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10 reasons the 1999 Mummy movies are irreplaceable


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We live in an age of cinematic remakes that tend to split opinions pretty drastically (remember Ghostbusters?!), but here’s an opinion that’s sure not to be too controversial with students at least: the 1999 Mummy franchise is utterly irreplaceable. 

When I heard that The Mummy was being rebooted in 2017 I was sceptical, but willing to give it the benefit of the doubt. The pioneering effects in the 1999 films are laughable to us now, so perhaps a modern remake with all the advances in technology that have been made would really have the ability to turn it into the horror film the 1999 films never tried to be.

Perhaps a whole new generation of kids would be gifted a brilliantly charismatic and ass-kicking leading couple to laugh with and look up to. Since you’d have a hard time convincing a Gen X kid to sit through those 20th century effects, maybe a remake would be the breakthrough.

I decided the only way to decide whether this remake is valid would be to see if the 1999 movies hold up even now in 2017 … and they absolutely do! At first I thought that I only feel that way because I grew up with those movies and they hold a special place in my heart, but after a thorough re-watch I stand by the fact that they’re genuinely phenomenal films. 

I’m sure there are purists out there who think the 1999 films were a ridiculous retelling of the 1932 Karl Freund classic, but let them make their own list why that film’s irreplaceable. In the same way, I'm sure there are people who enjoyed the boring gritty 2017 remake too, but this is my definitive list on why they would be wrong. Here’s my defence of the 1999 Mummy franchise:

1. Brendan Fraser’s floppy bangs

It’s an iconic 90s look that shaped Western culture well into the early 2000s, but there’s more to Rick O’Connell than his roguish good looks. His swashbuckling Indiana Jones badassery is balanced with his hilarious penchant to scream when surprised. Rather than a serious macho hero, Fraser brings a sweetness to the character which seems to have dropped out of style in Hollywood leading men. 

2. Evie Carnahan

Evie’s the undeniable heart of the franchise, and rather than damsel-in-distress or love interest functioning as a secondary character, the whole of the first film revolves around her character fluctuations. Her determination, her intellectual fascination, her mistakes, her resolutions, her love story. Rachel Weisz shaped a generation of young girls who aspire for that level of steely drive and dorky charm.

3. The hilarious b-movie effects…

You can laugh at the Mummy’s commically huge gaping mouth, and the army of jackal warriors, but you have to admit that the bugs crawling under people’s skin is actually genuinely horrifying - even now.

4. …specifically Dwayne Johnson as the Scorpion King

Back in 2001 this was funny enough, but after the last decade of Dwayne Johnson’s unbelievable success, this particular gem has only increased in comic value. Watching the old Mummy films now and seeing The Rock's face on a scorpian's body is just timeless.

5. Alex’s sass in the face of death

The sheer nerve of this brilliant clever child, who’s a perfect chaotic combination of his parents, is especially endearing. As a kid I remember wishing I could go on adventures like him, but revisiting the franchise as an adult I’m a little more horrified at the danger he’s put in! Even so, he’s a great addition to the family dynamic.

6. The O’Connells 

A.K.A. the best power couple to ever make it to the big screen. The relationship between Evie and Rick is so organic and refreshing against the love-at-first-sight romance plots which seem to pervade action films. We see the development of their feelings for each other, and their seamless teamwork in The Mummy Returns speaks to their closeness. What’s particularly great is that the plot never revolves around their relationship, nor is there ever any question that they love and support each other 100%. Though relationship drama can add something to a film, it’s so nice to see a couple as a supportive unit taking on bad guys, rather than fighting with each other.

7. Compelling villains

Having multiple villains operating at various degrees of evil works so well in a film like this. Human greed contrasts with ancient magic evil, but at the end of the day, Imhotep retains some of the audience’s sympathy for his lost love. The Mummy Returns does a phenomenal job at further developing Imhotep and Anck-Su-Namun’s story, as well as weaving in Evie and Rick in new and unexpected ways.

8. This epic fight scene

Though pitting the only two female characters in the film against each other isn’t exactly progressive, it does gift us with this absolutely smashing sai-sword badassery!

9. The host of unforgettable supporting characters.

From the mysterious Ardeth Bay to the slapstick Jonathan, each brings something unique and vital to the ensemble vibe of the film. Omid Djalili is particularly funny in the first film, whilst Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as villainous henchman Lock-Nah in the second film had me in stitches.

10. That time Beni had all the HORSES, but he was on the wrong side of the RIVER!

Probably the most quoted line ever, even though most people never experience a situation where it could possibly be relevant.

There are countless other reasons why these films are so lastingly brilliant, so do yourselves a favour: save that tenner on a The Mummy (2017) cinema ticket and just rewatch these nostalgic classics instead!

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