My mum is great. She always tells me how funny and wonderful my writing is. She even reads my movie reviews even though she rarely watches the types of movies I talk about. And she leaves nice comments on my posts as well! So I’m giving the Mummy 10/10. I’ll be back in a couple weeks for what I suspect will be an expletive-filled rant about Transformers: The Last Knight.
All right, all right, fun’s over.
You might be wondering why I would forego game 5 of the NBA Finals between the Warriors and the Cavaliers to subject myself to a movie sporting a dismal 17% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Was it solely so I could start off with that joke? Probably. I also wanted to take advantage of half-off Mondays so I just recorded the game and simply avoided social media while I watched it. It was rather nice to not have to sit through commercials every three seconds. By the way, Kevin Durant, I know you’re reading this, congrats man, you deserved it.
But the other reason for watching The Mummy despite a wave of negative reviews? I was giving Tom Cruise the benefit of the doubt.
I can’t recall a movie of his in recent years that I’ve disliked. Okay, maybe Jack Reacher: Never Go Back should’ve heeded its own advice but Edge of Tomorrow is brilliant, Oblivion is a visual delight and of course Tom helped successfully resurrect the Mission Impossible franchise with the highly entertaining Ghost Protocol and Rogue Nation.
I’m not a fan of Hollywood’s recent obsession with rebooting and remaking everything in sight but I don’t hold sacred The Mummy (1999) or The Mummy Returns (2001). Enough time has passed since my schoolboy crush on Rachel Weisz and the absolutely diabolical Scorpion King CGI which I suspect was the foundation of my pet peeve when it comes to bad special effects.
A Mummy for the modern day
Nick Morton (Tom Cruise) is a tomb raider and treasure hunter or, more simply put, a thief. He, his partner in crime Chris Vail (Jake Johnson) and archaeologist Jenny Halsey (Annabelle Wallis) inadvertently stumble upon the tomb of the ancient Egyptian princess, Ahmanet, mysteriously hidden miles away from Egypt in northern Iraq. Ignoring this and all other warning signs, naturally, they carry the sarcophagus back to London and unleash a primeval terror on those silly Brexiters.
If you’re going into The Mummy expecting a thought-provoking plot then you’ll be fresh out of luck. However, what you will find, for at least two-thirds of the film, is a fairly acceptable action movie. It’s missing the more fun aspects of Brendan Fraser’s Mummy – no terrible Egyptian plagues for instance – but some horror elements are spliced in, with a few jump scares. One in particular uses 3D very effectively and had me second guessing the desire to have the format buried in a crypt, if only for a split second. There’s the occasional snippet of humour, although any attempts elicit a titter rather than full blown laughter.
Cruise is believable in the role of selfish jerk turned reluctant hero and his supporting cast is capable enough. Annabelle Wallis’s acting seems a bit wooden at times, almost like she’s narrating a book. She does so nevertheless with a nice accent and must also be commended for holding her own, sprinting through a collapsing museum alongside the perpetual running machine. Speaking of which, Tom Cruise, 54?! I might need to look into that Scientology lark.
Russell Crowe cameos as the schizophrenic duo of Henry Jekyll and Edward Hyde with a view to a larger part in future films. The filmmakers clearly banked on the audience already being familiar with the character(s) considering the lack of backstory.
Completing the cast is up and coming Algerian actress Sofia Boutella (Kingsman and Star Trek Beyond) as the titular character. Have to say, I kinda dig the 4-eyed, tattered rags look. I’m looking forward to seeing Sofia again soon in Atomic Blonde with Charlize Theron.
Shared universes are all the rage
Where The Mummy…unravels (not even sorry)…is in its jarring third act which feels rushed and cheaply tacked on as the setup for the shared universe that Universal Studios is desperately trying to get off the ground.
The Mummy is their first official attempt to kick-start the so-called Dark Universe after the movie that was originally supposed to usher it in, Dracula Untold, well, remained just that because hardly anyone saw it. Universal is eager to cash in on the inter-connected film approach taken by other studios, including front runners, Marvel, Warner Brothers’ DC comics Extended Universe and Monster Universe (King Kong and Godzilla) and Fox’s X-Men Universe. If all goes to plan, we will see Javier Bardem as Frankenstein’s monster and Johnny Depp as the Invisible Man with Wolfman and Van Helsing also scheduled to appear down the road.
However, the poor critical reception and box office performance of The Mummy has already put the Dark Universe on the back foot. There were even several empty seats in my theatre, which is highly unusual for half-price shows. Personally, I’m indifferent. if Tom and the gang come back for more movies that’s fine but I won’t be broken up if this goes the way of Dracula.
This Mummy only gets a 6/10.