus the whip. During a battle with a strange desert tribe, O'Connell discovers the hidden Egyptian city of Hamunaptra, the City of the Dead, in which a vast treasure supposedly is buried. Then suddenly, the mysterious warriors he's fighting leave him to die in the desert.

Flash forward again -- this time just a few years -- and O'Connell's not only still alive (surprise, surprise) but he's now in prison. And about to be hanged. How? Why? Where? When? Don't know. One thing we do know: The continuity and the plot for "The Mummy" are secondary to action and special effects.

O'Connell hooks up with the mandatory beautiful British woman, Evelyn, played by Rachel Weisz. There's also her klutzy sidekick brother Jonathan, played by John Hannah (he co-starred in "Sliding Doors" with Gwyneth Paltrow). Add various other ne'er-do-wells and we're off.

With little or no opposition, this band of adventurers then proceeds to find the treasure, wake up the title Mummy and all his mummy henchmen -- then blah, blah, blah, action, action, action. Fini.

Film history repeats itself

"The Mummy" is going to enjoy a week or so of great business from curious teen-age boys and then will be buried once again -- this time by George Lucas and his gang from "Star Wars."

Unfortunately, this movie is long on swash and short on buckle. And there's a strange lack of conflict until the end, when the Mummy finally starts taking names and kicking butt.

Fraser is fine as an action hero with a big dose of humor, and Weisz is perfectly stunning and ditsy. The effects are of course state-of-the-art. But even so, after a time the mummies start looking a little cartoonish.

Sorry, but good acting, great sets and electronic wizardry don't make up for a lack of story, tension and motivation. Overall "The Mummy" is half-baked. Some of this film works. A lot of it doesn't.

Oh well, Mummy said there'd be days like this.


"The Mummy" is rated PG-13 with a running time of 123 minutes.


RELATED STORIES:
Review: 'Blast from the Past' doesn't fizzle, but no sparks either
February 12, 1999
Review: 'Gods and Monsters' flirts poignantly with death
December 2, 1998

RELATED SITES:
Official 'The Mummy' site
Universal Pictures
Note: Pages will open in a new browser window
External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.

MORE MOVIE NEWS:
An Asimov twist: Robin Williams, robot
Beauty and the Bugs: 'Anna and the King'
Review: 'The End of the Affair' -- get out your handkerchiefs
Hanks tops box office with 'Toy Story,' 'Green Mile'
 LATEST HEADLINES:
SEARCH CNN.com
Enter keyword(s)   go    help

Back to the top   © 2001 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.