"KEEP BUSTIN'."

The Mummy (1999)

I have a well-earned reputation for being easy on movies. My friends will see some highly anticipated movie at a critic’s screening and be grumbling about how much they hated it, and then they’ll turn to me and say, “You’ll probly like it though.” My list of movies everybody says sucks that I enjoy is way longer than most people’s. My wife seems to think I’m some kind of bad movie Jesus being kind to the cinematic lepers. Especially with new releases people often accuse me of having low or no standards.

But there are a handful of popular blockbusters from the ‘90s that I hated at the time and have not turned around on. Most of them were big hits, then fell out of favor for years so I could breathe a sigh of relief, but then when the people who were kids when they came out grew nostalgic suddenly they were claimed as classics again. Of those, Stephen Sommers’ THE MUMMY is the one I get the most shit about any time I mention it. It comes up on Twitter every once in a while and I get a wave of people not believing their eyes. It doesn’t compute for them that someone doesn’t think that movie is one of the greats. More than once I’ve made the mistake of trying to go a little Rowdy Roddy Piper and lean into shit talking about it. People start to seem genuinely mad, so sometimes I back down and admit that I haven’t seen it since opening day and even though I think Sommers has continued to be a director of lunkheaded, formless movies with terrible visual design and seemingly unfinished digital effects despite enormous budgets, I did get a kick out of all that in VAN HELSING and G.I. JOE: RISE OF COBRA. So maybe I could soften to him.

Now I have a new problem, though. I finally did it. I went and watched the movie again, in the modern year of 2022. I tried to like it. I might be able to say there’s more of it I like than the other ‘90s blockbusters I hate. But I can’t say I turned around on it. So welcome, Mummy fans, to the latest annoying chapter of what I suppose I should start calling Vern Never Learns.

The prologue, starting with the Universal logo turning into the sun burning over the pyramids in “Thebes, City of the Living,” is pretty great! Epic, mythic, takes itself seriously, stars Arnold Vosloo (HARD TARGET) as “Imhotep, Pharaoh’s high priest, keeper of the dead.” This is the backstory of how Imhotep and the Pharaoh’s girlfriend Anuk Su Namun (Patricia Velasquez, BEOWULF, MINDHUNTERS, MALIGNANT) have an affair – “no other man was allowed to touch her” and this dipshit smears her body paint – and assassinate the Pharaoh (Aharon Ipale, AMERICAN NINJA 5, GUARDIAN ANGEL). Their escape plan is for her to kill herself and for him to break into her crypt, steal her body and resurrect her in Hamunaptra, City of the Dead. Pretty intense. But Pharaoh’s bodyguards stop the ritual, mummify his priests, and do a special curse where they cut out his tongue and lock him in a sarcophagus full of scarabs to be undead and buried forever.

The plan is pretty short-sighted though in my opinion. Sure, I guess it’s a plus that he gets tortured real bad, but according to the narrator, “The Medjai would never allow him to be released, for he would arise a walking disease, a plague upon mankind, an unholy flesh-eater with the strength of ages, power over the sands, and the glory of invincibility!” So number one, they are requiring a secret society called the Medjai to exist and pass on through the generations forever, forcing their poor children to dedicate their lives to this stupid task of making sure the mummy never escapes. And number two, can you guess whether or not the Medjai do allow him to be released to arise a walking disease, a plague upon mankind, an unholy flesh-eater with the strength of ages, power over the sands, and glory of invincibility? Why, yes. Yes they do. Thousands of years after the people whose idea it was would have to deal with it. Thanks for nothing, assholes.

Like, imagine if you were forced to spend your whole life protecting the tomb of John Wilkes Boothe so he never escapes and turns into a deadly monster. I hate that asshole too but that would suck! It’s not worth it.

As the title comes up it skips ahead to 1923 and the virtual camera rotates around a statue of Anubis as it deteriorates over time. The idea of the shot is cool enough to make up for the shitty ass CD-ROM-looking title. Much of the ‘90s typography has not held up in my opinion – I won’t blame this movie for that.

The introduction of the hero, Rick O’Connell (Brendan Fraser, between BLAST FROM THE PAST and DUDLEY DO-RIGHT) is pretty promising too. The scene looks like a good old fashioned epic, with giant armies on horseback facing off in the desert outside the now-lost city of Hamunaptra, as stoic Medjai leader Ardeth Bay (Oded Fehr in his first movie, soon followed by DEUCE BIGALOW: MALE GIGOLO) keeps watch. There are way more actual extras and horse stunts than digital enhancements. Rick shoots guns and gets chased and accepts that he’s about to die, but the voice of the mummy scares the entire army away.

The movie’s heroine and love interest, Evelyn “Evie” Carnahan (Rachel Weisz, DEATH MACHINE) is not introduced with heroics, but with buffoonery. Filing books in her job at a library in Cairo, she clumsily knocks over a tall shelf that acts as a domino and completely destroys the entire collection while the music flails and jumps around telling us how whimsical and delightful we should consider it to be. After her boss Dr. Bey (Erick Avari, who tried to stop Fraser from drinking from the Slurpee machine in ENCINO MAN) chews her out and tells her to clean it up no matter how long it takes, the destruction is never shown, mentioned or relevant again, and her being a Jar-Jar-Binksian clutz does not turn out to be a significant aspect of her character going forward. The scene does have dialogue to establish that she knows how to read hieroglyphics but only got the job because of her rich, dead parents.

Weisz makes Evie kind of likable and at times even funny in her flusteredness. Unfortunately she’s saddled with a comic relief sidekick, her brother Jonathan (John Hannah, Spartacus), whose whole thing is that he’s sleazy and greedy but you know, in a charming way. This is a problem because Rick also has a not-very funny comic relief acquaintance, the weasely, treacherous coward Beni (played by Stephen Sommers/P.T. Anderson regular Kevin J. O’Connor [LORD OF ILLUSIONS]). I was relieved at least to learn that his cartoonish accent is supposed to be Bulgarian and not Egyptian. There’s also Gad Hassan (Omid Djalili, SKY CAPTAIN AND THE WORLD OF TOMORROW), the sleazy warden who Evie makes a deal with who also goes with them. He spits more than his camel! And Jonathan keeps saying he smells bad! Can you believe it?

Then the Egyptian diggers are melted by acid and the Egyptian warden gets beetles inside him and rams himself to death against a wall and Jonathan finds his bottle of Glenlivet and says, “Well, he may have been a stinky fella but he had good taste!” Evie’s outwardly nicer than her asshole brother, but she enjoys this ribbing at a freshly dead man’s expense.


