THIS “MUMMY” SHOULD HAVE STAYED IN ITS TOMB!
By Nico Beland
Movie Review: ** out of 4
Sofia Boutella is The Mummy
You know that scream Tom Cruise (Mission: Impossible franchise, Jack Reacher, Edge of Tomorrow) makes in the trailer for the latest reboot of The Mummy? Yeah, let that set the mood for the entire film, the second remake of classic 1932 Boris Karloff film of the same name the first being the 1999 film starring Brendan Fraser, and the first installment of Universal’s Dark Universe (Apparently, Dracula: Untold is not the first installment anymore!).
Tell me if this set-up sounds familiar several standalone movies all tied together with a big team movie. Well, Universal who pretty much invented the “Cinematic Universe” from the start with its classic monsters is now copying Marvel and bringing yet another obvious cash grab of a Universe.
The first film in the Dark Universe directed by Alex Kurtzman (Transformers 1 and 2, Star Trek, People Like Us) which will be followed by remakes of other Universal classic monsters like Dracula, Frankenstein, The Wolf Man, The Creature from Black Lagoon, and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is ambitious but an unfortunate mess. It’s not as bad as the third installment of the Brendan Fraser trilogy, The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor but aside from a cool Mummy portrayed by Sofia Boutella (Kingsman: The Secret Service, Star Trek Beyond, Atomic Blonde) and a few action sequences that stand out, there is very little in this movie to recommend.
An ancient Egyptian princess named Ahmanet (Boutella) was first in line to succeed her father and become queen only to be replaced when his second wife gives birth to a son. Determined to claim the throne she sells her soul to the god Set, kills her entire family, and attempts to sacrifice her lover but she is captured, mummified, and buried alive for many years.
In the present day, the film follows a former U.S. Military officer named Nick Morton (Cruise) and his team, Jennifer “Jenny” Halsey (Annabelle Wallis-X-Men: First Class, Peaky Blinders, The Brothers Grimsby) and Sergeant Chris Vail (Jake Johnson-A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas, New Girl, Drinking Buddies) unintentionally discovering the tomb of Ahmanet in Iraq while on the run from armed insurgents. Nick and his team bring the sarcophagus aboard an airplane and in no time the plane gets attacked by a vicious wave of crows and crashes.
Nick wakes up and is greeted by Dr. Henry Jekyll (Russell Crowe-Gladiator, 3:10 to Yuma, The Nice Guys), the head of Prodigium, a secret society dedicated to hunting supernatural threats and their base is located inside the National History Museum of London (Okay, I’ll admit that’s actually kind of clever), who informs him that he has been cursed by Ahmanet to become the key to her conquest of Earth which is supposedly why he survived the plane crash.
So, it’s up to Nick to put an end to Ahmanet’s wrath and save the world before she fulfills her destructive destiny.
The film also stars Courtney B. Vance (The Preacher’s Wife, Space Cowboys, Final Destination 5) as Colonel Greenway, Javier Botet (REC franchise, The Conjuring 2, Alien: Covenant) as Set, Marwan Kenzari (Wolf, Ben-Hur, The Promise) as Malik, Selva Rasalingam (Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, Doctor Who, Risen) as King Menehptre, Rez Kempton (The Bill, The Mystic Masseur, Amar Akbar & Tony) as Foreman, and Chasty Ballesteros (The Newsroom, Think Like a Man Too, Constantine) as Kira Lee.
Overall, The Mummy is a chaotic effects-driven mess and a lousy film to kick off the Dark Universe which is very unfortunate because a lot of talented people worked on it. The characters aren’t engaging at all, as soon as Tom Cruise’s character stabbed one of his teammates’ water container I knew I was going to be invested in him, sure Brendan Fraser was a jerk and smart-alecky in the 1999 trilogy but he was still a likable and charming character.
Really the only character I was invested in was Sofia Boutella as the Mummy and she’s the antagonist, whenever she’s onscreen it’s a lot of fun to watch and because of the unengaging protagonists she’s pretty much the best thing in the movie and you’re just waiting for her to wipe them out. Cruise isn’t very likable here, Crowe was pointless, everyone else is just there, and nobody makes an impression besides Boutella.
But with that said some of the action sequences can be fun, the plane crash in the beginning is exciting and there’s an awesome scene where Cruise and Wallis are running from a bunch of broken glass and debris in the museum when the Mummy is unleashed. Unfortunately, everything else is generic, CG-driven nonsense that we’ve seen a million times before in other movies.
Hopefully Universal’s Dark Universe will get better, it took DC a while to get it right with Wonder Woman so perhaps the same thing could happen here. Because as of right now this movie will just make you want to watch the original Boris Karloff film again instead so skip it and watch It Comes at Night this weekend.