Published on June 8th, 2017 | by gareth0
Universal Studios has released the first of their new Dark Universe films with a reboot of “The Mummy”. The film kicks off the ambitious project that hopes to do updated versions of several classic Universal horror classics with interconnected characters that will appear in various films as part of a larger universe.
The film stars Tom Cruise as Nick Morton who works in Advanced Recon for the military but also uses his position to scout out rare items which he then sells for a profit. After charming a map from a woman named Jenny (Annabelle Wallis), Nick and his friend Chris (Jake Johnson), find themselves under attack from insurgents and forced to call in an air strike; which unearths a hidden tomb as a result of the explosion.
A Sarcophagus is discovered in the tomb and while evacuating their discovery, mysterious things start to happen which results in the plane crashing over England.
Nick soon has visions and cannot explain how he managed to survive the crash without a scratch which in turn leads him to learn that he has been cursed by the object that they removed from the tomb. It is learned that the tomb was for a princess named Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella), who tried to assume the throne via murder and an attempting to bring the evil got Set to the world via a human host.
Enter Dr. Jekyll (Russell Crowe), who informs Nick about what has been unleashed and about the curse that has befallen him. With Ahmanet revived and leaving a path of death in destruction in her wake, it is a race against time to stop Ahmanet and save Nick and the world.
The film directed by Alex Kurtzman uses a lot of solid CGI effects to bring the creatures to life but takes a very by the numbers and safe approach to the material The plot tells a very predictable story which lacks any real twists and turns or surprises. Cruise does his best with the film and there is some intensity to the film, but I kept thinking I had seen this all before. I know that the film is largely an introduction to a much larger planned cinematic universe but after a promising setup the film just has a far too familiar feeling to it.
Boutella does a great job as the title creature as she mixes seduction and menace to create an interesting new incarnation of the creature but one has to wonder if the gender switch of the title character is part of the negative backlash to the film by some.
The finale unfolds without any suspense or originality which really is a letdown considering how many other ways the film could have gone especially with an idea I had thought of which would have tied things in very well to the larger universe.
The film is not as awful as some have reported as it is a CGI heavy summer Popcorn Flick that does offer entertainment. The biggest issue is that with the names attached to the film; it could have and should have been more than what it was. That being said, I am curious to see what comes next for the Dark Universe films as there are some really interesting options that could be perused.
3 stars out of 5.
Second review by Josh Aja
Long range reconnaissance partners Nick Morton (Tom Cruise) and Chris Vail (Jack Johnson) are in the desert of Iraq looking for treasure. They end up in a small desert town full of insurgents and under heavy fire. They attempt to fight their way out but to no avail. As a last ditch effort they call in an air strike. The air strike does the job and the insurgents flee. As the dust and smoke settles they realize that a giant hole has opened in the Earth, revealing an ancient Egyptian statue. Because they called in the air strike reinforcements come to their aide. Typically this is a good thing, but for Nick and Chis this brings to light that they are far away from where they should be and in possession of a stolen map to presumed treasure. When the army arrives their commanding officer, Colonel Greenway (Courtney B. Vance) and the rightful owner of the map, archeologist Jenny Halsey (Annabelle Wallis), are the first to confront the duo on the mess they have made. Jenny is astounded at presence of Egyptian artifacts so far from Egypt. They immediately want to investigate. Descending into the large chasm Morton, Vail and Jenny discover the cursed tomb of Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella), a 5000 year old Egyptian Princess, who was mummified alive for killing her father and new born baby brother in a quest for power. Morton breaks the chain releasing Ahmanet’s sarcophagus and they load it onto a plane headed for London. They plane does not reach its destination after it is engulfed by thousands of crows. As the plane is plummeting to the Earth, Morton gets a parachute on Jenny and she is the only survivor…or maybe not. Morton awakens in the morgue unscratched in a body bag with a toe tag attached. Soon they find that not only is Morton alive but he is linked to the now awaken 5000 year old Ahmanet who must kill him to reverse the curse. The race is on to save Morton and destroy the undead mummy as she attempts to become immortal and all powerful.
There have been many versions of this particular iconic movie monster. The first in 1932, also The Mummy, followed by many other adaptations. Most recently a trilogy of films starring Brendan Fraser, which like many of the films before, it they tended to be a mixture of suspense, action and a campy acting style fitting to the monster movie genre. The 2017 version attempted to take a new directions from the 1990’s Fraser films. There was definitely an attempt to take the undead in a more serious direction. Cruise’s hero character seemed less swashbuckling and more troubled with a good side buried beneath the surface. Also this is the first time the title character has been a woman. Not all things are different though. The “mummy” still regenerates by sucking the life from the living, is able to call the dead to life and must accomplish something to complete the curse and rule the world.
This particular movie really misses in a lot of ways for me. It tries to be more serious than the most recent trilogy of “mummy” film but still comes off as cheesy. The effects were okay but did not add a ton to the film. Also Wallis’ character played the helpless damsel way too much. Spending most of the film screaming “Nick” followed by some version of help me. The character had plenty of potential to be an important part of the film but really fell flat for me. Cruise’s performance seems out of place. He is supposed to be a relic looting thief who deep down is a good person. But unfortunately that does not come across in the film and you never doubt that he will do the right thing. This makes the outcome seem inevitable. There are moments where the undead are chasing people, rats or crows are everywhere and Ahmanet is terrorizing that are what you expect to see in this type of film and are executed well. But these are expected and almost feel forced and unoriginal. The Dr. Henry Jekyll (Russell Crowe) and Ahmanet performances stood out for me in this film. Those two characters were bright spots in an otherwise disappointing film.
1.5 out of 5