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Moriarty Reviews Universal's Big Summer Film THE MUMMY!!!! Added Plot Information -- Which means SPOILERS!

Published at: Nov. 5, 1998, 10:20 a.m. CST

BELOW THE EXISTING STORY BY MORIARTY, I HAVE ADDED HIS PLOT BREAKDOWN FOR THOSE THAT ARE INTERESTED. READ ONLY IF YOU ARE CURIOUS.

I have already contacted Moriarty about reserving a seat in his Time Machine for his jaunts to the premiers of STAR WARS: EPISODE ONE: THE PHANTOM MENACE and THE LORD OF THE RINGS flicks, but today... well we get his story of trying to see Episode One and seeing UNIVERSAL's THE MUMMY instead. I can tell you this, when I traveled to London I saw a TON of dailies and the film looked like it would work very well. ILM's work will blow us all away, as this stuff just amazed me. But enough of that... ON TO MORIARTY, OUR RESIDENT EVIL GENIUS!!!!

Hey, Head Geek...

"Moriarty" here.

Well, we've been busy here at the Moriarty labs recently. As you know, we're always working towards complete and total world domination, but that's not to say we don't have hobbies. One of them is time travel, a fairly useless concept that would provide more kicks than anything. We recently had a breakthrough, and I thought I'd write and share the experience with you.

When I realized, following extensive testing procedures, that I could in fact move backwards and forwards in time, my first thought was, "Well, then, I'm seeing the goddamn Prequel TODAY!!!" I set the machine for the end of May 1999 and started it up.

Traveling through time is not quite the experience I thought it was. It's kind of like hiccuping, farting, and being punched in the nuts all at once. Overall, I'd only recommend using it for things you really, really want to do. Still winded, I found myself in Westwood, ready to run to the Village and buy a ticket for Episode One. Imagine my disappointment when I found that the machine had only sort of worked. It was indeed May 1999, but it was mid-afternoon on May 11. I was too early.

Severely bummed, I picked up a copy of the LA WEEKLY to try and see if there was anything else playing that I was really interested in. As I was walking, I passed the National and saw that they were playing THE MUMMY. Realizing that new ILM work of any kind would be groovy, I decided to go ahead and see the film.

I had time to catch lunch, and walking around Westwood, I did get to see quite a bit of Prequel marketing material -- one-sheets, an ad in the window of Tower Records for the soundtrack, a display of several of the Prequel toys. One thing I noticed everywhere was the title. What was it, you ask? Let's see... THE SPECTRAL THREAT? No... THE GHOSTLY DANGER? Jeez... it was something like that. Honestly, it seems to have slipped my mind.

I made it back to the National with about ten minutes to spare. To my surprise, the theater was nearly full. There seemed to be quite a bit of buzz about the picture, and it sounded like word of mouth was very good. I was surprised, since I've pretty much ignored anything I've heard about THE MUMMY up 'till now. The lights went down and the previews began.

WILD WILD WEST was first up. Nice. I still don't care, but it was pretty funny, and it's got a great Sonnenfeld look. I got really excited when I saw the MAN ON THE MOON trailer. Wow! Holy cow! Jim is more Andy than I realized. There was a teaser for MYSTERY MEN that was very funny, focusing primarily on Mr. Furious, the Ben Stiller character.

The last trailer started, and the 20th Century Fox logo came up. All I remember of those next few minutes was color, sound, and the distinct sensation of the top of my head lifting off, turning inside out, then landing with the force of a nuclear blast. Yes, it was the trailer for the Prequel. Yes, it was pretty much what Garth described on his page. Until you've seen an image like Ewan, Liam, and JarJar piloting the Gungan sub or Darth Maul in a two-way lightsaber duel, you have no idea what you're in for. I felt like getting up and running out of the theater, yelling to everyone, "I'VE SEEN IT! I'VE SEEN IT!" Then I remembered that it was May 1999, and everyone had seen it by that point. This enabled me to stay in my seat and watch the movie that followed.

