Stephen Sommers' 1999 motion picture The Mummy puts across an account involving a group of researchers and opportunists wanting to profit as a result of getting involved in an Egyptian expedition. The Mummy is an adventure horror meant to keep viewers entertained by providing them with laughs while also introducing scary scenes. To a certain degree one can say that the film's narrative structure also involves elements related to comedy, considering that it goes from a bad situation to a happy ending. Some might be inclined to think that the film is confusing because of the series of elements it contains, as it is sometimes difficult to determine whether viewers are meant to be amused or terrified by events occurring throughout the movie.
The plot is in a chronological form, as it goes from the times of Pharaoh Seti I to the modern era, in 1926 as archeologists and history enthusiasts get together in a group meant to study Egyptian history. The shot showing the pyramids makes it possible for viewers to link the film they are about to see with Egypt, this setting the stage for most of the events happening throughout the movie. The conflict in the film takes place as high priest Imhotep attempts to start a love relationship with the pharaoh's mistress, Anck-su-Namun, and is doomed to spend an eternity in suffering as a result. The film provides viewers with the feeling that they are yet to see the full power of the high priest, as even though he is sent back to the underworld he swears that he will return.
The characters in the film experience both internal and external conflicts, as while most are motivated by finances and struggle to find middle ground concerning their general role in society, they also come across experiences that enable them to look at life from a different perspective and that influence them to become more interested in changing who they are. The film is somewhat satirical because it attempts to categorize history enthusiasts studying old treasures as individuals who are primarily motivated by financial gain.
Although the film's storyline contains a great deal of fiction, it is nonetheless likely for most viewers to try and put themselves in the protagonist's shoes. The film is inspiring and it triggers the spirit of adventure in most individuals seeing it, somewhat seeming to be similar to the Indiana Jones series.
The lead character is played by Brendan Fraser while the female protagonist is played by Rachel Weisz. The two are accompanied by other stars such as John Hannah and Arnold Vosloo. Each of the actors perfectly fit their roles as Fraser portrays the constantly agitated and troublemaker individual, Weisz the passionate female protagonist who is determined to achieve her goal, Hannah the mischievous character who has a hidden plan, and Vosloo the ruthless mummy who would stop at nothing from completing his mission. Each of the actors assists viewers in gaining a more complex understanding of the film's storyline through their acting. One can actually feel how laws in Ancient Egypt differed from laws in the 1920s as Imhotep is unappreciative with regard to the value of life and does not hesitate to use violence as a means to achieve his purpose.
The mise-en-scene is also essential in providing viewers with the ability to better understand the storyline. Lighting throughout the motion picture is meant to emphasize the particularities present in certain characters in order for viewers to learn more about these individuals. Undiffused light is used in most scenes displaying the Mummy, so as for viewers to be presented with its ruthless nature. The character of Imhotep is often showed from a low-angle perspective, this further contributing to making it seem that he holds great power and that other characters largely depend on him.
The camera is in most situations subjective, as it is intended to amplify feelings put across by lighting, characters, and scenery. Filming practically tells a story by itself as it shapes the personality of certain characters and as Sommers obviously wanted it to instill fear as the storyline progressed. There are a series of special effects throughout the motion picture and they contribute to the surreal feeling that the film generally puts across through the series of fictional elements it contains.
While most of the film uses straight cuts, viewers are also provided with contrast cuts in order to emphasize the gravity of particular scenes within the film. Wipes and Fade in/out are not used in the film, as they would not contribute to the feeling that the motion picture is meant to express.
Sound is particularly important in the film, as it is present in most scenes when feelings related to amazement or horror are meant to be amplified. From the very first moment when viewers are presented with the pharaoh's subjects wanting to capture and kill the Egyptian couple, music brings further suspense to the scene. Classical music is generally accepted as generating intense feelings in individuals and Sommers obviously focused on this aspect when attempting to shape viewers' impression with the film's storyline. The initial dialogue scenes between the high priest and his lover are particularly strong and one can practically feel the tension of the situation they were in as a result of their grave attitudes and because of how they acknowledge the treatment they are about to be provided with.
The director displays technical competence, distinguishable personality, and interior meaning and it is gradually revealed that he was a true auteur in designing the motion picture. The fact that the director contributed greatly with the cinematographer and the art director is revealed by how the film puts across a feeling of unity and it does not seem that it goes from one scene to another without the respective scenes being connected through a particular object, filming strategy, or character.
The film is certainly intriguing and many viewers are probable to say that they experienced sentiments related to escapism as they were watching it. The film transports them into the early twentieth century in a community where exploration in one of the most beautiful ideas that one can think of. Although characters embark on this journey for different reasons, it is nonetheless interesting to see how they each struggle with the purpose of achieving their mission. The film does not give the impression that post-editing has censored much of the original version.
Even with the fact that it is not necessarily meant to discuss with regard to complex topics, the film is nonetheless intriguing because it emphasizes how people are fueled by material values in most actions they undertake. While Imhotep is portrayed as a negative character, looking at matters from his perspective is likely to enable viewers to understand that he was more concerned about love than about profits. He is willing to do everything in his power in order to bring back the person he loves, even if this means that he would have to hurt others and risk his life. In contrast, most of the characters who have been born in the modern era fail to display such strong emotions and they are more concerned about the profits they are about to earn as a result of their involvement in the exploratory journey. The very fact that the film's ending shows the central characters riding off into the sunset with the loot they've taken contributes to making viewers consider that finances are all that counts to these people while Imhotep was solely interested in love. Seeing things from this angle is likely to change people's understand of the stereotypical protagonist and antagonist.
Another issue that the film deals with is infidelity, as Anck-su-Namun and Imhotep are considered guilty for having acted in disagreement with the pharaoh's laws. It appears that the film justifies their death and their consequent suffering by relating to their adulterous relationship. To a certain degree, it is probable that the director portrayed these characters as being antagonists in order to further amplify the horror-like feelings that the film was meant to generate. Sommers was well-acquainted with how viewers would express more fear toward a mummy antagonist who suffered greatly and who was initially motivated by pure feelings related to love.
While the film is generally meant to stand as a horror motion picture, the fact that it also contains a series of eccentric and somewhat amusing elements certainly reduces the level of fear viewers are likely to experience. The plot is very improbable and it is actually frustrating to see things turning up exactly when they are needed at times. This harms the overall quality of the storyline, as escapism becomes less possible and viewers are left with no alternative than to be amused by the set of events unfolding before them. Some viewers are even likely to believe that not even the amusing scenes are as amusing as Sommers would have wanted them to be.