PLOT- Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella) is an ancient Egyptian princess who kills her family and sells her soul to the God Set in exchange for ultimate power. She agrees to kill a mortal man with a magical dagger, which will allow Set to take on a human form. Ahmanet is interrupted before the ritual can be completed. To keep humanity safe, she is mummified alive and buried in a secret location. The dagger is separated from its gemstone that gives it magical properties and the gem is buried in a crypt in England with a knight from the crusades.
Present day: Nick Morton (Tom Cruise) and Chris Vail (Jake Johnson) are soldiers in Iraq, who have a side business stealing and selling antiquities. During a raid, the tomb of Ahmanet is accidentally uncovered. The tombs of the knights in London has also recently been discovered. The two men are joined by Jenny Halsey (Annabelle Wallis), a British archaeologist, who has had a fling with Nick. As the trio are exploring Ahmanet's tomb, they awaken her and Nick becomes infected with a curse. As soon as Ahmanet finds the ruby and the dagger, she will kill Nick to complete her agreement with Set.
LIKE- I'm a fan of the Boris Karloff's Mummy and I liked the reboot with Brendan Fraser. I thought this latest iteration with Cruise, looked promising. The trailer made it look darker and scarier than previous versions. I was pumped to see The Mummy.
As we now know, it is already being considered a summer flop. The reviews are terrible and I have to admit that I'm finding it hard to pin-point positives.
Here are a few good things about The Mummy. The cast is solid. The acting is certainly not where The Mummy fails. Boutella is a stand-out, making Ahmanet both terrifying and sympathetic. The special effects and sets are spectacular. It's always fun to see iconic buildings get torn apart in an action film, in this case it was London's Museum of Natural History. The script was mostly dreadful, but there was a great scene where Ahmanet controls Nick's mind and he keeps returning to her, as he tries to escape. My husband and I both wondered why they didn't play up this aspect of the story. It had potential.
DISLIKE- Ugh, where to start...
Story, it always goes back to story. There were multiple problems with the story, but I think the biggest problem is with Nick, our protagonist. The Mummy starts with Nick and Chris plotting to steal antiquities from a village in Iraq. It is quickly established that Nick is the one willing to take big risks for big rewards, where as Chris is the nervous friend. Neither guys are particularly charming or intriguing, despite their "comedic banter." The comedy is in the style of Indiana Jones, which alas, does not work in The Mummy. The comedy fell flat every time.
So back to the Nick problem; we don't learn much about his character throughout the film. He likes Jenny, but doesn't show emotion. We know he likes her, because even as he is being a jerk, he does nice things for her. But mostly, he comes off as a jerk. Nick doesn't have any clear goals or desires, he just spends the movie staying one-step ahead of Ahmanet. His story-arc is passive. He's a very weak protagonist and I never cared about his character or story. Ahmanet, the antagonist, has strong needs and desires, but without a worthy protagonist, who cares?
We also have the whole Dark Universe thing going on. I had no idea that Universal was pitching The Mummy to be the first in their new, Dark Universe franchise, exploring the worlds of their classic monsters. The idea of rebooting classic tales is great, but not the way they're doing it, with character cross-overs.
The worst part of the film is when we learn that this is a cross-over. Nick is taken to a secret lab when Jenny is employed and we see supernatural things in jars, like a vampire skull and a fin that looks like it may have belonged to The Creature from the Black Lagoon. Jenny's boss is revealed to be none other than Dr. Henry Jekyll (Russell Crowe). At this reveal, the audience in our theatre let out an audible groan. No one was buying this. I'm not a fan of character world cross-overs and this was the nail in the coffin for The Mummy.
I mentioned the failed comedy before, but it bears mentioning again. Comedy is sprinkled throughout The Mummy and just doesn't work. They should have upped the horror factor and made it truly a terrifying film.
The pacing is uneven, with a sluggish start, opening with Chris and Nick about to steal treasure and then plunging into a narrated backstory of Ahmanet. If Nick a little depth and if the Ahmanet info had been teased out, rather than front-loaded, it would have made a stronger story.
RECOMMEND- Nope. As my British husband said (imagine the posh accent) - "The Mummy was a bucket of shite!" I couldn't agree more.