Thursday, 12 May 2016

The Mummy

Whatever happened to Brendan Fraser? His career started out so well, but then he just seemed to vanish. Which is a shame, because he was just so cool.
Speaking of his early career, today's movie is the 1999 classic, The Mummy.
Not to be confused with the god of the Jews.
I feel that I should warn that this movie has some pretty gruesome death scenes, but since they're portrayed via 1999 CGI the shock value's countered by the narm.

The movie begins with the source of all evil in the world, Ancient Egypt!
*Insert Imperial March theme here*
A narrator informs us about the Pharaoh Seti 1, who was apparently one of the richest of the Pharaohs. He had a concubine whom he did not allow to be touched by anyone else, on pain of death.
However, his high priest Imhotep was in love with the concubine, named Anck-su-namun.
These guys.
Normally I'd censor nipples, but she's wearing gold pasties, so we're cool.
In order to ensure no-one else touched her when he wasn't around, Seti had her clothes painted on. If they were smudged then he'd know she'd been touched.
But wouldn't her hair smudge it anyway? And what if she just happened to brush past a tapestry?
Those questions will remain unanswered because Seti returned just in time to catch them together, so they up and murdered him.
Et tu, Imhotep?
The Pharaoh's guards enter in the manner of all cinema security forces, too late. Imhotep and his priests run, Anck-su-namun staying behind to hold them off.
No no no, the pointy end goes in the bad guy.
Imhotep's priests manage to steal her corpse and take it to a secret temple, where Imhotep prepares the rites to resurrect her.
Unfortunately, the temple wasn't so secret and the Pharaoh's guards show up, ruining the ritual and capturing everybody.
He didn't expect the Egyptian Inquisition.
The Medjai (That's the bodyguards) mummify Imhotep's priests alive but save the worst for Imhotep himself. They prepare the curse called the Hom-Dai, which is apparently so terrible that they actually fear doing it.
It also involves burying Imhotep alive with a bucketful of scarab beetles.
Fun fact: This scene gave lots of people nightmares. Most notably, the actor.
Most of those beetles were CGI of course, the ones thrown in were rubber toys. But it's still a horrifying thing which the actor went through.
The narrator explains that the curse prevents Imhotep from ever truly dying. But if he were ever to be awoken, he would be an indestructible monster.
Kind of a daft curse really. Sure, being a corpse for 3000 years and never being able to die would suck, but dooming the entire world upon his release? It's like cutting off your nose to spite your face, only instead it's dooming the planet to punish one guy.
Kinda short-sighted plan.
Anyhoo, we cut to 3000 years later where the French foreign legion is making a last stand against an army on horseback.
It goes well, but not for the French.
The horseback soldiers are the Medjai, who have been keeping Hamunaptra hidden to prevent Imhotep being discovered.
The guy on the left is Rick O'Connell, an American who's in a bit of a pickle. Just as the Medjai are about to shoot their horses get spooked and they all flee. Rick turns around and finds out why.
Did Imhotep want to make sandcastles with Rick?
Rick flees and the camera pans to show that the sand has formed the shape of Imhotep's face. It's not explained how or why Imhotep would choose now to kick up some sand, but the leader of the Medjai decides to let Rick go, assuming the desert will kill him.
"Hey, those bullet expenses reports are murder."
We then cut to Cairo and the Museum of Antiquities, where a young lady named Evy is putting books on shelves in complete disregard for the Dewey Decimal system.
Seriously, she just shoves them on the shelves in alphabetical order with no regard as to how anybody would find something if they don't have an exact book title.
She also has no regard for health and safety.
Due to her blatant disregard for common sense she loses her balance and brings the entire library down around her in a manner that would not be out of place for Tom and Jerry.
So did none of the patrons so much as lean on a shelf until now?
Evy's boss shows up and berates her, mixing some exposition about Evy's backstory into his rant. She's an incredibly skilled (But clumsy) Egyptologist whose parents were very generous to the museum, hence why he took her in.
