Story: A young librarian asks an explorer to help her find the lost city of Hamunaptra, Egypt. This place happens to be the site of the tomb of a high priest named Imhotep, an evil man. After he's awakened, all hell breaks loose.
Because of the film's differences in tone and scale from the original, comparing the two wouldn't be fair. Actually before seeing it I hadn't seen the 1932 version, so it was easier to go in with an open mind. I have to say I wasn't totally blown away, but overall it's close to two hours of unpretentious fun and is one of a few remakes that really stands on it's own. It's a mostly successful marriage of adventure, horror, comedy, and romance that did well enough to spawn a sequel that came two years later and then another one that is playing in theatres as of this writing. So that alone must mean it's pretty good, right?
The film is nearly two hours long and there's rarely a dull moment. As an adventure movie it delivers in that department. The filmmakers assembled a very interesting cast, each member giving an excellent performance. One thing that is complained about a lot in big budget films such as this, is the quality of the CGI. Sometimes it can be really pitiful, like in 1997s 'Anaconda.' But here most of it is really very good and rarely looks too obvious.
The score for this film was one of the late and great Jerry Goldsmith's last ones and it's pretty cool. One thing that I feel was very necessary here is a sense of humor, and it's got a good one. Much of it comes from actor John Hannah as Evelyn, the librarian's well-meaning, but troublemaking brother. Thankfully most of the film was actually shot on location in Egypt, for had it been shot in a studio the authenticity would be sorely lacking. The scenery and architecture are breathtaking. As I said earlier, this film also classifies as a horror film and so be prepared for a few good skin crawling moments.
Most action and adventure movies have a pretty straightforward storyline, but the one here is a bit overcomplicated. This may have to do with the fact that pacing is a bit uneven. Not that the film is ever boring, but sometimes the pacing kind of drags in weird places. Brendan Fraser gives a good performance, but isn't the most convincing action hero. I don't know exactly why, it just feels like it's not totally right for him. Otherwise I have no other problems with this film.
This film won't rank up there with the other great adventure movies, but it's far from one of the genre's weakest efforts. It accomplishes exactly what it set out to do, which is entertain and put a smile on one's face. That's enough for me when it comes to movies that are pure, undemanding entertainment.