The Mummy

mummy_ver3STARS2It must have seemed like a brilliant idea at the time. Disney has their Marvel Cinematic Universe. Warner Bros. has its ever-improving DC Comics world. Universal didn’t want to left behind. Why not reboot their own Mummy franchise as the first installment in a new film series dubbed the “Dark Universe”?  A pompous Russell Crowe even pops up here early on to deliver a lengthy prologue as Dr. Henry Jekyll.  He gives us a little backstory as to how his character will fit into this new world they’re creating.  Other classic Universal Studios monsters are expected to follow: the Bride of Frankenstein, the Creature from the Black Lagoon, and the Invisible Man among others.  Some major stars are being promoted for future installments.  Johnny Depp has signed on to be the Invisible Man and Javier Bardem will be Frankenstein’s monster. The problem is to build a superior anthology of related films, it helps to start off with a bang. Sadly The Mummy is not great. It’s not even good.

Casting Tom Cruise as your lead is a positive way to begin. For the record, I do like Tom Cruise.  Please remember that as I carry on with my review.  As Nick Morton, he’s a former U.S. Military officer who accidentally uncovers the tomb of Princess Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella).  He’s a roguish mercenary type that seeks to profit from the treasure he finds.  He does this with his trusty sidekick Chris (played by New Girl’s Jake Johnson) and aloof archaeologist Jenny Halsey (Annabelle Wallis), a former lover that is young enough to be his daughter. Strangely Cruise has no chemistry with either of his co-stars.  The actor has never been one lacking in charm, until now.  He’s surprisingly stiff if you’ll pardon the pun.  Johnson and Wallis are meant to provide laughs and sexual tension respectively but there’s nary a trace to be extracted from either. Anyway back in ancient times, Princess Ahmanet was really ticked off that she didn’t get to become queen so she’s not a happy camper. Naturally when Nick and his gang disturb her tomb, she uses the opportunity to put a curse on our hapless hero. Yeah, things are looking kind of grim for the poor guy.

The Mummy allows Tom Cruise to do what he does well.  He partakes in some death-defying stunts, looks convincingly exasperated and runs…a lot.  Once again, a Tom Cruise thriller features a setpiece involving a plane.  He is subjected to zero gravity followed by a frightening crash.  He’s still in top physical shape too and he wants you to know it.  The man is in his 50s but he ages like the picture of Dorian Gray. He even manages to show off his naked physique. This logically occurs when he extricates himself from a body bag at the morgue.  They thought he died in a plane crash.  He didn’t.  As to why has to do with developments that are better left unspoiled.  The movie always makes sure to present Tom Cruise in the most flattering way possible.  His co-stars, on the other hand, aren’t quite so lucky. As the Mummy, Sofia Boutella is obscured with skin disfiguring tattoos all over her anatomy and best buddy Chris becomes like the walking dead with eyes to match.

The Mummy could have been silly fun but it gets bogged down in expository explanations of a superfluous narrative.  The ancient history of the female mummy takes up a lot of time.  And what is the plot exactly?  Peel back all the corroborative details and it’s not much of a saga at all.  Just the revenge of an ancient wanna-be Egyptian queen that unites a progression of attacks.  The effects are enjoyable.  I’ll give it that and Tom Cruise tries, really really hard.  I give him an A for effort, but there’s not much here to sink your Friday night popcorn flick teeth into.  It isn’t cheesy enough to be fun and it isn’t refined enough to be thrilling.  Just a sequence of CGI encounters that have been stitched together one after the other for our hexed hero (and us the audience) to experience.  In fact, I’ll save you some money right now. The Mummy is attack of the spiders, beetles, crows, rats, and zombies.  The End.  You’re welcome.


12 Responses to “The Mummy”

  1. I was mildly entertained. Just not enough to garner a positive rating. I agree about the lack of chemistry. Tom and his sidekick could have been comedy gold. I think Tom prefers to work alone. 2 1/2 stars.


  2. Yet another tentpole film that predictably lived down to its cheap and superfluous-looking marketing ploys. It’s weird though, Brendan Fraser feels like he’s been gone forever (is he even alive?), and yet it feels like The Mummy/The Scorpion King years were literally yesterday.


    • It’s odd that Fraser didn’t return in Journey 2: The Mysterious Island (2012). I mean it was awful, but at least it would’ve been a paycheck.

      I read that Fraser will next appear in director Danny Boyle’s new series “Trust” alongside Hilary Swank and Donald Sutherland. It’s to be released in 2018.

      Liked by 1 person

      • The last time I saw Fraser in anything was in that spiritual flick, Gimme Shelter, alongside Vanessa Hudgens and Rosario Dawson. He was really good, actually. Wish I could see more of him in that kind of antagonistic kind of role. He’s always that super-lovable George of the Jungle type guy, it was refreshing to see him against typecast


  3. Yeah I didn’t hate this as much as some others. But this movie never committed to a tone. It didn’t have to be super dark, but to prominently say “Dark Universe” and actually have it pretty light is weird.

    And boy, Cruise had no chemistry with Wallis, either. Can’t remember a romance that was so fastracked and forced in a movie.


    • Honestly, I wish it had been even lighter in tone. Where’s the fun? There’s a little bit of humor here and there (mostly from Jake Johnson’s character) but this is a largely dour affair.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I think I’ll give this a miss and spend my money on something worthwhile. Good review though, you provide a great service.


  5. I agree that to do the kind of franchise thing Universal was hoping for they needed to start out with a bang. The Mummy, like you say, is not good. You’re right that Cruise is stiff and lacking chemistry with his costars in this movie. I also found him strangely ineffective as an action star in the film. He mostly gets knocked around without getting to do anything interesting aside from that harrowing plane crash sequence. For me, that was the only good part of the film. You’re right that the movie could have been good if it was silly, but it gets bogged down in exposition for superfluous narrative. In many ways I felt like the movie had more to do with Dr. Jeckyll/Mr. Hyde than the mummy.


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