Before Evy can get started on straightening up the mess (I have no idea how she was going to stand all of those bookcases back up by herself) she hears a noise in another room and gets pranked by her brother, Jonathan.
He's the one on the right.
He's excited because he's found something that may lead to treasure and he wants his sister's help because she's a better translator.
"Here, look at this MacGuffin."
After inspecting the box Evy activates it and a secret compartment opens, revealing a map to Hamunaptra.
They're both very excited about it and show it to Evy's boss, who's a tad dismissive.
"Oh no, I accidentally burned it, how terrible."
He tells them that most people who search for Hamunaptra die.
Evy and Jonathan however, decide to track down the person he stole it from in order to get more information.
Yeah, Jonathan's a pickpocket, it actually turns out to be very useful.
And whom exactly did he steal it from?
George of the jungle, apparently.
He of course stole it from O'Connell, who's due to be hanged soon.
Very soon in fact.
O'Connell tells Evy that he got the box from Hamunaptra itself and tells her that if she wants to know where it is, she has to get him out of there. She tries offering the prison warden money, but he really wants to see O'Connell hung.
So she tells him about Hamunaptra and, knowing about the legends, he agrees, for 25% of the treasure.
Although he does cut it rather close.
The next day Evy and Jonathan are getting ready to set sail down the Nile and they discuss O'Connell, whom Evy doesn't seem to like very much due to his appearance and, presumably, smell.
Then he shows up and she change her tune.
I believe the phrase she's looking for is "Humina, humina."
As they get on the boat they're met by the prison warden (Whom I'm just going to refer to as Omid, his actor), who's there to make sure they pay him and don't just abscond with all the treasure.
That night Jonathan has met some Americans whom he is happily swindling at cards.
I've no idea how he knew they were Americans.
They reveal that they're also searching for Hamunaptra, but they've got an advantage because they've got a guide who's actually been there.
This guide turns out to be Beni, a man from O'Connell's unit who fled from the opening battle.
They're very happy to see each other.
Beni explains that he's only helping the Americans because they paid half up front and will pay the other half after returning. O'Connell decides to forgive Beni for abandoning him at Hamunaptra, then throws him off the boat.
"Goodbye Beni."
However, after throwing Beni off he notices some wet footprints, which lead to Evy's room.
She has a surprise guest.
"Avon calling."
The Medjai fight the heroes, accidentally setting the boat on fire as they do so.
This backfires.
The Medjai grabs the puzzle box, referring to it as a key. Lots of Medjai fight and die whilst the heroes flee the burning boat, but Jonathan is a bit slower than the others and gets confronted by the burning man.
Luckily for him this is right in front of his new American friends, who're revelling in the opportunity to shoot people.
He even pick-pocketed him. He's like the human version of Alladdin's monkey.
The two groups end up on opposite sides of the river, one side with all of the supplies and the other actually on the correct side. The next morning O'Connell's group resupply, which is mostly an excuse to get Evy into a nicer outfit.
And here I thought Brendan Fraser was the primary piece of eye candy.
Both groups meet up again just outside Hamunaptra and they race to be the first there, with O'Connell winning easily.
"So long, Beni."
Once inside both groups search separately, although the Americans' Egyptologist dismisses Evy due to her genitalia.
His sexism is rivalled only by his smugness.
But of course Evy is the protagonist and manages to find a hidden room, which they illuminate using mirrors.
According to Mythbusters, this is actually plausible, though not as bright.
As the heroes explore the crypt they find the feet of the Anubis statue, which is where the golden book of Amun-Ra is rumoured to be.
They also find all of the Americans.
And they greet each other in the traditional American manner.
Evy calms everybody down, pointing out that there's more than enough treasure to go around.
Like these not-at-all-suspicious scarabs here.
Omid thinks that the scarabs would be worth a lot of money and begins collecting as many as he can carry.
