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