The 1999 Mummy film is one of the more classic Hollywood movies in the 21st century. The franchise starred its leading actor as Brendan Fraser who portrays an American adventurer who served in the French Foreign legion. His role in the movie is to basically fight off the undead pharaoh named Imhotep. The plot surrounding Imhotep is that he is trying to revive his lover Anck-Su-Namun after she betrays her husband Seti I and commits suicide. (Named after Queen Ankhesenamun).
The movie opens up in Kemet(Ancient Egypt) but the continuity is already thrown off a bit since the movie portrays Thebes as Giza. Thebes is located in Upper Kemet while Giza is in Lower Kemet. This was most likely the case to help the audience understand the setting to the movie. It’s highly likely that the audience didn’t pay attention to the actual historical location when the movie was first released. However, the narrator during the intro did mention that Thebes was the home of Seti I, which is not true really true. Seti I was born in Avaris a city located in the delta region. But the pharaohs land was indeed at Thebes.
Another historical inaccuracy was the character named Imhotep. Imhotep was the high priest of Seti I in the movie but in real life, he was under Djoser’s reign during the old kingdom (about 1,300 years before Seti).
In the movie around 3:23 the audience sees several African Medjay protecting the city of Giza. All of the ancient soldiers were Black Africans in reference to the Nubian soldiers who once protected the Pharaoh.
After the assassination of Seti I and suicide of Ankhesenamun. Imhotep and his priest try to resurrect her at Hamunaptra. Hamunaptra is a fictional city created by Stephen Sommers and it’s where all the supernatural things of Kemet took place in the movie.
Since Imhotep commits treason, he is forced to experience the Hom-Dai which is mummification while alive (also fictional). Something interesting about this scene is that the black Medjay are overseeing the other soldiers doing the Hom-Dai. Not one word is said but there is a sense of authority among these Medjay.
The presence of Africans in the Mummy Franchise are always subliminal and even questionable unless the viewer could read in-between the lines. In Return of Mummy II, there is an African villain named “Lock Nah” who has a questionable vendetta against Ardeth Bay who is an “Arab looking” Medjay.
The relationship between the two was never explored but it was obvious Lock Nah hated the Medjay more than anyone else in the movie. This was clear when Lock Nah and Ardeth both knew each other’s names and had several encounters showing a rivalry. This is highly subliminal because, in the Novel, Lock Nah isn’t African at all but an Arab. Which means the writers wanted to enforce that Lock Nah probably has a personal tie with the Medjay.
I say this because all the original Medjay were Nubians in the film and in real life. When the film first introduced the Medjay in modern times however they were all Arab. In terms of representation of Ancient Kemet the film industry couldn’t have the protagonist Ardeth as an African as it would defeat the stereotype that there wasn’t a great African presence in the region.
It came obviously when the narrator says “Medjay, descendants of Pharaoh’s sacred bodyguards watch over Hamunaptra”. It created a fallacy in not only history but in their own film universe since the very first Medjay shown in the film were black Africans.
The time period takes place in 1923. In historical reference. After WWI the Egyptian Revolution broke out in 1919 calling for independence and democracy. On February 28th, 1922 Egypt was recognized as an independent state and ended British rule after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. This means this movie takes place during the formation of modern day Egypt (The Arab Republic of Egypt).
While this movie is meant to talk about ancient Kemetic concepts and superstition it was interesting for the studio to have the setting in 1923 and not 1999. That was a critical year in Egyptian history because it was the first year modern Egypt (the Arab Republic of Egypt) was a nation. Anything prior to that year would have a different political climate and demographics.
The regions of Kemet and Sudan (Ta Seti-Wawat) has been under an abundance of influences and rulership. While mainstream media is often comfortable portraying Egypt under Greek and Roman control. The presence of other ethnic groups such as Persians, people from the Ottoman empire and even the indigenous African populations of the region aren’t taught as much at all but an Arab. Which means the writers wanted to enforce that Lock Nah probably has a personal tie with the Medjay.
Ironically the movie does mention Roman and Greek occupation when they discuss Hamunaptra. But there is a big historical flaw at this moment. At 18:00 Dr. Terrance Bey says “Hamunaptra is a myth told by ancient Arab storytellers to amuse greek and roman tourist.” But who were the Ancient Arab storytellers? Were they the Persians, Ottomans, or even the “Nubians”. Since Hamunaptra is actually said to be in Sudan.