Meanwhile, the Americans get their hired help to dig up some stones.
The Egyptologist did mention that it was booby-trapped.
The heroes have some better luck when they dig a tomb out by tunnelling beneath it.
Technically Jonathan found it. By accident. Because this is a movie and he's the comic relief.
Meanwhile, Omid drops one of the scarabs, which hatches to reveal an actual scarab.
Which then burrows into his foot, climbs up him within his skin and drills into his brain, where it starts eating.
And I shivered just typing that.
In other news, I have a new least favourite way to die.
As the heroes investigate the tomb and figure out that the box was in fact the key to opening it, they get distracted by Omid's death screams.
Which is understandable.
As the heroes sit around the bonfire discussing the day's events, O'Connell hears some horses getting spooked, immediately before the Medjai attack them.
The fight goes pretty evenly, until O'Connell and the Medjai leader come face to face.
And O'Conell picks up a stick of dynamite, threatening to blow them all up.
What dumbass left that thing next to a fire?
The Medjai leave, warning everyone to leave or die.
Nobody takes the hint.
The next morning the Americans find a box with a warning written on the side of it.
It simply states that whoever opens the box, dies.
So they open the box, completely forgetting about the trap from yesterday.
I was starting to like these guys as well.
Meanwhile, the heroes are also ignoring the Medjai warning by opening Imhotep's tomb.
"At last! After 3000 years I'm free!"
The Americans are looking over the contents of the box, which was apparently the very first Lootcrate since it not only contains a book made of obsidian but also some jars made of some other rare substance.
I'm not an antiques expert, but I'm pretty sure these are valuable.
Everyone sits around the campfire together and discusses their findings, with Evy mentioning something about the ten plagues of Egypt being unleashed if a victim of the Hom-Dai is ever awoken.
Seriously, who invented this curse? And how petty were they exactly?
Evy steals the book from the Egyptologist and opens it with the key (Because if you're going to put the entire fate of the world on the line, you gotta make sure all the artefacts to do so can be opened with just one key).
Wait, speaking of that key, how did O'Connell get his hands on it? He mentioned that he found it in Hamunaptra, but if it's so important to the Medjai why did they leave it so unsecured? The Medjai exist solely to prevent Imhotep from being awoken so surely they would have hidden it somewhere it could never be found. Not right next to both the artefacts needed.
But yeah, Evy reads from the book, which awakens Imhotep and unleashes the first plague.
Locusts may not seem like that bad of a plague, but to farmers it's a serious issue.
Everyone runs inside the crypt to escape the locusts, because panic makes you do things like that. Mr. Burns (The American with the glasses) trips and loses his glasses, but nobody stops to help him find them.
Beni actually steps on them and breaks them, although it was by accident.
He then meets a new friend.
"Are those your glasses in your pocket or are you happy to see me?"
The heroes are exploring the crypt when they see the sand in front of them suddenly erupt with a horde of scarabs, which begin chasing them.
Where they were living and what they were feeding on is never explained.
Evy jumps a different way and falls through a revolving door, where she discovers Mr. Burns.
Well, most of him.
The CGI did not age well.
Then she meets his new friend, and if you thought the above CGI was bad, wait until you see this.
"My cousin hosts 'Tales from the crypt'."
Imhotep leans in close to Evy and confuses her for Anck-su-namun, presumably because he took the eyes from a near-blind man and therefore can't see very well.
Luckily O'Connell and the others find her and O'Connell blasts him with the shotgun, sending him flying and they leave.
The Medjai show up, having rescued Burns, and warn everyone that a mere shotgun blast won't have killed Imhotep.
Who, at that very moment, bumps into Beni.
Who bravely wets himself and prays to every god he can think of.
Imhotep keeps advancing until Beni gets to ancient Jewish, which Imhotep recognises as 'The language of the slaves'.
Since this is a movie where the ancient Egyptian gods were clearly the correct ones, I won't bother going into any depth about whether the Jews were really slaves of the Pharaohs, since it therefore really wouldn't matter.
