The Mummy is another reboot of the series which begins with London’s £15bn Crossrail project coming across the tomb of Princess Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella – who gave us a great turn as Jaylah in last year’s Star Trek Beyond) as they dig underground, even though they’re going ABOVE the Tube, so that lot must’ve just missed out when those were built.
Russell Crowe deftly steps in, as Dr. Henry Jekyll (yes, THAT Jekyll) and takes over with methodical voice-over delivering platitudes like “The past cannot remain buried forever”, “Power is not given. It has to be taken”, etc.
Meanwhile, back in her original timezone, the Princess makes a pact with the devil and darkness is unleashed, leading to hear being trapped in a tomb forever… well, until now. And all before she was able to complete her task by jumping into the body of a mortal man… hence, where Tom Cruise steps – yes, you’ve seen the trailer where he wakes up the morgue after the plane incident.
He plays Nick Morton, a modern-day Indiana Jones, looking for buried treasure in the desert, who teams up with Chris Vail, played by Jake Johnson, who mostly just repeats his usual ‘unshaven slacker’ role, bar for one twist which I’ll leave you to discover.
Still, for a film with a $125m budget, they’ve got to have spent that money wisely, yes? Well, no. It takes in a very unexciting action opener as the haplesss pair try and dodge ISIS, then stumble upon a mummy’s tomb underground and are paired with potential love interest Jenny Halsey (Annabelle Wallis, who’d previously stepped off the set of the equally derided King Arthur: Legend Of The Sword) who’s looking for the ceremonal Dagger of Set, and there’s a curse that needs to be broken and ya-da, ya-da, ya-da… you know EXACTLY where all this is going.
Cruise usually makes a reasonable-to-decent fist of an action role, but he’s phoning it in, here, with a hero who’s acting in a style that’s maverick (no pun intended), and there’s zero chemistry with Johnson and Ms Wallis.
This action-movie-by-numbers is meant to kick off Universal’s Dark Monsters Universe, so they can have their own series of films like Marvel’s Cinema Universe of action heroes, and which Warner and DC Comics are playing catch-up on with Man Of Steel, Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, Suicide Squad, Wonder Woman and so on.
So, we’re expected to engage with the next movie features – The Wolf Man, Bride of Frankenstein, The Invisible Man, Van Helsing and so on, but given this limp effort which isn’t even scary, I can’t see all this happening. I think the brand is tarnished from movie one.
It’s also a 15-cert which doesn’t help. Okay, so kudos to Universal for not censoring a 15-cert movie down to a 12A, but beforehand, I didn’t think it could be that graphic anyway, and that it just slipped into a 15 because it’s still a PG-13 in the US. Pride And Prejudice And Zombies was like that – not gory or scary enough, at all, for a typical 15-cert, but it just tips the scales due to being occasionally a bit graphic.
When it comes to The Mummy, there’s not enough of these things that could be edited around to make it 12A-friendly, so Universal, thankfully, had no chance other than to go with a 15-cert, but the bean counters will be wishing they could’ve cashed in on all those empty IMAX seats. And in its second week, a lot of its potential IMAX screens are reverting back to the previous week’s Wonder Woman.
I thought Brendan Fraser’s 1999 version of The Mummy, and 2001’s The Mummy Returns, were mediocre (I didn’t bother with 2008’s third escapade, subtitled Tomb of the Dragon Emperor), so expectations were high with bigger stars and budget in this one.
On the plus side, The Mummy 2017 is fairly fast-moving at just 97 minutes before the closing credits begin – and I never felt massively bored – for the first 2/3 of it. Plus, it doesn’t spend ages with long talky scenes that never lead to anything. However, that leads to zero chemistry development amongst anyone. Even Crowe’s Jekyll feels like he’s thrown in as an afterthought, since after all his deep-voiced talking, and referring to Cruise’s character in that sinister movie-baddie way of “Mr Morton”, the two have just one tussle together before things move on.
There was also far too much shown in the trailers, so that leads to disappointment when watching the movie because there wasn’t a great deal else to see. I also saw this in 2D. It wasn’t shot in 3D and I can’t see that adding that in post-production would improve things in any way.
Oh, and Cruise’s scream in the plane crash in the trailer? That’s actually a scream from a later street scene.
In addition, despite it not being boring for the most part, throughout the entire film I found it hard to discover any point within.
Director Alex Kurtzman is also in line to produce those other Dark Monsters movies, but quite frankly, he’s one of many contributors to this who should be locked in a tomb for 5,000 years.
Running time: 110 minutes
Studio: Universal Pictures UK
Format: 2.35:1 (ARRIRAW (6.5K), Dolby Vision, Anamorphic Panavision)
Released: June 9th 2017
Director: Alex Kurtzman
Producers: Sarah Bradshaw, Sean Daniel, Alex Kurtzman and Chris Morgan
Screenplay: David Koepp, Christopher McQuarrie and Dylan Kussman (from a story by Jon Spaihts, Alex Kurtzman and Jenny Lumet)
Music: Brian Tyler
Nick Morton: Tom Cruise
Dr. Henry Jekyll: Russell Crowe
Jenny Halsey: Annabelle Wallis
Princess Ahmanet: Sofia Boutella
Chris Vail: Jake Johnson
Colonel Greenway: Courtney B Vance
Malik: Marwan Kenzari
Crusader: Simon Atherton
Ahmanet’s Warrior: Erol Ismail
King Menehptre: Selva Rasalingam
Arabian Princess: Shanina Shaik
Set: Javier Botet
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.