So there are between one and three too many comic relief characters. And it’s unclear what they’re even supposed to be relieving, because both Evie and Rick are also being comical much of the time, with such finely crafted jokes as Oh no, my camel is going too fast!

and

She accidentally shuts the suitcase on his hands and doesn’t notice even though he screams!


and other types of slapstick. By which I mostly mean screaming and flailing around.

It’s exhausting.

The music can be too, I’m afraid. The score is by Jerry Goldsmith (who also had THE HAUNTING and THE 13TH WARRIOR that year) and it’s very good at times. It creates a legit big time adventure movie atmosphere. I just wish it would calm the fuck down more often. I’m sure that was Sommers’ call.

Jonathan has come across a rare antiquity, a puzzle box we know unlocks Imhotep’s sarcophagus. He stole it from Rick, who is currently in jail, awaiting execution, for having “a veddy good time,” according to Gad. Hopefully that doesn’t mean anything that would get him in a database. Evie makes a business deal to get him out so he can lead them to Hamunaptra and some treasure she has a map for.

On the surface Fraser is good casting, because he looks like the square jawed heroes on old pulp magazine covers. But the character he’s playing is written exactly as Indiana Jones, a cynical and experienced adventurer whose heart is hidden beneath his rough exterior and old timey sexism. When he meets Evie from his jail cell he’s an asshole, calling her a “broad” and forcibly kissing her. She calls him “filthy, rude, a complete scoundrel,” but instantly has a school girl crush on him. In the second half, after they’ve fallen for each other, he picks her up like a cat and locks her in a room against her will so he can go do the action hero stuff without her.

The problem I have – and obviously most of America disagrees with me – is that I buy Fraser as this character maybe 10% of the time. He doesn’t seem like that guy. He seems like Brendan Fraser trying to act like that guy. Take any line he has in the movie, picture Harrison Ford saying it, and you’ll think, “Oh yeah. That does work better.”

I don’t want to insult Fraser. I would say the same thing if it was Tom Hanks in the role. Fraser is very natural at playing a teddy bear, a lovable friendly harmless guy who’s possibly kinda dumb but it doesn’t matter. It’s another thing to play a rough-edged guy who knows he’s smarter and better than everyone around him but if the right dangerously clumsy librarian comes along his heart might melt to reveal the teddy bear hidden deep inside. Personally I haven’t seen him pull it off yet.

The rival American treasure hunters who they sort of team up with are a pretty good idea, I kind of enjoy those doofuses, but it was a relief when The Mummy started killing them off because it was starting to seem like the movie was going to kill all the Egyptians in the party and none of the Americans. Kind of treating Egyptians like other movies treat robots. Kill as many as you want and still get a PG-13.

O’Connell’s main contribution is that he’s good at shooting, often with two pistols at once. He kills some guys on a boat and etc. He also shoots at swarms of scarabs and clouds of sand, which I suspect accomplishes nothing, but I’m not a gun guy.

I guess this makes sense, since I would consider myself an Arnold Vosloo fan, but The Mummy is a better villain when he’s in human form. It was cool to read that Vosloo got his shot to audition because this has the same producer as HARD TARGET, Jim Jacks, and that he insisted on playing his part of the story as a totally straight tragic romance. I shudder to think what the approach would’ve been if someone else got it.

Before he can reconstitute himself into Billy Zane 2.0 he’s an animated character, who I suppose was advanced for the time, but I remember thinking he looked and moved silly even back then. In some shots he looks kinda like Claymation or stop motion, so I honestly think they should’ve done him that way. Would’ve had more personality in my opinion.

As various mummy types appear for the last act some of them do look cooler than Imhotep. Some of the best parts are when they’re shooting at the mummy priests (guys in makeup I believe?)…

…and then when he’s sword-fighting them (digital homage to JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS skeletons), and then the ones that for some reason march around like wind-up tin soldiers. But even then with scene after scene of guns firing, and then swords clanging, people screaming and Jerry Goldsmith horns blowing in your face it just turns into a bunch of annoying racket without much rhythm or build, and I just want them to hurry up and be done with it. But they will not hurry up. Even after they kill The Mummy there’s several minutes of running and screaming while everything falls down.

When Imhotep fights O’Connell it consists of three times in a row where he just throws O’Connell and he goes “AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!!!” as he flies across the room each time. Which I guess is kind of funny. Funnier than any of the jokes in the movie, unless I’m forgetting something.

I also got a chuckle from Imhotep’s death (until he returns) ‘cause it kinda reminded me of something that could be in LAWNMOWER MAN.


I guess what this comes down to is that it’s going for a genre that’s right up my alley, but it’s just not calibrated to my liking. It’s got a good scope to it and lots of fun elements but the lead performance is off, the humor is off, the build of the action is off. It’s a similar genre to MASK OF ZORRO, PIRATES OF THE CARRIBEAN or THE LONE RANGER, but I think those are far better constructed, with much more entertaining heroes and a sense of humor that appeals to me instead of being grating. I actually think the movie that most matches the tone I think they’re going for here is THE PHANTOM starring Arnold Vosloo lookalike Billy Zane (with DEEP RISING hero Treat Williams as the villain). I can understand why someone who likes THE MUMMY wouldn’t necessarily like that one – it’s certainly cheaper, less epic, less fantastical. But I think it gets that feel just right – proud to be corny and old fashioned, giving a little wink about it but not deflating anything – going all in. And everybody seems to be having fun so they don’t need to constantly be jumping around trying to remind you that they’re supposed to be funny. (Of course, it was a flop and to this day there are people who claim its humor is unintentional, so maybe aggressive mugging is what the people want.)


THE MUMMY’s screenplay is credited to Sommers (GUNMEN), screen story by Sommers and Lloyd Fonvielle (THE BRIDE, CHERRY 2000) & Kevin Jarre (RAMBO: FIRST BLOOD PART II), adapted from the 1932 screenplay, I guess because of the names Imhotep and Ardeth Bey (who are the same character in the original), the idea of the mummy trying to resurrect his lover, and confusing the female lead for her, and that scratches on the inside of his tomb tell them he was buried alive.

