Day 160 – The Mummy – 2017

sofia-boutella-the-mummy

Disney has the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Warner Brothers have the DC Cinematic Universe. Univeral decided to make the Dark Universe with their back catalogue of Monsters. The problem is that they have had some fantastic films over the years, but decided to reboot once again a classic. The Mummy is a complete retelling of the origins story brought to the 21st century and was directed by the writer of the Transformers films: Alex Kurtzman. Starring Tom Cruise, Annabelle Wallis and Sofia Boutella as the title character.

Honestly, this film was destined to fail. Remember when you first saw Iron Man. It was a film that had its own story and was self-contained. At the end, after the credits, it introduced another character to essentially create a shared universe. Same with The Incredible Hulk another self-contained story where at the end they introduce something to join a shared universe. The problem with The Mummy is that it shoves the characters and exposition of the “Dark Universe” down your throat as soon as the film starts. I miss the days when Brendan Fraiser took on the titular villain with the classic motifs and action of past. Shame.

Dr Jekyll (Russell Crowe), of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, has an organisation called Prodigium (terrible name) that contains and studies supernatural threats. His team locate a tomb in the underbelly of 21st century London and finds a knight who is holding a red jewel. Apparently, in Ancient Egypt, there was a princess who turned evil and conjured the dark side of the Egyptian god – Set. He gave her supernatural powers to take down her enemies and bring himself to life with the red jewel and a dagger. Luckily she was captured and sent to a tomb encrusted in mercury (apparently it stops evil from spreading). Millions of years later Nick Morton (Tom Cruise) and his sidekick Chris Vail (Jake Johnston) find the tomb, awaken the princess and all hell breaks lose.

The film had the unique opportunity to make the Mummy a genuine threat for the onscreen heroes including Nick Morton and his love interest Jenny Halsey (Annabelle Wallis). The problem is that the script was written for the characters to rush into the threat, and then meet the team tasked to take it down with no explanation of how and why they are helping them. World building is a concrete way of making a franchise, but flashing it front and centre is just desperate. Its embarrassing to see Universal throw money at the screen by casting Tom Cruise to take on their new take of the Mummy.

The plot was rushed, no clear character development. No physical love interest for the hero, and personally no threat for him to take on. Sofia Boutella was superb as the feminine version of the classic Mummy, but her time on screen was wasted thanks to an arbitrary look on how to take on the world. The only interesting thing about her Mummy is the eyes. They split, and that’s pretty cool. Also, the makers tried to over sexualize her, and that’s not good at all. The action in the film is tasteful, to say the least, with the sequence taking place in the cemetery clearly taking on the vibe of the horror pictures of past in Universal’s monster catalogue. The film also has various humourous parts, which completely take you out of the scary moment the director has tried to create. The tone is lost, and so is your attention.

Overall a completely wasted approach to The Mummy, rather than tell a self-contained story Univeral try the hard sell with their new Dark Universe and waste the talents of Tom Cruise from hero to a selfish art thief who looks out for himself. The only good thing to come from this film is the artistry of Sofia Boutella who’s career will flourish further thanks to her portrayal of The Mummy. This film is a disgrace, and more importantly, we need Brendan Fraiser back.

Should you watch it: NO

Day 93 – The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor – 2008

The-Mummy-Tomb-of-The-Dragon-Emperor-Nintendo-Wii

The original Mummy was released in 1932 and was played by the legendary Boris Karloff, in 1999 it was rebooted by Stephen Sommers and starred Brendan Fraiser and Rachel Weisz. It was a huge success, and in 2001 they released the sequel which saw the cast take on Mummy again. This time around Brendan is back, but with a new agenda.  His wife has morphed into Maria Bello who in the film is now a writer and is asked if her life has impacted her characters, with her replying “Honestly, I can say she’s a completely different person”, of which was an inside joke alluding to the change of actor regarding the Evelyn O’Connell. Directed by The Fast and The Furious’s Rob Cohen, he tries to capture the originality and serial style action of the former films and direct it into a third. Unfortunately, it falls flat.

This time around, Alex their son from the second film is in China excavating an old warlords tomb. Both Rick and Evelyn come to visit, and somehow the released the Emperor, a warlord who was banished to eternity as a statue only to be awoken once again. His mission is to raise his undead army and make it past the great wall of china and take over the world. Jet Li plays the Emperor, for only a short amount of time, thanks to his character being made of stone throughout the story. Michelle Yeow also stars as Zi Yuan, the sorceress to banished him, and she brings her daughter Lin along for the ride.

It’s a completely stupid concept, that is lost thanks to the terrible story. The biggest problem that the first 2 films had a large amout of was fun. The film didn’t have the same quality or effect of which the characters had some kind of humour. Luke Ford who played Alex O’Connell is, without doubt, one of the most boring actors in the film. He is supposed to be playing the British son of the O’Connells and yet he has an Australian accent and looks closer to his father’s age than a 220-year-old

The casting is all wrong as well, Michelle Yeoh and Jet Li are wasted as the oriental threat and peacemaker thanks to their generic roles and mundane dialogue. They have a couple of fight sequences, and its good see them bring some action to the other boring fights in the film. We get it, Rob Cohen, they are very old, wise and dangerous. The problem is that the content is old and that you have tried to revive a dead mummy after 7 years of being destroyed (at the box office).

The score of the film is also lacking. It is not as epic as the first 2 iterations of the franchise, aiming its sights on a more generic feel. The rhythm is lost to the oriental theme, and with that, it loses the fun in the score. The original score had a grand in scale approach, that made you feel like something big was along the way. This version of the score didn’t bring that flare with it. It’s a shame because the score of the film can sometimes save it from the plot. The visual effects, however, are pretty good, thanks to the fantastic use of colour. This time around the colour palette is richer in red than the yellow it had before, and it shows with the set extensions and the beautifully curated CGI Yeti sequence in the snowy mountains. At least Rob Cohen didn’t skimp on the good stuff.

Overall this film tried to bring life back to something that had died many years ago (7 to be precise). The excitement and humour of the original are lost to the terrible story of the oriental mummy and the fact they recast one of the main stars (Maria Bello, you are still awesome). Maybe it was the studio who were trying to cash in on the last Indiana Jones movie? Save yourself, and forget this film exists.

#SaveBrendan

Should you watch it: NO