The Mummy Trilogy – Film Series Review

With a new, modern reboot about to kick off an entire universe of monster movies, let’s travel back in time to relieve some movies that really should have been left in a coffin deep underground to be forgotten about forever.

The Mummy (1999)

To say this film is the best in the franchise would be to not be saying very much at all. The story is alright enough to keep it going to the end and there’s some okay action scenes and semi-interesting ideas. The acting isn’t great, the special effects aren’t great and the film itself isn’t great. It’s average at best. It’s kind of enjoyable but not completely. Adventurer Brendan Fraser, Egyptologist Rachel Weisz, her brother John Hannah and ancient secret protector Oded Fehr team up to stop ancient evil, newly resurrected mummy Imhotep from taking over the world and resurrecting his long dead lady love. It blends some ancient Egypt mythology in nicely which keeps the plot a little interesting, as well as taking the story through various sandy locations to keep things looking nice.

But when ti all comes down to it, this film is just a generic, average action film. It’s fun enough to not make you want to instantly turn off, but it’s nowhere near good enough to warrant multiple viewings. The action is okay but ends up being largely the same sort of gun shooting, sword fighting stuff a lot. The comedy rarely works, coming off as too slapstick  and forced. The special effects are big and get a bit too much, mostly looking quite cheap and fake. The production design and world building is quite good, with some interesting ideas and mythology thrown in to make this seem like a more developed film. It’s also the scariest of the trilogy, though in no way is all that scary. It’s just a bit darker and slightly more harsh than the others. But that doesn’t save it from being a very middling ‘Indiana Jones‘ rip-off.


The Mummy Returns (2001)

Look everyone, it’s the Rock! Sadly, he doesn’t appear much, He’s in it for 2 minutes and then at the end returns as a horribly plastic looking CGI scorpion man. And that sums up what this film is. It think it’s going to be really good, but ends up being a hollow, terrible thing. This time round, Imhotep is back and so is his girlfriend. They’re trying to resurrect the Scorpion King so they can take control of his terrible looking CGI army of dog people. And I mean terrible looking. Absolutely garbage. This time Brendan Fraser’s kid is involved. But as this film hasn’t reached the present time where kid actors aren’t annoying, this kid is very annoying. He thinks he’s being funny, but he’s actually being very annoying. The plot is contrived and bounces from location to location in a game of chase the bad guys and barely manages to carry that along.

There’s action, of course. It isn’t very good action mind you. Everything is boring and not exciting in any way. There’s some slightly interesting backstory of the mummy and the mummy’s girlfriend but Rachel Weisz’s character is forced into it somehow because she was there in ancient Egypt somehow? Huh?? It makes very little sense. Bracelets and scepters turn up and then suddenly have rules and uses added to them later. Everything just reeks of, ‘let’s chuck this thing in because it might look cool or seem interesting’. Heads up, none of it is. The acting is slightly better in this one but really the whole film is just too corny to actually be any good. A good sequel this is not.


The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (2008)

The third entry in a movie trilogy can usually go one of two ways: it’s either really good and elevates the franchise or it’s really bad and you turn on the films and remember them poorly. Guess which way this film goes… That’s right, it’s really really bad. This film starts off with a flashback to ancient China, having largely ruined Egyptian mythology twice. The set up for the story is that Jet Li is an evil emperor and kills Michelle Yeoh’s lover and aims to become immortal. Yeoh tricks him and turns him into terracotta instead. It’s a seemingly cool idea but actually the prologue goes on for way too long and the acting is very poor from the two greats. Then the film gets into the main story. Brendan Fraser is now married to Maria Bello instead, replacing Weisz which is terrible as she sucks the life out of every single scene she is in. Their son is all grown up now and Luke Ford plays him as the most arrogant kid ever. He wants to be a hero and like his dad but he’s just really annoying instead.

Their father and son dynamic could be good if there was actually any emotion to it. And the fact that it is only resolved after Fraser gets stabbed, nearly dies and is magically healed just makes it even more worthless. One thing leads to another and Jet Li and his army are resurrected and go on a rampage leading to some terrible CGI action scenes featuring Yetis, zombies and a whole heap of other rubbish. None of it is very exciting, none of it is very good. It’s all just really really dull. No wonder they chose to reboot this franchise! The acting just gets worse and worse. The film might be better if it just fully embraced the fact that it was a silly b-movie popcorn film but all the stuff that gets close to that seems unintentional. None of it works and it’s all very predictable. Predictably terrible though am I right?!



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