I love music and soundtracks are one of my favorite aspects of film and the music genre. I grew up favoring scores over actual albums and while others could discuss the latest happenings in pop, I’d be eager to discuss the works of Hans Zimmer, James Newton Howard, Trevor Rabin, the late James Horner, and Graeme Revell any day (not to mention Danny Elfman, as well). One of my favorite composers is Jerry Goldsmith and his work on The Mummy is nothing short of brilliant. Goldsmith, the conductor and composer, gave theater goers a beautiful, musical landscape that was just as romantic, exciting, and epic as the Stephen Sommers film. Keeping the “March of Mummies” theme going on Universal Monsters Universe, and following Joe’s review of The Mummy – here is the soundtrack review for the 1999 film.
A problem with many soundtracks today is that they are largely forgettable and often do not have the musical power to stand on their own legs. They often rely very heavy on electronics and skip the old-fashioned way of playing and recording with real instrumentation and an orchestra. In other words, they lack a soul. Jerry Goldsmith’s approach to The Mummy, just like his countless other compositions, is grand in every way.
Alexander Courage, best known for Star Trek, provided orchestrations on the soundtrack, and there are similar moments of his work that can be found on the soundtrack, along with themes that are reminiscent of Goldsmith’s own work on Star Trek: The Next Generation and films. The Mummy, featuring “extensive brass and percussion elements”, opens with Track 1 – Imhotep, and it introduces us to the Ancient Egyptian setting and the romantic and mythical Thebes and Hamunaptra. Making great use of its choir, Track 1 – Imhotep effortlessly blends into Track 2 – The Sarcophagus. Not since John Williams’ work on Raiders of the Lost Ark and Superman The Movie has there been an album that is so close to the original film. The listening experience is fantastic as the track order closely reflects the order of themes we hear from Stephen Sommers movie. Track 2 – The Sarcophagus ends with a haunting amount of brass that bleeds into the beginning of Track 3 – Taureg Attack, which is primarily the Rick O’ Connell and hero fanfare of The Mummy.
Throughout a majority of the soundtrack, we are hit with wave after wave of lush sounds composed and conducted by Jerry Goldsmith. I’ve seen some complain that many of the tracks feel repetitive due to the nature of the action/adventure movie. However, Goldsmith’s work is so well done that re-hearing similar themes is pleasant and welcome. The music is very identifiable as The Mummy and Jerry Goldsmith’s overall themes mix together in the masterful conclusion that is Track 15 – The Sand Volcano.
My favorite moment? Easily Track 15 – The Sand Volcano. At 3:08 onwards, the music and sounds of The Mummy come together in an unforgettable and beautiful way.
One night, several years ago, after watching The Mummy at home with my mother and aunt, I remember having fallen asleep as it was late at night. I woke up during the end credits and was serenaded by what I now know is Track 15 – 4:10 and on.
I’ll never forget the music of The Mummy and years after the passing of Jerry Goldmsith, his legacy still lives on. The original motion picture soundtrack of The Mummy is still played to this day, with certain themes being represented in concert and as a number that many ice skaters have performed to.
If you’re interest in The Mummy soundtrack, it is available on AMAZON and iTunes. You could also check out the live version of the music in the video below.