Back at Cairo everybody is panicking and O'Connell is trying to persuade Evy to leave, but she's not running since she believes everything to be her fault and she wants to put it right.
And to be fair, she's kinda right.
So O'Connell leaves, intent of getting as far away as possible.
But first, some booze. I think he needs it.
They chat with two of the Americans about Burns, who we then cut to.
He's having a nice chat with Beni and some other bloke.
I wonder who the new guy is.
In the bar everybody spits out their drinks, complaining that they taste just like blood.
Since that's one of the plagues of Egypt, this tips them off that Imhotep is nearby.
As meteors fall from the sky O'Connell and Evy bump into Beni, but get distracted when they hear Imhotep roaring.
Imhotep shrugs off the bullets O'Connell pumped into him and flings him across the room, before turning to Evy.
Then he notices her pet cat and he flees in fear.
This is why cats are superior to dogs.
Needing help, Evy decides that everyone should ask her boss for knowledge. When they find him however, he's casually chatting to the Medjai leader.
What a tweest!
Yep, it turns out that her boss was a Medjai all along. This actually makes sense.
First, he burned the map.
Second, he warned Evy not to go hunting for Hamunaptra.
Third, someone had to have told the Medjai where the key was and who had it, or else their attack of the boat would have been a major plothole.
Fourth, they actually warned them to leave, instead of just slaughtering them all, presumably because he requested for them not to hurt Evy.
So yeah, good twist movie, I didn't see it coming, but I feel like I would have if I'd picked up on the clues.
Just like a good plot twist should be.
Anyway, they discuss things and figure out that Imhotep wishes to resurrect Anck-su-namun and that he's chosen Evy as the sacrifice to do it.
They also explain why he's afraid of cats. But they don't think to hide in a pet store or anything.
Afterwards they realise that the Egyptologist is missing, so O'Connell locks Evy in her room and tell the Americans to guard her with their lives.
Note the suspicious lack of cats in this screenshot.
In The Egyptologist's home O'Connell and Jonathan find Beni rummaging around and they interrogate him, but don't learn anything we don't already know. They do, however, manage to not lose Beni when they hear the Egyptologist's screams.
"Oh yeah, we were meant to be saving that guy."
Meanwhile, back at Evy's place, one of the Americans goes to get a drink, which leaves the other one alone.
And that's when Imhotep flies in through the window.
It would be charitable to refer to this as a fight.
Imhotep turns into sand and enters Evy's room where he snogs her whilst she sleeps.
On the one hand, he has mostly regenerated. On the other, he's still mostly a corpse around his mouth.
Also, ewww.
Luckily O'Connell shows up and flashes Evy's pussy at Imhotep.
That cat just does not care about the 3000 year old Mummy in front of it.
They go to the Museum of Antiquities and formulate a theory that if the back book brought Imhotep back, maybe the gold book can kill him.
Also, for some reason, the last remaining American is not hugging the cat for dear life, as I would be.
Everybody gets distracted by the sound of hundreds of people chanting Imhotep's name. Apparently, the plague of boils also allows Imhotep to control people.
Unfortunately, as they're fleeing in the car, the last American gets dragged out of it and Imhotep kills him.
Even Beni couldn't look.
The heroes crash their car and Imhotep catches up with them. Beni translates for him, but Evy corrects him on a word.
The face of a man who realises he's completely worthless from here on out.
Imhotep threatens to kill everybody unless Evy comes with him, so she agrees. But once they're gone, his mind-slaves move in to kill them anyway.
So Evy's boss decides to perform a heroic last stand, in a pretty badass manner.
If you're gonna go down, go down swinging.
The next morning O'Connell has somehow gotten a hold of the car they crashed (Or another identical to it) and they go to the Royal Air Force base to ask for help from a friend.
I wonder what nationality this guy is?
