Directed by Alex Kurtzman
UK Release Date: 9th June 2017
Feature Running Time: 110 minutes
When it was confirmed by Universal that they had plans to reboot several of their classic monster movies of the 1930s, with The Mummy being the first one to kick things off; my first initial reaction was met with much surprise and piqued interest. After the rapid number of reboots/remakes/re-imaginings that have been dished out to us from the Hollywood money making machine over recent years, its something that has grown a bit tiresome. However, a whole slate of monster movies from Universal Studios being revived and bought back to life (no pun intended) for today’s audiences, could be seen as something fresh and exciting. I shouldn’t have held my breath though.
When it was reported Tom Cruise would be the film’s leading role for The Mummy, plenty of head scratching ensued. Anyone that knows me personally knows I’m an unashamedly massive Cruise fan and will happily watch any film he is in, no matter what the quality. But hearing he’s landed the role in this was just bizarre. Its not the kind of film I would associate with Cruise. Also, does a horror reboot such as this one really need that kind of A-List star quality? I beg to differ with anyone who says yes to that question. Still, I remained remotely optimistic for the time being and didn’t want to make any judgements until I viewed the end product. But then a few weeks before general release, the unfortunate inevitable happened that sadly seems to be a regular and recurrent thing with film franchises these days – The Mummy was to be part of a planned shared monster film universe by Universal, under the newly announced yet uninspiring title ‘Dark Universe’. It makes me upset that this is happening to more and more films currently and its a poor direction that really damages this reboot from becoming a much needed welcomed one in my opinion.
Cruise plays Nick Morton, an infiltration soldier and thief stationed in Iraq whom while fighting the enemy and dodging explosions in the best way he knows how, unwittingly unearths a tomb buried beneath the unforgiving desert sand and in doing so, awakens the ancient Egyptian princess Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella) who seeks vengeance upon the world (mainly London) after being betrayed by her father and having her destiny wrongfully snatched away from her. Ahmanet uses Nick to help her regain all her powers back and become less mummified and more of the princess she once was before she was punished for all eternity. Or something like that. The film is so messy with so much thrown into it that I wouldn’t even know where to begin in explaining the plot line clearly. Its unsure of its own target audience either because it simply just cannot make up its own mind what kind of genre it belongs to. Is it an action adventure? A horror comedy? A race against time thriller? Who the hell even knows. While I appreciate the fact that it tries to stay more closer to the original material of the 1932 version, the overall tone of the movie feels so off balance and uneven. Its attempts at humour are also cringe worthy bad and comes across as really forced and incredibly stupid. The terrible acting and badly written dialogue are mostly to blame for this.
As much as it pains me to say this, I couldn’t even go so far to call it a typical Tom Cruise action film vehicle. All the action set pieces we see in the film have already been unveiled in the trailer anyway so therefore there’s really little else left that could thrill viewers here. I mean it was good to see the aeroplane crash in full but if you expect to see any more action at that same exciting velocity, you’ll leave feeling very disappointed. Cruise always gives every film he’s in everything he’s got but I get the feeling that he felt really awkward making this film. He spends most of the film’s running time acting just as confused and perplexed as we are, asking the same repetitive questions over and over again of ‘what the hell?’, ‘who are you?’ or ‘why have I been chosen’? Cruise doesn’t even get to do many of his own stunts – something that he has quite the reputation for. When asking his female co-star Annabelle Wallis in character where is her sense of adventure, perhaps that should have been something he needed to keep asking himself throughout the whole movie.
The supportive cast weren’t at all better. Mainly consisting of boring, two dimensional characters that brought nothing new to the table with Russell Crowe playing a literary character pulled from the classic monster vault as a way of linking the shared future movies together. If there’s one thing that will make you howl with laughter then its Russell Crowe trying to pull off a London cockney accent. If you thought David Beckham’s cameo in King Arthur was bad, well wait until you see this. So bad you just have to laugh.
Its really not good news when I say that the 1999 effort with Brendan Fraser is a lot better than this shoddy reboot. That film just knew what it was and knew not to take itself too seriously, having a really great sense of fun in the process. And had better special effects!
The first entry into this so called ‘Dark Universe’ really doesn’t bode too well for Universal and its other announced movies including a retelling of The Invisible Man by HG Wells. One to best avoid.