One has to sometimes learn to put logic aside when they’re watching a movie, or even just accepting one part of a story or another. One such moment is easy to see in the 1999 version of The Mummy. While it’s understandable that certain things have to happen to push a story forward, the idea is that, sometimes, things are going to make sense. Then there are the things that don’t make sense, like cursing an individual in a way that will grant them immense power should they ever be released. Now, the idea might be that no one would be dumb enough to uncover a cursed individual that could be a walking plague upon humanity, but in the movies, such a thing is usually guaranteed to happen by chance or by design. The first movie showed that it was by accidental design since Hamunaptra was considered to be the city of the dead and was seen as a treasure trove. From that point, it was only a matter of time until Imhotep was discovered, once again by accident.
But let’s take a look at this and wonder why in the world anyone would seek to empower someone that had done something so incredibly wrong and worthy of death but was instead given power beyond measure. The curse that Imhotep was subjected to would have been a bit harsh even by the standards of real-life Egyptians since there are cases in which dismemberment and other forms of corporal punishment took place, but the Hom-Dai doesn’t appear to come up since according to history there’s no sign that it was ever used. Conspiracy theorists might want to claim that there’s no record since no one would want to admit that such a horrible thing could ever happen, kind of like the blood eagle in Vikings. But in the movie, the curse still doesn’t make sense.
One explanation for creating this curse and using it is that Egyptians believed that the afterlife and the entrance to it was just as important, as the chance to reach the afterlife would be denied to Imhotep thanks to the curse. The downside is that somehow, someway, he would gain an insane amount of power. One might think that the ancient Egyptians might have thought up a curse that might have denied Imhotep entrance into the afterlife while leaving him in the space between worlds, which would have been a rather horrible fate. But somehow, the Egyptians felt the need to put a second edge on the sword they’d created, as though they were punishing themselves as well as punishing Imhotep. That makes very little sense to a lot of people, and for good reason since it’s one of the most nonsensical things that could ever be done. For the sake of the story, it makes perfect sense given that Imhotep had a great deal of influence in his position, and had he been given anything but a horrible death it does feel as though he would have been a troublemaker once his punishment was over and done with. The character that is presented in The Mummy comes off as being able to influence many people in a very convincing manner.
There is the question of who bestows the power since commonly there is someone, a dark presence or a divine individual, that bestows power upon someone for one purpose or another. Who or what might have done so, in this case, is never really mentioned or even considered it would appear since Imhotep is simply referred to as a plague, an unholy terror, and so on. It’s still enough to wonder why this would happen since the risk of having someone come back a thousand times stronger than they’d been in the first place isn’t that sensible of an idea. Maybe it has something to do with balance and simple shortsightedness, but in terms of creating a movie, it’s something that managed to get the attention of the audience, which was all that was needed. It might sound a little dark, but the fact is that a death sentence is meant to be an end, even with the belief in an afterlife. There were several ways in which this story could have been told, but Egyptian curses, that were not created by Hollywood, are simply too tempting to leave alone.
When all is said and done, the 1999 version was successful enough despite the lack of logic that takes place in the story and the undeniable question as to why anyone would deliver a curse that would make their enemy even harder to deal with. The truth is that Imhotep was a very different character in history, but when it comes to keeping people entertained, the overall story was great enough until people went digging and sought to inflict logic on a gaping plot hole.