In The Mummy (1999), Brendan Fraser makes the most dashing French Foreign Legionnaire since Gary Cooper bivouacked with Marlene Dietrich in von Sternberg’s Morocco. Brash, audacious, with a delicious cheeky attitude and looking swell in khaki, he battles the very wicked reanimated ancient Egyptian priest Imhotep (played by Arnold Vosloo), survives a spectacular sandstorm, outruns voracious flesh-eating scarabs and romances an equally delicious Rachel Weisz. Under the fevered direction by Stephen Sommers, this adventure movie never stops, which is a good thing because you don’t want to think too much about the cartoon plot and creaky mechanics.
The special photographic effects from Industrial Light & Magic are terrifyingly impressive — those beetles are pretty scary — as is the fantastic production design by Allen Cameron, who transforms a dormant Moroccan volcano in the desert near Erfoud into the ruined city of Hamunaptra and the docks near London into the bustling port of Giza. This is a Saturday matinee B movie Botoxed into the size of the Great Pyramid. (Yes, we just made up a word there.) It bears little to no resemblance to Boris Karloff’s creepy and campy Mummy (1932), supposedly the inspiration for this “remake.” Nevertheless, Fraser, whose career never quite blossomed as promised (Gods and Monsters, George of the Jungle, Journey to the Center of the Earth), is at the top of his form in this romp.
5555 Hermann Park Drive
Houston, TX 77030
Region: Kirby-West U
7 p.m. Museum of Natural Science, 5555 Hermann Park Drive. For information, call 713-639-4629 or visit hmns.org. $6.
Fri., July 11, 7 p.m., 2014