Ok, time for a slightly different take on my movie reviews – comparing a classic, to a remake – or is that a classic remake to a modern-day remake? Or a modern-day classic remake of a classic vs a modern-day remake of a modern-day remake?!
I don’t know. It’s confusing, but Tom Cruise’s latest stunt-filled mayhem is a remake of a remake, with Brendan Fraser’s The Mummy being a remake of the 1932 The Mummy.
Still with me? Good, because thre’ll be a quiz later, and I will need help with the questions, let alone the answers – and just to be even more confusing, there was another filmed called The Mummy released in 1959, though it’s the 1932 film upon which Brendan Fraser’s film is based, and in turn, Tom Cruise’s film is based on Fraser’s film. My comparison is between the Fraser and Cruise editions – so, let’s weigh up!
Firstly, Fraser’s character of Rick O’Connell is a much warmer, friendlier guy than Cruise’s Nick Morton. Part of that lies in the writing, part of it is from Fraser’s natural charm. He and Rachel Weisz have a good chemistry from the word go, and Arnold Vosloo brings a strong presence as the titular Mummy. The 1999 edition harks back to the classic adventure/monster film genre, capturing the spirit of the era, and doesn’t take itself too seriously either. In contrast, Nick Morton (Cruise’s character) is not some roguish figure of charm, but a colder figure, a less likable man, from the start. Sofia Boutella is creepy as the Mummy, there’s no denying that, but not particularly memorable, Annabelle Wallis is Jenny Hasley, an archeologist whose character exists solely to move the story on, and Russell Crowe shows up as an apparently important character, and keystone for the wider universe Universal Studios are trying to build, but he is not exactly amazing in this either.
Even the CGI, whilst better (as it should be, some 18 years on), isn’t as good as it should be. It’s not a huge leap forward from 1999.
In short, for a fun movie that lets you forget your life for a couple of hours, I’d always choose 1999’s The Mummy over the new one!