Universal have spent the entirety of the 21st Century so far failing to successfully reposition their stable of classic monsters as the stars of big budget blockbusters. The vast majority of them have underperformed at the box office if they haven’t bombed spectacularly, while none of them managed to gain much traction with critics until last year’s The Invisible Man proved that the characters work much better when the stakes are lower and the scale is smaller.
Ironically, it was in 1999 when Stephen Sommers’ The Mummy was released into theaters, which should remain the template for how to adapt the Universal Monsters as the subjects of pulpy action adventure movies. In the two decades and change since, it’s become firmly established as a beloved cult favorite, and even that would be doing it a disservice after it raked in almost $420 million at the box office and launched a multi-billion dollar franchise.
Brendan Fraser is the ideal action hero for the story, and his square jawed Rick O’Connell never takes himself too seriously, while he generates crackling chemistry with Rachel Weisz, with both stars leaning into the absurdity of the premise with two fantastically charismatic turns. Unfortunately, sequels The Mummy Returns and Tomb of the Dragon Emperor both failed to recapture the magic, while the Tom Cruise version, The Wolfman, Dracula Untold and Van Helsing also weren’t able to turn big budgets into critical and commercial success.
The Mummy delivers pure crowd-pleasing entertainment and remains as re-watchable now as it ever was, though, and stands out as one of the turn of the millennium’s defining blockbusters, so much so that it’s still managing to find a very big audience on Hulu, with Giant Freakin Robot reporting that it’s one of the most popular movies on streaming this week, currently sitting in second place on the platform’s most-watched chart.
Source: Giant Freakin Robot