The Mummy is everything wrong with the current state of cinema. Hollywood is giving movie fans content they didn’t ask for, and are expecting them to accept it with applause.
There is a lot of Marvel cinematic universe influence in The Mummy. Using their model makes sense as Universal Studios is working to establish an interconnected, ‘Dark Universe.’ The goal is to bring together Wolfman, The Invisible man, Dr. Jekyll, the Hunchback of Notre Dame, the Phantom of the Opera, and The Mummy to create an Avengers League of Extraordinary Monster Mash squad that aims to revitalize vintage characters for a modern audience.
Unfortunately, I don’t think there will be anything wholly original to see here. It’s been one failure after another, starting with Wolfman 2010, and then Dracula Untold 2014. Yet, here we are again with The Mummy, and Universal trying to beat life into a dead, decaying horse.
Tom Cruise is Nick Morton, an Indiana Jones wannabe, and Army Sergeant who is allowed to get away with stealing precious artifacts and sell them on the black market. While searching for treasure in Iraq (and dodging bullets from insurgent gunfire), he stumbles upon the tomb of Princess Ahmanet who he releases from her tomb like a typical jackass who doesn’t think about consequences.
Thanks to his lapse in judgment, all hell is about to break loose on Earth. You see, Nick is chosen as Ahmanet’s right-hand man, and she’s given him a unique gift: a second chance at life. With archeologist Jenny Halsey (Annabelle Wallis), Nick Fury-seque, Dr. Henry Jekyll (Russell Crowe), and his Agents of Shield copy-cat organization, they work together to stop Princess Ahmanet from plunging the Earth into eternal darkness.
I like that this movie held some Easter eggs from the previous Mummy films with Brenden Frazier and Rachel Weisz. The Mummy films from the 1990’s were so fresh and modern for its time. Brenden Fraiser was solidifying himself as a hero, and Weisz was winning us over with her coy yet stoic performance.
Sure, the films are campy, but they are fun and have the right mix of horror, drama, and comedy to satisfy an audience. Those films have a deserved cult following, and even upon recent viewings the movies still hold up. This much cannot be said for The Mummy 2017, which will fade into obscurity within a month.
In this fantasy world created by writer David Koepp, it’s an impossible feat to accept what you see on screen. Tom Cruise as a low-level thief in the Army? Nope. Courtney B. Vance as a tough as nails, war-torn Army Colonel? No dice. Russell Crowe as Dr. Jekyll? I mean has his career fallen so far from grace that this is where his career has ended up?! At least Sofia Boutella will walk away from this unscathed. She provides a serviceable performance with what little she is given. She’s half naked most of the time, which I guess is the only incentive the studio could offer to the general public for seeing this tripe. I guess there’s nothing like undead T & A to keep you from going completely catatonic during the movie.
Anyway, back to Sofia Boutella. She is amassing an ample body of work that spans various genres. She seems to know her strengths and weaknesses and uses that to her advantage. She is the only redeemable part of The Mummy. Isn’t it sad when the only redeeming quality in your film is the antagonist?
I wish I had something more profound to describe just how atrocious this movie is. The Mummy is a monster mash-up of ideas from anywhere David Koepp could steal from–and all those ideas meshed together causes the plot to go belly up.
The big reveal at the end is so cringeworthy I almost broke my Coccyx from clenching my butt cheeks together in anger. Why would anyone want to build a universe around a subpar story? Why create a universe on a series of critical and financial flops? And every time things don’t go their way, they reboot the franchise in hopes we change our minds. No! This type of thinking is an insult to the intelligence of the movie-going audience. Universal needs to reconsider this “Dark Universe.” I can see these films being nothing but money guzzlers for the studio with little return.