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  • Writer's pictureShannon Heibler

The Mummy (1999)

I have a bumper sticker on my car that reads, "Honk if you'd rather be watching the 1999 Cinematic Masterpiece "The Mummy" starring Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz". (You can get your own at superyaki.com . I get a pleasant number of honks, always paired with excited waving or thumbs up. It's really lovely.) I love this movie.


It's not surprising that the girl who wanted to be an Egyptologist and grew up watching Indiana Jones also fell in love with this movie. If I'm being honest, though, The Mummy is a lot truer to who I am as a person than Indiana Jones. It's so silly but also earnest. I cannot believe how often I laughed out loud during this viewing. Being almost a year into this project, and therefore having gone a year or more without watching movies like this which I watch whenever I can, I'm cherishing getting to return to them. Really watching them. Almost like the first time all over again. An added bonus to this project.


I was smitten all over again with how smitten Rick O'Connell is with Evy. Him giving her the archeologist tools he stole is beyond charming, and more than a little reminiscent of my own courtship with Ben. (No stealing though!!) I love how over the top each character is (golly that drunk scene for Evy) and yet still grounded and loveable. It's a movie that thoroughly understands the beats in adventure sequences and embraces the cinematic quality of it all. I adore the fiery boat set piece because you can tell that it's all practical effects and stunt work and it's so theatrical. Not at all real, but still tense.


We've already visited Stephen Sommers on our travels with spiritual sister film, Van Helsing. The Mummy is obviously superior but it's fun to see how concise his style is. The fabulous use of shadow and light. Tight camera movements that make it all seem grand but understandable. I never question where we are in a Sommers film. (Though I might wonder why we're there.)


This movie is stupid sexy. Just absurd. Why is match lighting so hot?


After watching The Mummy Returns this week (big sigh), I think it's important to praise Jonathan (and John Hannah) for what a wonderful bit of silliness and balance he brings to the movie. His antics allow the most over the top set pieces to feel Significant because he's so much sillier than they are without verging into the regrettable wackiness that Returns leans so hard into. It's a tough ask for both a writer and an actor and Sommers and Hannah pull it off beautifully.


"All We Found Was Sand and Blood"

Snow globe, epoxy plastic, gold leaf, various paint, sand, toy plane, water, glycerin, cardboard, myriad adhesives, sculpey and silicone (to create a mold for the scarabs).




Takeaways:

-I love this piece so much. It wasn't without difficulties but the process was waaaay smoother than it could have been and it turned out very very close to what I imagined.

-I cannot thank Ben enough for saving the piece though. Originally, the Imhotep face was a piece of black chiffon floating in the water but pbbbbbbbbtttttttt even with tests, it just didn't work. Zero impact. I was really bummed to realize that last night and I knew I had to cut it but I also knew the piece needed that face. Ben said, "could you paint it on?" and I didn't think it would work but thought, "well, if it sucks, that's okay. This project is about learning." And it worked sooo well with the curve of the dome and Ben's a genius. I love him.

-Tried out two new paints from a brand I've never used before, Total Dork. The "live" scarabs are an iridescent that is, unfortunately, not well captured on my phone camera. But in person, WOW. I also used their metallic blue for the "blue gold" scarabs on the base.

-Casting and mold making are some of my favorite skills to use in costume crafts but I don't get to use them that often. This was a treat. It was so zen just mixing and pouring plastic and popping little bugs out of the mold. Love it.

-Another piece that I don't know specifically where the idea came from but I knew what it was before we even reached the halfway point of the movie. I'm so glad!

-The base is a little too big for my hand so additional thanks to Ben for hand modeling for a couple videos.



I hope you find a little adventure in your life this week and some romance too. Next week, classic campy horror flick, Interview with the Vampire.


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