Movie Review: “The Mummy” – Mummy. Tommy….Daddy.

Written by Jeremiah Greville June 15, 2017

the mummy

On the left is the first cast photo of Universal Studio’s new Dark Universe, a lavish re-imagining of the universal monsters. Dracula, Frankenstein, the Wolf-Man, the…Phantom of the Opera? Okay. Well, they’re all back, and ready to share the big screen again! This time, the action is set to happen in an interconnected modern-day universe. There will be team-ups, dust-ups, and plenty of newfangled CGI. And the best part is that the monsters are all being played by A-List actors and stars. Above, on the right, is a photo of the original universal monsters. Care to guess which one Tom Cruise plays? ‘Cause here’s the thing: I’ve seen The Mummy, and even I don’t know.

The Mummy is the first official entry into universal’s officially-branded Dark Universe, following an unofficial attempt with 2014’s Dracula: Untold. It stars Tom Cruise as Nick, a treasure-hunting scoundrel who runs a lot, and Sofia Boutella as the evil mummified princess Ahmanet who…basically wants to have sex with him. Seriously. It’s worth mentioning that Cruise — a man dogged by gay rumours most of his career — now stars in a film where he’s literally running from sex with a woman. Regardless of your opinion on Cruise’s sexuality (and frankly who cares? It’s HIS sexuality!) that irony is genuinely entertaining. Unfortunately, it’s more entertaining than the movie itself.

“You can’t escape.”

While The Mummy is dead on arrival in the U.S and Canada, it was Tom Cruise’s biggest opening ever overseas. You read that correctly — his biggest international opening ever. Good for you, Tom! While that might leave you scratching your head, there are really only two requirements for a great Tom Cruise action film: 1) movie-star charisma; and 2) vigorous, determined, perfect-form running. Turns out, both of those things translate quite easily around the world. And as such, it seems unfair to grade this movie on arbitrary features like ‘plot’ and ‘character’. The Mummy has both of the things it needs to succeed, and that’s all the effort the filmmakers decided to put in.

The Mummy 2017

One of the more interesting aspects of The Mummy was seeing how Cruise shared his screen-time with Russell Crowe. Crowe plays Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde, and to his credit totally commits. While Crowe’s Jekyll is a dull mess of nerves, his Hyde was a joy to watch on screen. Crowe even changes his accent when switching roles, and seems to relish the opportunity to play the classic villain. While he doesn’t have a lot of screen-time here, I genuinely want to see where they could go with his character. Hopefully, we see more Hyde, not less. Insert hide/Hyde pun here. While Cruise never stopped being the star, Crowe’s Hyde was thankfully the narrative focus during their scenes.

“How did you get out of that plane?”

If you’re wondering why Dr. Jekyll was in The Mummy at all, the answer is a big part of how this new interconnected universe will work. Jekyll runs Prodigium, a monster-hunting society. Prodigium — stupid name and all — will apparently be the glue that links the modern-day Dark Universe together. In this film, however, the Prodigium scenes feel haphazardly included, like bits of different films stapled together. The Mummy tries to be several things at once, and doesn’t fully succeed. There’s a high-fantasy movie about monster-hunters fighting an ancient evil. There’s an action movie about a scoundrel versus a god. And a horror film about Cruise dealing with a curse that he’s unwittingly unleashed. It’s all there, but the sum is less than its parts.

The Mummy 2017

The sense that this movie is cobbled together from several influences extends far beyond the narrative. For fans of the Brendan Fraser version of The Mummy, the Book of the Dead makes a brief appearance. For Tom Cruise fans, there’s a direct repeat line-reading from Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation. And if you happen to be a fan of other interconnected universes, several of the musical cues — especially at the end — are taken from current superhero films. The Mummy is a magpie wrapped in CGI bandages. It steals so many moments and scenes from other films that it lacks any discernible personality of its own.

“The past cannot remain buried forever.”

Annabelle Wallis and Jake Johnson fill out the cast as Nick’s love interest and best friend, respectively. Johnson is both out of place here, and completely forgettable. Wallis seems to be in The Mummy to give Cruise an age-appropriate love interest that’s not undead, but that’s a hard sell with her lifeless performance. While Cruise is 54, and increasingly looks it, Wallis (32) could believably play anywhere from 25-45. Luckily Sofia Boutella’s performance holds up as the titular villain of the film, but even she suffers from an overabundance of CGI during her scenes. There’s no single performance — apart from Crowe as Hyde — that makes The Mummy worth watching.

The Mummy 2017

The Mummy, however, is not as terrible as most might expect. It’s a below-average action horror movie, but not a train-wreck. The plane scene in the first act is genuinely breathtaking, and even after this film I’m still looking forward to more of the Dark Universe. The Mummy has problems, but they’re not insurmountable, and many movie-goers might still have a good time. On the other hand, when a movie can’t definitively say through its own plot whether getting stabbed with an ancient dagger is a good thing or a bad thing, that’s an issue. The Mummy is another summer action reboot, but might not have enough magic to resurrect the universal monster franchise.

My Rating: 5/10

The Mummy 2017 - Poster

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About Jeremiah Greville

Jeremiah Greville is a pretty rad beard that's attached itself to a human face. The beard likes movies, television, comic books, and gentle finger rubs. The human likes pizza and sleep. When they work together, they write reviews. Hope you enjoy them!

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