Astoundingly enough, I'm glad I did. Real glad. THE MUMMY is the first film by Stephen Sommers that I would recommend wholeheartedly, and there's one real simple reason. It's a good story. A darn good story, actually. It's loads of fun, but it never tips its hand too far by becoming a comedy. The horror in this film is big-time, and the work ILM has done rendering these bizarre and evil images is spectacular. How the hell did they find time in the midst of all the Episode One work? Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz, two actors who do nothing for me typically, were loads of fun here, and most of that was chemistry. John Hannah, who's shown up in films like SLIDING DOORS, is the film's primary comic relief, and he does a nice job. Overall, though, this film succeeds on the strength of the work that Sommers has done. He knows this is a rollercoaster ride, and he delivers on that promise at every turn. This film is going to strike a strong INDIANA JONES chord for most viewers, and that's a good thing. This is the kind of film where there are real heroes, real villains, and real thrills. Next summer, when everyone is jamming the local cinema for the 11th viewing of THE PHANTOM MENACE (ahhhhh... that's what it was!!) do yourself a favor -- skip the crowd and check out this, the rebirth of the Universal Monsters.

Since I can only stay in any other timeline for four consecutive hours, I was pulled back to today almost immediately after the film's end. The trip was exhausting, Harry, but well worth the effort. If you're interested in more time machine reports, I may be able to work something out. I'm not doing it, though, for stuff like Pauly Shore movies. It's too painful. Maybe I'll try and see LORD OF THE RINGS next time. Until then, it's back to world domination.

"Moriarty" out.

And here is the latest bit that Moriarty wrote. Posted here for all you people that don't read TALK BACK.

Hey, all... "Moriarty" here. Thanks, JiveT, for the kind words. It always warms the heart to get such kind feedback. I chose not to include a plot breakdown of something so far in the future, but here it is, especially for you --

IMHOTEP, high priest to the Pharaoh, is doing the nasty with Ankh-su-namuhn, the Pharaoh's main squeeze. This is forbidden, and when the affair is discovered, she is killed and Imhotep is cursed with the worst curse that any Egyptian can be. He's buried alive, his body cursed to never die despite the flesh-eating scarabs he's buried with. When placing such vile curses, though, there is a danger. If Imhotep is ever released from his tomb, he will bring forth the Ten Plagues of Egypt upon the world, and if he is able to resurrect his lady love, the two of them will usher in the end of the world.

In the 1920s, O'CONNELL (Fraser's character) stumbles across the lost city where Imhotep is buried. He hooks up with a Egyptologist/librarian (Weisz) and her drunkard brother (Hannah), and the three of them -- working to beat a rival team of Americans -- heads out to the lost city in search of treasure. They end up unleashing Imhotep and all his evil, and have to find a way to defeat him and his army of undead priests. The Ten Plagues are all represented, and they're really evil, as are the various forms that Imhotep and his followers take. Suffice it to say that the film plays out like an old-fashioned adventure, with no pop culture references or soundtrack opportunities, and that's one of the things that's most charming about it. Now I'll just go take my ego, find JiveT's real name and address, and get to work unleashing ten plagues of my own.

"Moriarty" out.

Readers Talkback

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  • Nov. 5, 1998, 11:22 a.m. CST

    Futures...

    by 4321

    Divine tease...well, the future looks bright, at least where there's a projector in the house. Say, did that trip hold any glimpses of the ever mysterious Kubrick event? Or is he keeping all spies' eyes wide shut?

  • Nov. 5, 1998, 12:20 p.m. CST

    Stephen Sommers

    by Pips Orcille

    I thought Stephen Sommers' "The Adventures of Huck Finn" was pretty good fun. I don't know about "The Jungle Book" (1994), but I do know Sommers did direct that one. Both are Disney films, but they seemed to have some good quality in them. Besides these movies, Sommers' "Deep Rising" was pretty bad. I hope "The Mummy" will prove that Sommers knows how to do horror.

  • Nov. 5, 1998, 12:40 p.m. CST

    My ego and THE MUMMY's plot

    by Moriarty

    Hey, all... "Moriarty" here. Thanks, JiveT, for the kind words. It always warms the heart to get such kind feedback. I chose not to include a plot breakdown of something so far in the future, but here it is, especially for you -- IMHOTEP, high priest to the Pharaoh, is doing the nasty with Ankh-su-namuhn, the Pharaoh's main squeeze. This is forbidden, and when the affair is discovered, she is killed and Imhotep is cursed with the worst curse that any Egyptian can be. He's buried alive, his body cursed to never die despite the flesh-eating scarabs he's buried with. When placing such vile curses, though, there is a danger. If Imhotep is ever released from his tomb, he will bring forth the Ten Plagues of Egypt upon the world, and if he is able to resurrect his lady love, the two of them will usher in the end of the world. In the 1920s, O'CONNELL (Fraser's character) stumbles across the lost city where Imhotep is buried. He hooks up with a Egyptologist/librarian (Weisz) and her drunkard brother (Hannah), and the three of them -- working to beat a rival team of Americans -- heads out to the lost city in search of treasure. They end up unleashing Imhotep and all his evil, and have to find a way to defeat him and his army of undead priests. The Ten Plagues are all represented, and they're really evil, as are the various forms that Imhotep and his followers take. Suffice it to say that the film plays out like an old-fashioned adventure, with no pop culture references or soundtrack opportunities, and that's one of the things that's most charming about it. Now I'll just go take my ego, find JiveT's real name and address, and get to work unleashing ten plagues of my own. "Moriarty" out.