I don’t think this affected my response to the movie, but I remember years of updates in Fangoria’s Terror Teletype as different horror legends attempted to make an updated THE MUMMY. George Romero tried, and then Clive Barker (whose version, unsurprisingly, sounds very strange), working with Mick Garris. I don’t remember this one but apparently after Barker it was gonna be Joe Dante directing a script by Alan Ormsby (DEATHDREAM, DERANGED, THE SUBSTITUTE), rewritten by John Sayles (ALLIGATOR) and starring Daniel-Day Lewis as the Mummy, “a relentless Terminator-like character”! (Apparently this one introduced the scarabs that ended up in Sommers’ film.) Romero and Garris both returned for other attempts before Sommers pitched a bigger budget INDIANA JONES version. Universal was desperate for a hit after the financial failure of BABE: PIG IN THE CITY. Clearly oddball visionary masterpieces were not what moviegoers were looking for, so they went in the other direction and were duly rewarded.

He kinda scrunches his face like Kermit the Frog


Now that I have tried to enjoy THE MUMMY and failed, how can I redeem myself? I tried revisiting two other movies I hated at the time that have followings now. I already posted THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE (2004) one on Patreon, which I had intended to do with this, but I was worried people would get mad and unsubscribe. I have another one I may post on there with a warning. The third one I have more nice things to say about, but I didn’t really change my mind on any of them. So what now? I have a couple more movies in mind but what if I don’t start liking any of them? Does anyone really want to read a series of “turns out I was right, I still don’t like your favorite movies” reviews? I don’t know, man. It’s easier when people are mad at me for liking a movie. Then at least I have the movie to comfort me.

This entry was posted on Thursday, June 16th, 2022 at 9:46 am and is filed under Action, Fantasy/Swords, Horror, Monster, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

81 Responses to “The Mummy (1999)”

  1. Not really a fan of that one either. We can all agree that Arnold Vosloo should’ve been a megastar after his part here. Also the visual FX, especially the motion capture and digital make up were pretty ground breaking back then. But even as a teenager I couldn’t bring myself to like it.

  2. Excited at the introduction of Vern’s Appeals Process, I say keep them coming!

  3. There are definitely aspects of this movie that worked better for me on rewatch a few summers ago than they did at the time. It feels way less digital and more practical/location-based than modern movies, which gives it a sense of scale that it didn’t have when it was new and just felt chintsy compared to the real movies that were being made at the time. I cannot get behind the notion that this is in any way a good movie but now that they film everything in a rear-projection lightbox like the driving scenes in a Hitchcock movie, it’s just nice to see, like, sets and exteriors and stuff.

    But then of course there’s the fact that all the characters except for Vosloo are wack as fuck, with a CRYSTAL SKULL-level preponderance of sidekicks who turn every scene into a bloated horse carcass stuffed with moldering schtick that everyone has to take a few kicks at before we’re allowed to move on. Im sure the millenials would call this bafoonery “camp” but it’s really just corn. Not being able to tell the difference is one of the major causes of film illiteracy today.

  4. I didn’t like this movie when I saw it in theaters either. It just seemed so cartoony, and like Vern, I didn’t find it all that funny. All my friends loved it for some reason. But I rewatched it when it first hit VHS, and I remember enjoying it more. I expected something like Indiana Jones, something that “transcended the genre,” but what I got was just a goofy adventure that probably has more in common with traditional 30s serials than Indiana Jones, for good and bad. But I haven’t seen the movie since the 90s, so who knows if it still holds up.

    I don’t think it’s crazy that someone might not like this movie. Good or bad, it’s overrated in the culture. I saw an online poll once where people picked their favorite Indiana Jones-esque movie that’s not Indiana Jones. I thought for sure Romancing the Stone would run away with it, but I was shocked to discover that The Mummy won with an absolutely insane lead. People love this movie. (My favorite Indiana Jones knockoff is probably Jackie Chan’s Armour of the Gods movies with Romancing the Stone in a very close second).

  5. Hey, Free Dummy

    June 16th, 2022 at 11:53 am

    I didn’t care for this when it came it, but I watched the whole series last year when a podcast I listen to covered them all. Still didn’t like it much, but it comes off great in comparison to the sequels, which I could barely get through. The biggest bummer is that on paper an Indiana Jones / Universal Monsters mashup with Brendan Frasier sounds incredible. I think my problem is that they leaned too heavy on the Indy-lite and barely even nodded toward the horror side of things. The mummy is in bandages for like five minutes of the movie.

  6. “The mummy is in bandages for like five minutes of the movie.”

    This is actually one thing that I like about it. It kinda redefines what “the Mummy” is. Instead of that slow moving corpse in bandages that we associate with it, they turn him into this powerful, undead wizard. Sure, we can argue if this approach works, but I can respect this, just as I can respect TWILIGHT for saying: “Fuck it, vampires are made up anyway, so mine don’t die in the sun, but sparkle”.

  7. I have always been confused by people my age who love this movie. I saw someone a while back arguing that it was ‘feminist’ and I’m not sure I’ve completely recovered from that. Sometimes you like a movie because you saw it when you were 12 and I really don’t think it’s worth doing the work to make it anything more than that.

    For those unaware, the Clive Barker version was supposed to have a big trans panic climax where he’d freak out the straights by tricking them into finding a trans lady hot, which he insisted for years afterward was a good idea. I can’t imagine it not being bad and offensive but I do kinda wish we got that over the remake we did.

  8. I’m not sure I know anyone who flat-out loves this movie, but I always felt it’s a pretty easy movie to be okay with. I watched it about a year ago with an ex, who pointed out the Bedouins aren’t really any worse in their goals than the Brendan Fraser cabal, who are just assumed to be the heroes because they’re white and get to have character arcs.

  9. I was preparing to mount some kind of defense of this movie, hopefully not of the ‘turn your brain off’ variety, but if you’re gonna rag on Goldsmith’s score ON TOP of everything else then your mind is clearly made up. Seriously, just compare it to Silvestri’s tuneless, generic score for the truly awful (and awfully derivative and repetitive) sequel.

    I know no one else can even begin to understand this, but when this came out I was deep into a MASSIVE obsession with Blue Beetle and Booster Gold and I saw this as kind of a Booster (Rick) & Beetle (Jonathan) Go To Egypt kind of fun, goofy adventure. So my feelings about the movie are still hopelessly entangled with all that and therefore not really worth discussion.

    That Goldsmith score is good stuff, tho. They don’t make ’em like that anymore.

  10. I think I was fair! I acknowledged that the themes are very good and work great at times. But Sommers keeps the movie at the same pitch for too long, the music sticks with him and it becomes exhausting.