Yet again the audience most likely wasn’t looking at every single detail when the Mummy first came out. But there were plenty of inaccuracies with the location on their voyage to Hamunaptra.
At 25:00 you can see the Medjay on the Nile River. The great pyramids are seen and then you quickly see Abu Simbel in Aswan. In real life, the distance between the two is 539 miles. Which means you can’t see the Pyramids from Abu Simbel. Like the Scorpion King Franchise, this is a false reality with real-life influences to create a tale. Lastly, the 1999 film was used to feed into the propaganda of ancient Kemetic mythology. It had no real historical facts or setting for that matter.
The 2001 sequel movie Return of the Mummy centered around the villain Imhotep once again. The Return of the Mummy also cameoed Dwayne the Rock Johnson as the Scorpion King. This film would have him portray Mathayus in his own movie franchise a year later in 2002. But right off the back, the film lies about Thebes once again. In the film, there is a 7 years war between the Scorpion King and an unknown Army of Thebes in the year 3067 B.C. In real life the year 3067 B.C would have coincided with the real-life Pre-Dynastic eras (Naqada III).
Which means this fight scene would have happened long before the Kemetic civilization was established. Which means no Thebes and no Pyramids.
The inaccuracy almost mirrored the mistakes of the Mummy film during its opening flashback in Thebes. (When Seti I was on his chariot with The Great Pyramids in the background.)
Something ironic about this is that the Scorpion King had a few African Medjay in his army but it was mostly European representation.
They do this by creating a new location called Ahm Shere. According to movie logic, the Scorpion King summoned the army of Anubis to kill all his enemies after they were initially defeated by the unknown army. With the summoning of Anubis, it created a hidden forest called Ahm Shere in Upper Kemet. After his victory, the Scorpion King was sent to the underworld as a payment of Anubis deed.
In the present day (1933), the cultist under Lock Nah’s and Ankhesenamun command are excavating Hamunaptra to find Imhotep’s body. They find his remains and begin to resurrect him again. Elsewhere in Kemet, Richard and Evelyn are doing archeological work in a tomb to find the Bracelet of Anubis worn by Scorpion King Mathayus. In this scene, the audience is introduced to there 10yr old son Alex who becomes a big nuisance to the antagonist of the film.
In this scene, the two parents are very lackadaisical on their son which eventually leads to his kidnapping later in the film. Evelyn in this scene is very interesting because she has flashbacks on her “past life”.
Throughout the film, she is constantly having these flashbacks in ancient Kemet to help them on their quest against Imhotep.
A key line in the film was when Evelyn says, “I think I was Nefertiti in a past life.” Having Evelyn as a descendant or reincarnation of Nefertiti was probably the most white supremacist moment in the franchise. It allowed Evelyn to have a sense of royalty in the entire film as she knew her worth and connection with Kemet.
In the flashbacks, we see the same African Medjay from the first film. However, while the military and some citizens are African, the people in power are all mixed European or Arab.
On the flip side however the villain Lock Nah portrayed by Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje has a serious problem with both the Medjay and O’Connell’s. The ironic thing about Lock Nah is that he is constantly being disrespected by the boy Alex and others. On there voyage to Ahm Shere, he has some sort of connection with Ancient Kemet (Kemet). At 1:14:00 Lock Nah speaks ancient Egyptian and not the modern-day Arabic (subtitles). While other people did speak the language the only ones speaking it were: Seti I, Nefertari, Imhotep, Ankhesenamun, and Evelyn. So why was Lock Nah able to speak this language if it was dead? In movie logic probably all the mercenaries working under Imhotep knew the language but in the film Lock, Nah is the only one speaking it.
(2:00:00) In Lock Nah’s demise, he has an honorable one on one fight with Ardeth Bay at Ahm Shere. Unlike his henchmen who quickly died by the attack from pygmies. The writers made sure we saw Lock Nah’s demise against the Medjay. What’s ironic by this scene is the other African who tries to kill Ardeth as well when he supports Lock Nah. Both end up losing to Ardeth in unique fashion but the relationship between Lock Nah and Ardeth is never explored.
Ahm Shere was said to be near the Blue Nile which explains why they were traveling upstream and hit many iconic places in Upper Kemet and Lower Nubia such as Abu Simbel, Temple island of Philae, and Yebu. In real life the Blue Nile flow in modern-day Sudan and Ethiopia. So it was kind of ironic when they introduced the 12 tribes of the Medjay at 58:00 as all Arabic soldiers when they went to fight the army of Anubis.