  • Nov. 5, 1998, 1:17 p.m. CST

    by Parable

    In the words of......oh hell, what's his name, hold on let me go check IMDb.........Okay, I'm back!(miss me?)Ron Taylor (II) - Big Black Guy from Trading Places - "It ain't cool to be no JIVE TURKEY so close to Thanksgiving." And also in the words of James D. Turner - Even Bigger Black Guy from Trading Places - "YEAH!"

  • Nov. 5, 1998, 3:46 p.m. CST

    Where's TALOS THE MUMMY?

    by Mulder Clone

    Hey you guys, whatever happened to TALOS THE MUMMY, by Russel Mulchahey? There was all of this talk concerning the project, with Christopher Lee and all, a test screening in Canada, and POOF! it's gone! If Harry is reading this, is there any information on the status of the film? Is it coming soon, or dead and buried? Inquiringminds want to know!

  • Nov. 5, 1998, 5:53 p.m. CST

    Mummy will be at the Avco

    by AshFett

    NOTE: THIS WILL MEAN NOTHING IF YOU DON'T LIVE IN LA Unless things change a lot in the next few months, then The Mummy will be at The Avco in Westwood, and not The National. All Universal films play at The Avco, which is sad because they got rid of their late, great 1100 seat theater by splitting it back in 93... I have fond memories of seeing Die Hard, Aliens, Jurassic Park and many more in that theater. Now it's just a sad echo of it's former self. It really sucks cause there isn't any grade A theater in LA (The Chinese, the Village) that normally plays Universal films, though they do get to the Dome sometimes...

  • Nov. 5, 1998, 6:13 p.m. CST

    S.S.

    by FrankieN

    Mr. SS seems to be adept at action and fast-paced entertainment, but not at atmosphere and mood. I expect "The Mummy" to be an adventure-thriller but not a horror film. Deep Rising had zero suspense.

  • Nov. 5, 1998, 7:35 p.m. CST

    I hate deciding on a subject...

    by Corran Fox Horn

    Cleaver stuff with the Time Machine Moriarty..and thanks for the review. I knew that movie was gonna be good. As for Stephen Sommers (not to be confused with Lost In Space's Stephen Hopkins..who's probably still banging Heather Graham right now) seems to be pretty good as the "peroid adventure pieces." Disney's ive-action Jungle Book was really good, and The adventures of Huck Finn was good. He was writer/director for those, and did a faithful adaption with Tom & Huck (didn't direct that though).

  • Nov. 5, 1998, 8:03 p.m. CST

    Lord, Deliver Us From Mulcahy

    by Clarence Beaks

    Since Highlander, it's been all downhill for that fella. As for Sommers, The Jungle Book was pretty damn good, and I, for one, thought Deep Rising was good, dumb fun for free (if I paid for it, I might've been a little angry.) Still, though, I get the feeling this will lay on the campiness pretty thick. Who's going to step up to the plate and make a serious horror film?

  • Nov. 5, 1998, 8:34 p.m. CST

    Star Wars Title

    by The Cat

    It's not going to be The Balance of the Force. That has been rumored for too long. They'd have established it for truth a long time ago if it were so.

