The Mummy

Here is another example of a studio taking a director with little to no experience and shoving him behind one of the summer’s biggest tent-pole action flicks. Of course, we already know from previous experience that “A Tom Cruise movie” means he is the real voice behind the film. If that wasn’t enough, Universal is trying to reboot all their monster films again, and The Mummy is first on the list. The idea seems to be adapting them with a modern action twist; Present day London instead of ancient Egypt. Instead of the Brenden Fraser/Rachel Weisz campy desert mystery, this version is every bad zombie movie combined with worst of Author Dan Brown stories. There are six credited screenwriters which results in one big mess of a movie.

Nick Morton (Cruise), a “liberator of antiquities” and Jenny Halsey (Wallis) a serious one night stand archeologist, discover the tomb of disgraced Egyptian Princess Ahmanet (Boutella) in Iraq. Halsey notes to Morton, who just wants to grab some gold and make a buck, that this was no burial ground, but instead, a prison, far removed from Egypt that it was never meant to be found. A thousand-year-old curse ascends on Morton, as Ahmanet seems into his thoughts, trying to fulfill her destructive destiny. Back in London, Dr. Henry Jekyll (Crowe) has made a discovery of his own that’s connected with the unearthing of Ahmanet’s tomb. “I think we have angered the gods,” Morton finally admits when the mummified princess materializes by sucking the life out of her victims.

This version is every bad zombie movie combined with worst of Author Dan Brown stories.

The Mummy attempts to check all the boxes of previous versions: Johnson as the goofy sidekick, Wallis as the intelligent and beautiful lady, but lost is the element of mystery and history. Boutella as “The Mummy” is a new twist, and if you are hoping the Star Trek actress is the one highlight, you will be disappointed there too. Most of her scenes are green screened or feature her chained up screaming. Make no mistake, this is just another Cruise action flick where he runs, flirts with younger women; The title and franchise bit nothing but a disguise. In one scene where Morton tries to converse with the angry mummy, she packs quite a few punches to the Scientologist, resulting in audience laughter and applause. “He has been selected as the vessel for ultimate evil,” that description of the curse Morton finds himself faced with should also give Cruise cynics quite a chuckle.

With so many writers, you would expect some plot organization or a bit of structure. Instead it’s zombie fight, escape, more fighting, escape again, on and on this continues. Cruise’ attempt to be cute and make jokes fail, but one line I did find funny occurs when Crowe’s alternate ego Hyde fights Morton, calling him a younger man. This is another one of those desperate Cruise influences, since Oscar Winner Crowe (Gladiator) is actually two years younger than the Mission Impossible star. It should come as no surprise that “director” Alex Kurtzman was also a producer on Van Helsing, Universal’s last failed attempt to reboot their monster franchise. Left as wide open as Tom Cruise’s ego, for a sequel, international audiences (aka those people who loved The Great Wall, Warcraft and any special effects movie) should fuel further monster remakes which answer the burning question why the Jekyll & Hyde character is in a mummy movie.

Final Thought

Goes from monster movie reboot to embarrassing monstrosity in record time.


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