This is Winston, a crazy old fighter pilot whom O'Connell had a scene with in the bar. He's a retired WW1 pilot who's unhappy about having survived. He's also utterly bonkers and has a deathwish, so he's the perfect candidate for this mission.
Slight problem, his plane's only a two-seater.
They find a solution.
MacGuyver would be proud.
They fly quite close to Hamunaptra, but Imhotep spots them and does something really, really freaking cool.
Why is O'Connell firing?
The giant wall of sand with a face swallows the plane, causing it to crash.
Luckily, everyone except Winston survives the crash and the Medjai leader even picks up a new toy.
I've heard of calling shotgun, I guess this is calling Tommy gun.
While O'Connell and the Medjai leader (OK, I Googled it, his name's Ardeth, apparently) dig their way into Hamunaptra, Jonathan spots the scarab gems that Omid found earlier. Being an inquisitive fellow, he pries one loose and shows it to the others.
"Everything else here has caused someone's grisly demise, but I'm sure this thing is fine."
Luckily O'Connell flicks out a knife and cuts it out of Jonathan's shoulder, shooting it before it gets back to them.
The gunshot does draw Imhotep's attention though.
Imhotep's priests were mummified too, remember?
As O'Connell works his way deeper into the crypt, they find the treasure room, much to Jonathan's delight. But they get attacked by Imhotep's priests, so they shoot them.
This would look so badass if it wasn't for Ardeth's duckface.
Ardeth goes charging off whilst carrying some lit dynamite.
Can nobody show up in this movie without making a heroic sacrifice?
50 shades of Egyptians.
Jonathan manages to find the gold book, but it's locked with the same lock as the others, so he needs the key, which Imhotep has.
So they charge downstairs. Jonathan distracts Imhotep by yelling about the book and O'Connell tears apart his priests with a sword he found.
Ok, now this does look badass.
Just as O'Connell finishes off the priests, Jonathan starts reading some inscriptions from the front of the book, which releases more mummies.
Evy tells Jonathan that if he finishes the inscription he can control them, but Anck-su-namun attacks her with the ceremonial dagger.
The new mummies fight O'Connell until Jonathan finishes reading the inscription, at which point they stop.
How many times has O'Connell almost died now? I've lost track.
Jonathan orders the mummies to kill Anck-su-namun, which they do, much to Imhotep's consternation.
He's not the only person who's tried to strangle Jonathan, I'm guessing.
O'Connell runs up and cuts Imhotep's arm off, which doesn't do much except distract Imhotep.
Oh, and give Jonathan a chance to pick the key out of his pocket.
He may be in a movie alongside Brendan Fraser, but damn does he look good in this shot.
Imhotep throws O'Connell around a lot before grabbing him by the throat and lifting him into the air. Just as he's turning blue though, Evy finishes reading the incantation from the book.
I honestly didn't notice this effect until about my fifth time watching this movie.
A ghostly chariot rides down the stairs and passes through Imhotep. Everyone's confused by the fact that it didn't seem to hurt him, until Evy points out that it's undone the curse, meaning that Imhotep's now mortal again.
So O'Connell stabs him.
Then he decides to take a bath.
After Imhotep's death, the crypt starts crumbling around them and they start running. On the way they pass the treasure room and Beni, who's struggling with a large bag of gold.
"Goodbye Beni."
Beni didn't actually get crushed beneath the ceiling though. He escaped back into the treasure room, only to find a horde of scarabs waiting for him.
And then his torch goes out.
Oh well, he kinda deserved it.
So our heroes escape into the sunset, with nothing but their lives, some stories, and all of the gold that Beni was loading onto the camels.
Oh, and Ardeth survived, because when you're that badass no mere undead army can stop you.
This movie was hilarious and awesome, yet it's become horribly dated. Despite the CGI looking more humorous than scary though, the deaths give genuine shivers. If you want to witness the pinnacle of 90s action-adventure movies, this is probably the best of them all.

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