The Greatest Blockbuster Adventure Of The ’90s Is Returning To Theaters

By Matthew Flynn | Published

In news sure to make some film fanatics feel their age, Brendan Fraser’s The Mummy is set to return to theaters on April 26 in celebration of its 25th anniversary. It’s perfect timing to celebrate not only the landmark action-adventure but also its star, as Fraser recently returned to prominence in Hollywood.

The Mummy Is A Pulp Throwback

brendan fraser the mummy

The Mummy is a thrilling tale of adventure and horror that brings ancient history and supernatural forces together. It centers around the charming scoundrel Rick O’Connell (Brendan Fraser), who inadvertently unearths the mummified body of Imhotep, an ancient Egyptian priest who had been cursed for eternity. As the story progresses, O’Connell and his companions, including Eypgtologist Evelyn, played by Rachel Weisz, must outsmart and outrun the resurrected Imhotep to prevent the looming catastrophe.

The Classic Horror Monster

The Mummy reinvents an iconic horror narrative into a modern spectacle. Producers of this film were interested in revitalizing the classic Universal horror film to suit contemporary audiences. Released in 1932, the original version of The Mummy became a cornerstone of Universal’s classic horror cinema.

Star of the show, Boris Karloff, who had previously portrayed Frankenstein’s monster, delivered an iconic performance as Imhotep/Ardath Bey, a revived ancient Egyptian high priest. The film showcases his transformation from a bandaged mummy into a refined, dangerous, yet strangely vulnerable man, navigating his existence in a world centuries apart from his own.

This film set the tone for the sequels to come and is a part of Universal’s classic horror series that also includes Dracula, Frankenstein, The Wolfman, The Creature from the Black Lagoon, and The Invisible Man. Three more films followed the original, The Mummy’s Hand, The Mummy’s Tomb, and The Mummy’s Ghost.

Horror Legends Tried To Bring It To Life

The rebooted 1999 version of The Mummy had a long development process and was initially written by George Romero, who eventually balked when there was pressure to present the Mummy as simply an unstoppable monster without any subtlety.

Clive Barker was then brought in, but the Hellraiser director’s treatment was deemed too dark and twisted for a blockbuster movie which the studio was seeking. Ultimately, The Mummy was handed over to Stephen Sommers, who foresaw an Indiana Jones-style adventure and had previously worked on Disney adaptations of The Adventures of Huck Finn and The Jungle Book.

Brendan Fraser Wasn’t The First Choice

mummy 4

Other shake-ups occurred prior to filming. Brendan Fraser was not the original choice for the lead role in The Mummy. A string of actors, including Tom Cruise, Ben Affleck, Brad Pitt, and Matt Damon, were considered for the role of Rick O’Connell before it finally landed in Fraser’s lap. These artists each brought unique perspectives to the character’s interpretation, but Fraser’s rendition was what truly resonated with the audience and the film’s narrative.

An Unexpected Blockbuster

The Mummy proved to be a substantial hit when it was released in 1999, both in terms of box office performance and critical reception. It grossed over $43 million during its opening weekend in the United States and remained successful domestically as well as internationally. The reception of the film was generally positive, with critics lauding its clever blend of horror, adventure, and comedy.

Sequels And Spin-Offs

dwayne johnson mummy

Following the success of The Mummy, several sequels and spin-offs were conceived and produced. The Mummy Returns and The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor served as direct sequels, while The Scorpion King, starring Dwayne Johnson in his first leading role, explored the origin of the villain from The Mummy Returns. Each film in the rich franchise added new dimensions to the original narrative, further expanding the world of The Mummy and its mythology.