Movie Wave Home
Reviews by Title | Reviews by Composer

Composed by

* * * * 1/2

Album running time

Performed by
conducted by


Engineered by
Music Editor
Produced by

Released by
Serial number

Artwork copyright (c) 1999 Universal City Studios; review copyright (c) 2004 James Southall



Terrific all-action adventure score


Incredibly successful, Stephen Sommers's tongue-in-cheek The Mummy, a loose retelling of the 1932 Boris Karloff classic, was amusing and surprisingly entertaining, capturing everything that a summer blockbuster should be - witty, exciting, colourful and action-packed.  Composer Jerry Goldsmith didn't really think so, remarking later that he couldn't believe he was staying up at night writing music for this, but he still approached it with his usual passion and professionalism and crafted one of his best and busiest scores in a number of years.

There are several major themes, each of them excellent.  The theme for the mummy himself is introduced in the opening cue, "Imhotep", a growling horn theme which is remarkably fluid and in the grandest tradition of music for adventure films like this one.  The choral accompaniment is something of a rarity for Goldsmith, but as ever with his writing for choir, it's a worthy addition.  Next comes the theme for the hero, played by Brendan Fraser, an amusing little fanfare that captures both the heroism and inherent amusement of the character.  OK, so it's no Raiders March, but it's always fun to hear in its various appearances through the score.  Finally is the love theme for Fraser and Rachel Weisz, an absolutely gorgeous piece.

Most obvious through the score is the first-rate action music.  The London musicians playing the score can rarely have been given such a workout.  The first highlight is the magnificent "Tuareg Attack" with frantic, impossibly-exciting music for strings, brass, percussion and synths which simply blows the mind.  "Night Boarders" is arguably even better, opening with a brief, misleading quote of the love theme before positively exploding into life with some insane percussion and then a wonderful section of writing for the whole brass section, xylophone, tambourine and those swirling strings.  An outstanding piece.  Other setpieces include the majestic sweep of "The Caravan", a piece as grand and inspirational as Maurice Jarre's theme from Lawrence of Arabia, and just as good at conjuring up romantic images of the desert (or dessert - make mine a strawberry sundae).  Goldsmith uses his choir to add yet further to the shimmering, magical feel.  "Camel Race" brings another dimension to the excitement, with bright, busy and colourful action music, this time without the air of menace that pervades elsewhere; this is sheer, unbridled, breathless fun.  Superb.

"The Crypt" marks the turning point of the score as it moves into much darker territory, with Goldsmith introducing the highly-effective trombone glissando effect he used in many scores from Logan's Run through The Edge to signify impending doom.  The doom clearly arrives by the end of the cue, as the dark, unsettling buildup reaches a brutal climax.  The pounding "Mumia Attack"" is yet another action highlight before the gruesome "Discoveries", first-rate suspense music that builds up to the extremely loud and powerful music that then runs almost to the end of the disc.  "My Favourite Plague" features more dark, mucky horn passages, clashing with the brighter trumpet-led music for the good guys.  This good-and-evil conflict continues in "Crowd Control".  The lengthy "Rebirth" is the movie's centrepiece and, in some ways, the score's.  Goldsmith rarely writes such a long piece of music, usually favouring shorter cues, but here devotes much energy to the sequence, creating an apt and powerful musical accompaniment, varying from the subtle to the larger-than-life.  "The Mummy" is essentially the second part of the cue, continuing the thrills and the musical bombardment of terror and excitement.  The score concludes with "The Sand Volcano", opening with a burst of action music before featuring a nice rendition of the march before a truly gorgeous arrangement of the love theme that is simply heartbreakingly beautiful, and it's almost impossible to believe that it came from a film like this.  When the trumpet harmony appears towards the end - it almost melts the heart!  Superb.

What sets this score apart from other action/adventure ones (including the bombastic music for the sequel) is how terrific Goldsmith's music is when separated from the film.  The score actually moves along from one point to another - each of the cues is a proper piece of music in and of itself, with a proper beginning, middle and end - there are so many wonderful set-piece highlights - great themes - it's an essential part of any Goldsmith collection.

(The DVD features the entire score as an easter egg and can be purchased here.)

Buy this CD from by clicking here!


  1. Imhotep (4:19)
  2. The Sarcophagus (2:13)
  3. Tuareg Attack (2:19)
  4. Giza Port (2:03)
  5. Night Boarders (4:03)
  6. The Caravan (2:48)
  7. Camel Race (3:22)
  8. The Crypt (2:22)
  9. Mumia Attack (2:17)
  10. Discoveries (3:36)
  11. My Favourite Plague (3:54)
  12. Crowd Control (3:12)
  13. Rebirth (8:29)
  14. The Mummy (6:14)
  15. The Sand Volcano (5:39)