  11. I’ve always thought Hannah’s performance was a wry commentary on the movie itself, and while it may not be what the movie needs it’s pretty funny in itself. If I remember right, the last line of the movie is Hannah turning his nose up at the bad smell (of camel’s breath).

    Just don’t anyone be coming for THE MUMMY: TOMB OF THE DRAGON EMPEROR, because the world will always need a Rob Cohen film with Jet Li, Michelle Yeoh, Anthony Wong AND jumping CGI yetis. And if you have to sub out Rachel Weisz, then Maria Bello is a rock solid choice.

  12. This was one of my favourite movies as a kid, I used to watch the VHS of it all the time. Never revisited it as an adult.

  13. Borg9 – In fact the precipitating event for this review was being roundly mocked for saying on Twitter that I thought TOMB OF THE DRAGON EMPEROR was more fun than THE MUMMY. That drew outrage from all corners. So far nobody’s giving me much shit over this review, though.

  14. Borg9 – I dunno, I like Maria Bello and everything but I’m still baffled as to why they didn’t replace Rachel Weisz with, y’know, ANY other British actress. Bello is a fine actress and has done lots of great work in many good films, but her British accent was spotty at best and nonexistent at worst.

    And that’s all I’m gonna say.

  15. Vern, you WERE fair. I just decided that if I was gonna defend any one thing (and ONLY one thing) about the movie, it’d be the score. Especially compared to the sequel, as I said. Man, I still wanna know why they switched composers for the sequel, and why Silvestri abandoned all of Goldsmith’s themes. Oh well, a mystery lost to time, I suppose. I’m sure not gonna watch The Mummy Returns with commentary (if it exists) to try and find out!

  16. What a lovely surprise to get a revisit of a summer movie not from the Weird Summer. I support this series even if it ends up as I Told You So. You tried.

  17. It’s funny…Vern’s arguments AGAINST this movie is lucidly laid out and perfectly articulated.

    And yet, THE MUMMY refuses to be dislodged as a guilty pleasure I have re watched more times than I care to remember and will continue to re-watch.

  18. PROS: Oded Fehr
    CONS: Everything else

    I guess I’m surprised that this is somehow regarded as a classic by some people. It really…isn’t. It’s OK, in that late-90s, vapid kind of way, but it’s all digital bark and no bite.

    I do remember really, really being bugged by that damn WWI pilot at the time. Those pilots were kids. Hell, von Richthofen (the Red Baron) was just shy of 26 when he died, and he’d been a flier through most of the war. In 1923 he would have been all of 31. Yet when they cast the part, they get Bernard Fox…who was f***ing 62 at the time! Literally twice the age of what a WWI pilot would likely have been.

    Huh. Evidently that still pisses me off.

    Good review of a bad movie, Vern. You’re right to remain true to your anti-MUMMY convictions.

    Although VAN HELSING was even (somehow) worse.

  19. Agree to disagree, but I’ve been there with the “everyone thinks this is both funny and dramatic, but it’s really just embarrassing” stance on quite a few movies (Thor: Ragnarok chief among them–talk about mugging!), so I’ll respect the position.

    But! In the not very crowded sweepstakes of Indiana Jones would-bes, this easily (to me) outperforms both Tomb Raiders, one Indy (and ALL Young Indys), and one Romancing The Stone. And when even Spielberg himself couldn’t keep Indy’s balls attached and instead had him buddying around with Transformers Boy, this is at least willing to throw in some good old fashioned sex and gore. First five minutes, you get a woman wearing nothing but body paint and a guy getting his tongue cut off! Let’s give a little credit.

    Romancing The Stone is really more of a rom-com than an adventure (good rom-com, I’ll admit). The Project As aren’t anything other than Jackie Chan movies (once again, good Jackie Chan movies, though). Mummy manages to throw you a decent Indy rip *and* a gnarly-enough horror movie at the same time. Every ten minutes, someone’s getting dropped by a badass, McFarlene Toys-looking mummy! That’s not nothing!

    In conclusion, this movie turns into a zombie movie for like twenty minutes just because and that’s *before* zombies were totally played out. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury: are you really going to say that any movie with a full-fledged zombie horde in it is *completely* worthless?

  20. “First five minutes, you get a woman wearing nothing but body paint and a guy getting his tongue cut off! ”

    But still within family friendly you-don’t-see-anything PG13 limits. Let’s not get too excited here.

  21. I liked these movies at the time, but I have little use for them now. Back then it was kind of like “they’re like Indiana Jones, but not as good, but you know this is contemporary, so…why not?” Now it’s “they’re like Indiana Jones, and they’re already more dated…I think I’ll just watch an Indiana Jones or something from the 30s”.

  22. CJ Holden: If it happened in a Batman movie, everyone would be going on about how dark and adult and inspired by seventies cinema it was, so…

  23. It’s about tone though isn’t it? If it happened in a Batman movie it would be accompanied by a orchestra drones, really dark lighting, and have the character going “please! Please!” and then screaming for a minute after his tongue got cut out. Here, it’s transgressive for the 7-11 year olds in the audience sure, but it’s played in a “check it out! Dude’s getting his tongue cut off! Check it out bro!” fashion. And to be clear, this is not a complaint (it’s certainly not a plea for the THE BATMAN approach).

  24. Yeah, it’s at least somewhat aimed at the thirteen-year-old boys in the audience who just want to see a cool monster movie, which I think is part of the appeal. It’d hold up good next to Tremors as a “Baby’s First Spookablast” movie.

    (I imagine it could also serve nobly as a girl’s sleepover movie, but can’t really speak to that. Though I have noticed a lot of adult women who are fans, so assuming they didn’t all watch it last year…)

  25. I’ve always really liked this one. Probably the crucial question is whether or not Fraser-as-Indiana-Jones works, and, for me, it’s charming as hell, but your explanation of why it doesn’t at least makes sense.

    I’ve never gotten on the “it’s a classic” bandwagon, though. I think it would be immesurably improved if it exchanged one of the bombastic action sequences in the middle for a romantic interlude. Something developing the Fraser/Weisz relationship between the flirty beginning and the finish, because, as it is, it’s mostly just their incredible chemistry carrying that thread. Similarly, it would be nice to have a quiet moment between Vosloo and Weisz. Everything in the movie would be improved by just a couple of quiet, romantic moments in the mid-section! (Including the Goldsmith score, which is consistently rousing but similarly doesn’t get that chance to breath and center itself around that lovely romantic theme that *wants* to be the heart of the score but never quite gets the chance.)