  • Nov. 6, 1998, 8:12 a.m. CST

    Answers to questions by Christopher, Eric, and Ernest

    by Moriarty

    "Moriarty" here... First, Christopher -- TALOS THE MUMMY, or whatever it's called currently, is now playing on HBO. It bypassed theaters completely. It's got to hurt being Mulcahy right now. He walked away from last weekend's number one film (VAMPIRES) in favor of something that goes straight to cable. Ouch. Where's that crystal ball when you need it, huh? Second, Eric -- obviously I'm in LA as well, and I loathe the Avco. When that big house used to take up the whole downstairs, it was one of the best theaters in town. Historic, too. That was the first screen in the US equipped with Dolby Surround, and it was the first theater to ever have a THX system installed. How does GCC celebrate this showcase site? They split one theater in half and create two screens that tilt. Brilliant. The National does play Universal films, though. I saw FEAR & LOATHING there this summer, and I've seen other Uni films there in the past. The Chinese, the Dome, and the Village won't play Uni films, which doesn't leave any really great screens for their films. The 18 plex on the hill is typically their "best" screen. Ugh. Finally, Ernest -- I know. I'm just goofing around with the whole title/trailer mania thing. I believe the final title of the film will be THE PHANTOM MENACE, which makes me perfectly happy. I happen to dig the title a lot, and would be happy to see it stick. To all those who are still worried, even after my review, that Sommers is going to make a silly movie or one that's more camp than horror... don't sweat it. This film is no "funnier" than RAIDERS was, and the humor is all character based and fits well when used. When this thing gets down to business, it's a real, no-shit, horror film. "Moriarty" out.

  • Nov. 6, 1998, 8:52 a.m. CST

    Forward to the Past

    by Stalker

    For those of you who cant afford a time machine, you can use your bed. Just lay down close your eyes, then next thing you know, a few hours have passed. Beer helps. And having a women with ya for your trip makes it fun too

  • Nov. 6, 1998, 9:15 a.m. CST

    forums

    by chris

    What's the deal with the forums? Are they just down or are thy being removed ?

  • Nov. 6, 1998, 2:14 p.m. CST

    Stupid Mummies

    by MadDaddy

    Jeez. Mummies are SLOW! All you hafta do is run away from the slow moving geek! Then you could grab a long stick and poke at 'im, or you could throw rocks and stuff at the dork. What a pathetic excuse for a "monster". Gimme ALIEN any day. Stay Sick.

  • Nov. 6, 1998, 3:02 p.m. CST

    Episode 1 Trailer\Time machine my ass

    by FaTbOy sLim

    Hey Moriarty, if your out there, im sorry that i have to break this to you but... your crazy man! TIME MACHINE?!?!?! now really is your last name like spielberg or somethin'? how the hell do you know this s**t anyway i wonder if you happen 2 have that trailer in ANY format i repeat A N Y format????!!!! ill repay you or anyone else greatly GodSpeed Fbslim

  • Nov. 6, 1998, 3:14 p.m. CST

    Title of ep.1

    by Akambe

    I doubt Moriarty was implying it would be "Balance of the Force." My money's on he thinks it'll be "The Beginning," the title George came up with when he first began penning the script. But, as Moriarty can tell you, time will tell...

  • Nov. 6, 1998, 3:51 p.m. CST

    Can't wait to see The Mummy now!

    by buxley

    Great information Moriarty, thanks for making the trip to next May and bringing back the goods. It sounds as if poor Noam Blum doubts your veracity however. *chuckle* Imagine, not believing in time machines. *shakes his head sadly* What would George Pal say?

  • Nov. 6, 1998, 8:43 p.m. CST

    Ramses The Damned

    by superninja

    This is my favorite Anne Rice book, and I have to admit, in some aspects the plot for The Mummy sound similar. I will look forward to seeing it, even though B. Fraiser is not my favorite actor. Maybe Gods & Monsters will change my mind about him. I would really like to see a good version of Rice's mummy done, and would like more info on the Cameron version if possible.

  • Nov. 6, 1998, 8:45 p.m. CST

    By the way, for history's sake...

    by superninja

    Imhotep was an architect, not a high priest. He was the most famous Egyptian architect that ever lived. Not that any of you cared...

  • Nov. 6, 1998, 10:49 p.m. CST

    National/Avco

    by AshFett

    You're right! Fear and Loathing DID play there! Wow. I can't think of any other Universaql films that haven't opened at the Avco though... I was good friends with a guy who worked at the Avco in the glory days (And yes, theater one WAS the best in LA) which was great cause he'd always get me in free. Anyhoo, he told me about the Avco manager at the time of the dreaded theater one split, and how he sat and watched the final showing of the last film that ever played there (Needful Things sadly, since Jurassic had already been out all summer) and was the last to leave that great theater after the final closing credits. Man, how lame was GCC to split that theater?

  • Nov. 7, 1998, 10:16 a.m. CST

    Summer needs to get here...

    by DaniTo BuRRito

    Cuz I can't wait to see these movies... I'm prolly an oddball (as usual), but I think I'll go see the Mummy b4 the Prequel. But just from what was said in this report about the Prequel, I got chillbumps three times over - and that's damn good! It just doesn't happen, but it did. OyeSs!