    There’s a wonderful scene in the 1932 original where the hero decides to stay the night outside the heroine’s room to keep her safe, and she gives him an Ankh charm for protection. But once she goes to bed, he hangs the Ankh on her door to keep *her* safe… which then gives the Mummy an opening to curse him. So he’s woken up in the middle of the night and has to crawl across the room to grab a hold of the ankh again. It’s a fantastic sequence that you could pretty much just lift out of that film and put here – revamped for these characters, obviously. But adding in these moments, I think, would make it easier for me to get the claims of it being a classic rather than just fun.

    That said, I own the DVD and break it out every few years, so I’m definitely onboard with the movie in general. The action (which I think is quite good, even if I could do with a touch less of it and more balance toward the melodrama, as said), spectacular production, and performances all make for a good time to me.

    Sorry it didn’t stick for you on a rewatch! But it’s probably worth trying at least a couple more of these “rewatch a popular thing you bounced off of” — sometimes rewatches really *do* bring you around, but it can be a bit of a crapshoot. But it’s always nice to come around on something when that does happen.

  26. Only made it about halfway through the shot by shot “review”. Complaining an Indiana Jones knock off movie that was fun for teenagers 25 years ago isn’t all that great isn’t as hot a take as you think. It’s supposed to be dopey and silly. Casting Fraser wasn’t a mistake, it was a feature (and Ford would’ve ruined the silliness they were going for). You’re missing the point if you’re complaining the cinematic score isn’t the proper level of dramatic for you. What’s the next movie on the docket? Scooby Doo where we’ll delve into how a dog can’t talk and the bad guy probably still wouldn’t have gotten away with it even if it weren’t for those meddling kids?

  27. It’s okay to like a movie. Especially this one because it’s a lot of fun. And dumb as shit but FUN.

  28. I actually felt like caspering it and I admit that I don’t HATE it anymore, but this time was just bored by it. For somethign that action filled, it’s awfully slow paced. It even takes over an hour until the mummy awakens. And despite the “Well, it was pretty innovative back then” bonus, none of the spectacle is really that spectacular. I do wish Brendan Fraser’s character would’ve been more a straight action hero, because ever time he is doing action hero stuff, punching, kicking, shooting, jumping over and swinging from things, he is really cool. I have the suspicion that Sommers went for a Jack Burton vibe, without realizing that Jack Burton was actually the funny sidekick of BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA.

    What I liked were a few moments of “Characters popping comically into frame”. Don’t know why they got so much amusement out of me, but a few times some characters just randomly enter the scene with perfect comedic timing. It’s a simple sight gag, but it was well done every time here.

  29. Vern, clearly Twitter is no place to go looking for a reliable critical consensus. Don’t take it to heart.

    Jerome, now you say that I’m thinking I’d’ve loved to see end-of-the-century Tilda Swinto, in a Rob Cohen movie, but accent aside, I think Bello is possibly more up for it than Weisz ever was.

  30. …end-of-the-century Tilda Swinton in a Rob Cohen movie…

  31. I’ll let criticisms of the mummy go – I liked it back then, and I like it now but I’d class it as more of a kid’s movie. And all its other permutations sound more interesting.

    I will, however, not stand for any criticism of Tremors! That is a rock-solid classic, with a pitch-perfect script and great (if cartoony) performances. It was so good there was left-over goodness to ensure even its DTV sequel was ok, and no DTV sequel was good back in those days, it just wasn’t the done thing.

  32. I remember my uncle refused to believe me when I said TREMORS 2 was good. That said, I remember nothing about it other than that between films an in-universe Graboids arcade game had been made, a cute bit of world-building.

  33. Immediately double-checked your SCORPION KING review and was relieved you did like that one – I think SCORPION KING should pop up way more in conversations about good late franchise entries. At least THE MUMMY gave us that?

    (It’s crazy how many stars have to align to make a big pulp/camp movie click, and how people’s mileage varies. I had no idea SCORPION KING was by the same director as THE MASK, which I found downright painful … I like Sommers’ MUMMY movies well enough, but thought VAN HELSING was torture. If you want a rough-edged, smarter-than-everyone hero like Harrison Ford, Sommers probably isn’t the right director for that – Sommers’ sensibility is more shallow, cartoony derring-do. He makes live-action paperback covers, and 1999 Brendan Fraser is pretty bang on for that, like you say. Another difference with Ford is he sells real fear and danger during even cartoony action scenes, which actually makes the hero more badass when they get through it. Fraser’s character never breaks a sweat – which is probably exactly how Sommers wanted it. Maybe part of why Ford’s badasses become iconic, and we’d never remember the MUMMY hero’s name?)

    Come to think of it, I enjoyed THE MUMMY RETURNS, but I was blowing off university in the middle of the day with one of my roommates – and those cheeky early-summer matinees even made Rob Schneider’s THE ANIMAL work. So take that with a grain of salt.

  34. Can we also discuss for a moment the biggest headscratcher? Why was Imhotep’s punishment for killing the Pharaoh that he was turned into a superpowered demigod? What kind of punishment is that? “Dude, we bury you alive and some bugs will eat you, but once you get out, you gonna rule the world with magic powers! Serves you right for your unspeakable crime, asshole!”

    Sorry, but if I would be a mad, power hungry Egyptian, I would ask someone to curse me like that, bury me for a day or maybe a few hours*, get a few slaves to snack on to fix any holes in my body that weren’t there before and then rule the motherfucking world with my sandstorm powers!

    *They never really say how long he has to be buried. Also they can’t make up their mind if the curse causes him to live forever in that coffin, while he was obviously dead when they found him and only got resurrected once they read the book.

  35. Well, that is the silly part, and they probably could’ve come up with something better… maybe Imhotep was in the middle of some ritual to make himself immortal when the Medji stopped him and so then they HAD to guard his body to make sure the ritual was never finished… but let’s remember how the Nazis’ plan in Raiders of the Lost Ark was to perform a JEWISH ritual on a JEWISH artifact in the expectation that the JEWISH God would be alright with them, the NAZIS. So there’s always something you have to just go with in these things.

  36. I’m so glad I’m not alone. This left me cold at the time and I’ve never understood my generation’s affection for it since. On paper it’s cool, but overall the execution is lame as hell. Sorry, Mumheads, I’m with Vern.

  37. Hey, at least the RAIDERS thing can be taken as either “Those Nazis are such hypocrites” and/or “They will do anything to gain power”. And when they melted, they stayed dead and didn’t return as Super Nazis with extra stretchy jaws as their comeuppance for being evil.

  38. Thank you for your “comment,” Gabe. The second half of the review is where I get into the good shit. I would start over at the beginning though to really get the flow of it.

  39. I remember liking this and loving MUMMY RETURNS (one of the first two DVDs I owned! In fullscreen!). But now I really can’t remember a damn thing about them (except for the poor CGI at the end of RETURNS). Your description of the film makes it sounds like Sam Raimi meets John Carpenter, so now I want to rewatch it.

  40. I mean, I wish I could say that it’s unrealistic for people to do something of meager benefit in the short-term (“This will be the best punishment EVER!”) that will have devastating consequences for their descendants in the long run, when they could just as easily change things around to prevent catastrophe…

    Whoever the next Pharaoh was… probably owned a lot of stock in curse manufacturers.

  41. So few people know Rachel Weiz was in DEATH MACHINE. Now there’s a movie i wouldn’t mind seeing again.

  42. Second everything Kaplan said. His first longer comment, one that starts with “Agree to disagree”..

    THE MUMMY became the best Indiana Jones movie not to have Indiana Jones at a time when the possibility of a 4th installment was exceedingly remote.

    And as much as I liked it, never once bought ROMANCING THE STONE as an Indiana Jones-type adventure. As Kaplan says, it’s a solid rom-com plonked right in the middle of some adventure/quest shenanigans. Kinda like a what-if RAIDERS was mostly about the Jones-Marion courtship tango and every once in awhile you cut to Belloq and Thoth cooking up some Nazi shit. ROMANCING is a lot of fun though, turbo charged by some sizzling Douglas-Turner chemistry. Extremely well made. How well made? Just check out a recent piece of shit called THE LOST CITY as Exhibit A in how you can fuck it up.

  43. And for all the crap Sommers gets for being a shit director, funny no one’s been able to replicate the sheer goofy exuberance of THE MUMMY.

    Not Rob “Hackmeister” Cohen in TOMB OF THE DRAGON EMPEROR (Let’s see, how do we make a better MUMMY? I know, let’s recast Weisz, age up the O’Connell boy and have him be played by an actor with all the charisma of rotting plywood, cast not one but THREE certified Legends of HK Cinema, and have them do Fuck All. Oh!Oh!Oh!…and….really really really bad CGI Yetis)

    Not Disney with that fucking JUNGLE CRUISE movie that managed to be a very poor facsimile of THE MUMMY, INDIANA JONES & PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN combined and in a genius stroke of appropriate casting, is headlined by an actor I’ve always considered to be a very poor facsimile of an Action Star.

    Not Tom Cruise’s MUMMY, whose cardinal sin was boring me shitless, something a Cruise movie had never done and a MUMMY movie should never do.

  44. I can’t comment on the Tom Cruise mummy being similar but actually pretty funny and with great monsters and a couple cool stunts so let’s not get on that subject.

  45. I personally haven’t seen the Tom Cruise ‘Mummy’ so I probably shouldn’t comment, but it’s by Alex Kurtzman, so sight unseen I am 99.9% confident that the Sommers’ Mummy is better.

  46. The Sommers Mummy is by Sommers though.

  47. While I doubt that Imhotep’s curse was supposed to be some kind of metaphor for global warning or whatever (A24’s THE MUMMY?), I actually am willing to buy Kaplan’s “Fuck it, when he comes back to kill everybody, it won’t be my problem anymore, so let’s curse that motherfucker” explanation for that.

  48. I can accept not liking the Mummy in specific, but no man can call Stephen Sommers an entirely bad director while Deep Rising exists.

  49. There is indeed an alternate timeline, where Sommers was never able to land the MUMMY gig, but kept doing more movies like DEEP RISING and has a cult following as director flawed but entertaining slightly-above-medium budget R-rated action/horror movies.

  50. Either that or he went back to making enjoyable but very, very watered down adaptations of late 19th century literature for Eisner-era Disney, which I think we tend to forget is how he actually started.

    I never saw more than the odd minute here and there, but I just remembered THE MUMMY was one of the last films to get a cash-in cartoon, as was the style at the time. My theory is the EVOLUTION cartoon killed that genre, all that money and time to write, animate and set up the merchandising, and then two months before launch the film flops, who wants another one of those situations on their hands. (They’re sort of having a comeback, but with much more established\safe IP like JURASSIC PARK and FAST & FURIOUS)

  51. ROMANCING THE STONE is a straight up romance novel put on the big screen.

  52. Stephen Sommers also directed a movie called ODD THOMAS, with the late great Anton Yelchin, which I enjoyed.

  53. Sommers’ Jungle Book is probably the best Tarzan movie ever made.

  54. And a weirdly forgotten and seemingly kind of buried movie (not on Disney+, DVDs only released briefly and long out of print). You know Disney wish the Glen Close 101 DALMATIANS had been as forgotten as that has been, so that they could have done just another straight remake rather than having to conceive something as sweaty as CRUELLA to get those sweet spotted bucks.

  55. That might be because it wasn’t an actual Disney production. They just distributed it. So it makes sense that they are more interested in pimping their official Disney Jungle Books.

  56. I also really liked ODD THOMAS. Sommers is a pretty solid director when he doesn’t insist on using every single bell and whistle in his toolkit at all times.

    It helped that he had some…I don’t want to say GOOD, but interesting and densely detailed source material to work from. I liked the movie enough to give Dean Koontz another chance after writing him off as a hack more than 20 years ago. Man, that guy is weird. He gets labeled a horror writer but he’s really closer to Kilgore Trout-style gonzo sci-fi. Absolutely none of his plots should work but he somehow pulls them off, like, 70% of the time.

  57. Gotta say, i appreciate your take on this one. You tried with an open mind, and it didn’t work for you. And thats cool, man.

    I like the chemistry of Fraser and Weisz abive all. They have fun together and made it worthwhile )that they still are in love and sell it well is the only thing I like about the second one. And that it gave us Scorpion King). Don’t care for the third one, but maybe will give it another chance since Vern did this. And i missed the Cruise one but wanna see it because I love 2010-era Crowe character actor.

    Mummy 99 definitely worked for me more in the theater experience with a full crowd, popcorn, etc, and then on DVD, where a delightful combination of cannabis and the Brendan Fraser solo commentary track (where he calls out the ‘Weez the juice” scene when Avari shows up) made for quite the great time.

    And the last time i watched it (without commentary) was with my wife, as she was in labor but not far enough along with contractions to go to the hospital and we had to kill time. So I have that connection to it, and will always think fondly of it no matter what.

    (And Deep Rising rules. As does Phantom.)

  58. Jonathan Anthony

    June 24th, 2022 at 9:44 pm

    *struggles to resist typing up a very very long and passionate defense for this movie against an entire community of shockingly joyless old curmudgeons who will go to bat for Steven Seagal junk food but apparently ‘this’ is just too mindlessly goofy to handle, I guess.*

    And yeah, count me as one of those Millennial Kids from Twitter that urged Vern to revisit this movie. So I guess I’m saddened to see that he’s still harrumph on it. This movie was defining for my lifelong interest in archaeology and ancient Egypt, as well as Indy, and I actually discovered both at the same time, so it was all part of the same childhood no ‘a decade of Indy drought making me romanticize the Indy movies above all other pulp adventure movies’ nonsense.

    And because I’m a nice guy, I’ll not lose my temper at Vern for dismissing Brendan as miscast or unmemorable in this. He perfected the Chris Pratt/Hemsworth style himbo action hero years before they came along. And yeah, the character is named Rick O’Connell, and I didn’t have to Google that, for the one guy above that claims nobody remembers the character’s name.

    Also yes this is actually quite a feminist movie, sorry Birch. It’s going by Beauty and the Beast rules, yes, but it fits within the context of the setting: Rick starts out as this womanizing cad that underestimates Evey, like everyone else does, but as the movie goes along its adorable to see him grow to respect and admire her intelligence and strength. It’s a movie about a big stupid hammer of a man that becomes the perfect loyal man to an amazing woman that he acknowledges as his superior, and the sequel builds on this even further with them becoming a very healthy and balanced married couple (a great rarity in blockbusters, which usually keep their heroes as celibate loners).

    Okay, I’ll stop now before I actually end up writing an entire novel defending this movie. Chalk this one up to Boomers Just Don’t Get It.

  59. I’m sincerely glad you get that out of it. Wish I did too. Thanks for reading the review anyway. Since I respect your opinion I will let you in on something: there’s a secret invisible generation older than yours but younger than boomers. We actually exist. But keep it on the down low.

  60. I also know that the character’s name is Rick O’Connell. I was gonna be annoyed that someone claimed nobody would remember that, but I scrolled up and Universal★Rundle’s comment is good and fair otherwise. I haven’t seen this movie since I was a kid (when it was one of my favourites) but from my memory of it, I would agree that Vern’s criticisms of Brendan Fraser are way off base. That’s probably not surprising, since text of the review does acknowledge “obviously most of America disagrees with me.”

  61. Maybe it you’d written that novel, it would have won more people over than calling us all joyless curmudgeons and assuming some of us are about twice as old as we are.

    But hey, because you’re such a nice guy, I guess I should take everything you say to heart and I’ll start with thanking Brendan Fraser for paving the way for Chris Pratt. Thank you sooooooooooo much Brendan!

    OK, I’m being kind of a dick here. And I like Fraser and don’t hate Pratt. Still flies, honey etc.

  62. I continue to pity a generation that has to venerate Brendan Fraser, the plain yogurt of acting, for literally anything.

  63. Also, I’m not sure “Brendan Fraser walked so Chris Pratt could run” is quite the devastating finishing move he thinks it is.

    As a card-carrying member of the joyless curmudgeon community, though, I only take offense at being called a boomer.

  64. At least we can all come together as human beings and agree that regardless of whether or not it’s possible to watch THE MUMMY and notice anything other than how hot Rachael Weisz is, at least Brendan Fraser rocks in NO SUDDEN MOVE and maybe he has what it takes to get a second career as a venerable character actor who suddenly turns up in movies you didn’t know he was in

  65. Jonathan Anthony

    June 25th, 2022 at 9:17 am

    I mean, I know everyone is angry at Pratt nowadays for his overexposure/problematic political and religious views. But I’m talking purely about the character archetype he has become known for, and is undeniably VERY popular right now: the lovably dumb dude with a secret heart of gold buried under all the bluster. And I also included Hemsworth in that too, who’s take on Thor is very much in that vein too (and was taken to its zenith in Ragnarok, to mixed results IMO). People think I brought up Pratt as some kind of lionization of him as a person, which I find amusing but also confusing.

    That said, yes…. I was feeling pretty burnt and sad that Vern remains baffled by this movie’s affectionate following by my generation, so I was more bitey than I should have been. Also, women’s rights in America got fucked for the foreseeable future yesterday, and that negatively affected every single thought in my head that night too.

  66. No worries. You stuck up for what you believe and were entertainingly dismissive of the opposition, which i respect. Lord knows I’ve nuked entire generations from orbit plenty of times. I’ve also spent the past 24 hours strategizing about armed revolution and saying shit like “Clarence Thomas needs to be publically executed for the good of the human race” and “It’s too late to save America but it’s not too late to avenge it” so I feel like your little diatribe was positively genteel in comparison.

  67. Haven’t seen this since it came out and I was 11 so unsurprisingly I liked it back then. i will credit the sequel and BATMAN FOREVER with introducing me to the concept ‘what if a movie…. is bad?’ which was really a weird idea to me at the time. I’m watching a movie but…. I’m not enjoying it? This is not fun? what the heck.

  68. I didn’t think you were linonizing Pratt as a person, I thought you were lionizing him as a screen presence, and I responded accordingly, if dickishly. And to be honest, (I’m might regret bringing this up) as best I can tell the reasons people have taken against him as a person seems to be about 90% smoke to 10% fire, so I don’t even have that big a take on Pratt the person, I’m personally just bored of his screen persona, which I don’t think I was ever that enthusiastic about in the first place. I wasn’t snarky about Hemsworth because I think he’s good. I personally don’t see that much commonality between the three, but I can sort of see what you’re getting at.

    I was 12 when this came out, which is maybe a bit older than the kids who truly took this to heart, but quite a few of my friends would have been about 9 when this came out, but I’m guessing the biggest fans may be younger still, and caught it on Home Media or Cable at a formative age in the 00s. I think most of us have fond memories of this film, but I don’t know anyone who is enthusiastic about it now. Could be a UK vs US thing, or could just be my experience. I was maybe being a bit disingenuous when I said I only liked this and THE MUMMY RETURNS at the time because they were “lesser but newer INDIANA JONES” I think I did like them quite a bit and I used to wince slightly when Vern took shots at them c. 12-15 years ago, but for whatever reason at some point in the last decade they stopped doing it for me.

    I doubt anyone here thought yesterday was a good day. Take care.

  69. Not gonna wade into Mummygate (I’m a fan but to each his own) but I do want to say I think Brendan Fraser is the best there ever was at reacting to CGI and green screen. Between the Mummys, Looney Tunes and Journey, he sold it like no one else. I wish anyone in a Marvel movie could be half as convincing as Fraser was.

  70. Not gonna mention MONKEY BONE, I see. Was FURRY VENGEANCE animation or real animals?

  71. Jonathan Anthony

    June 25th, 2022 at 7:31 pm

    Thanks for the empathy, folks. I shouldn’t have been so reactionary and defensive. It should be okay for people to not like the same things.

    If I may make one request, though, I hope people who don’t think too much of Brendan can do a quick Google search into what he’s had to go through personally. For his modern fanbase, THAT is where our love and affection for him truly comes from. He’s definitely not the world’s greatest actor on-screen, but maybe he’s one of the few genuinely unproblematic actors we have left, and the industry absolutely brutally fucked him from mouth to ass. He ‘deserves’ to be lionized for his career and his personal character. And I do sincerely think he’s perfect in the Mummy films, as well as George of the Jungle.

  72. “Brendan Fraser, the plain yogurt of acting”….not in a universe where Channing Tatum is a card carrying member of the SAG :-)

  73. Actually I would include both of those. He’s still selling them. It’s the movies that failed. Inkheart
    May have had some of that too, I don’t remember.

  74. I think I’ve said some variation on this before, but I think if you compare Fraser in GEORGE OF THE JUNGLE (which I didn’t care for to be honest) or DUDLEY DO-RIGHT (Underrated!) to Matthew Broderick’s barely there effort in INSPECTOR GADGET* you can see just how much he brought to the kind of roles he specialised in.

    I liked MONKEYBONE, or at least I think I did; I certainly found what they were *trying* to do very interesting. It was a good DVD to buy or rent in those early days of DVD, because it had a lot of Special Features, including a lot of very revealing Deleted Scenes. Also maybe the very last time they would even consider doing so much of it in Stop-Motion rather than CGI? Admittedly cause and effect might be a bit mixed up there given how MONKEYBONE did. Amazing to think in 2001 Fraser could be in that, then a month of two later THE MUMMY RETURNS could eclipse its entire Box Office probably within the first hour of release.

    *That said…Release the Kellogg Cut!

  75. Yeah, seems like the guy had a yen for doing children’s movies, was good at acting in them, and now the people who grew up with his movies have a fondness for him. If he starred in some stinkers along the way, well, what actor isn’t guilty of that?

    Would it be overwrought to say 9/11 did a number on his career? Suddenly blockbusters needed to scowl and brood, which was never Fraser’s forte. But if something like the MCU movies were in vogue back in the Aughts, he’d get a job as Iron Man’s second cousin and clean house.

  76. If you look at his filmography, Fraser actually did a bunch of varied stuff. His follow-up to GEORGE OF THE JUNGLE was GODS & MONSTERS! THE MUMMY was followed up with BLAST FROM THE PAST, which might be his best comedy . Say what you want about MONKEYBONE, but that movie is at least interesting (And I guess one of those cases where everybody, including the director, signed up for a completely different script.) After THE MUMMY RETURNS, he appeared in THE QUITE AMERICAN and after LOONEY TUNES he appeared in CRASH (Which I won’t defend, but let’s not single him out when for doing this movie, when he was part of a larger ensemble) and did some smaller, little seen dramas like JOURNEY TO THE END OF THE NIGHT or THE LAST TIME.

    You can’t really accuse him of not trying, but I guess being typecast, blacklisted by a rapey Hollywood producer and being forced to pay a shit ton of alimony because at the time of the divorce his movies made billions of dollar kinda limited his career at some point.

  77. THE QUIET AMERICAN! A great example of a guy getting cast against type and you go in skeptical but he’s really pretty good, and the only thing that could have made it better is if they had, you know, not cast against type.

    I kid, sort of. Actually he’s very well cast as an extremely earnest American golden boy who is so well-intentioned that it doesn’t even occur to him how far out of his depth he is. That’s not quite the way the character reads in Graham Greene’s novel, but it’s a legitimate artistic choice for the movie (especially right at the outset of the Iraq war) and I sort of appreciate that Fraser fearlessly plays him as a simple, hapless meathead, which is really kind of an laudably no-ego approach from a guy who was a huge star at the time. You cast Ed Norton or Brad Pitt or whoever, they’re going to want to find a way to give this character depth and complexity; to his credit, Fraser is 100% willing to commit to “no, he’s just an ignorant blowhard, but you kind of like him anyway.”

  78. I’m surprised nobody has discussed the moment where O’Connell throws a chair at Beni. I believe the reason the movie is so well remembered – or was even made in the first place – was so the hero could deal with a guy by whipping a chair at him. In a film filled with special effects and running around that second where the chair gets air is the undisputed highlight. The moviegoing audience would have to wait over twenty years for Malignant to come out for an equally impressive chair chucking scene.

  79. Okay, we can dislike Brendan Fraser movies all we want, but let’s not disparage Fraser himself or his acting. The man ihas been in a lot of silly, weird stuff, but grounds it or charms us into enjoying it. As stated above, he’s excellent at reacting to stuff that isn’t really there. And he’s made a pretty good transition into character acting. We’ll see him soon in Scorcese’s next one.

    And no one’s mentioned it yet, but his role on Scrubs is one of the all-time best TV guest appearances.

  80. No casting of Michael Caine against type in THE QUIET AMERICAN. Indeed he’d already played one of Greene’s crumpled, drunken cynics 20 years earlier in THE HONORARY CONSUL. He and Fraser are both excellent anyway, although I seem to recall they fudge the ending of THE QUIET AMERICAN (I may be confusing it with the Ed Norton version of THE PAINTED VEIL). In any case it’s a long way from the travesty of the 1958 version, which was supposedly interfered with by the CIA to put the US in a better light. A shame, as Audie Murphy had so much potential for ambiguity.

  81. I’m just gonna have to take everybody’s word for it. In my experience, Fraser is either the wrong fit for the movies he’s in that I want to see or he’s the right fit for movies he’s in that you couldn’t pay me to watch. He seems like a swell guy and he’s had a tough go of it, but that doesn’t make me appreciate his work any better.

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