Out of all the movie monsters, I have to say the Mummy never really scared me. Seriously, think about it, what is so scary about a mummy? Maybe its looks? The Mummy never seemed threatening to me. It moved slower than a Romero zombie and always looked like a dried up raisin that needed a hug. Now, you want to talk about vampires, werewolves, or those juiced up speed freak zombies that Snyder gave us, then there’s a reason to be scared! It wasn’t until The Mummy franchise (1999 – 2008), starring Brendan Fraser, that I had a reason to fear a mummy. It’s time for another reboot. This time they’ve dug up another classic movie monster, dusted off some bandages, put a “new” spin on it, and released it upon the world.
Come to find out, Universal Pictures decided to grab some of the classic movie monsters so they could put a 21st-century spin on them and launch… the Dark Universe. It’s pretty much an excuse to reboot a bunch of movies. Now, a lot of people thought that Dracula Untold (2014) was considered the first film in the DU (Dark Universe). However, The Mummy has been billed as the first film of the series. I’m guessing since Dracula Untold wasn’t received very well by the public, Universal wanted to start the DU franchise with a clean slate (The Mummy) instead of building off of a film (Dracula Untold) with poor ratings.
Truthfully, after watching the trailer, I wasn’t expecting much from The Mummy. Come to find out, I had set my bar of disappointment at the right level. What’s this PG-13 story about, you ask? Well, during an assignment in Iraq, Sergeant Nick Morton and Corporal Chris Vail stumble upon a mysterious tomb buried deep in the desert. After inspecting the tomb, archaeologist Jenny Halsey realizes it’s the tomb of Princess Ahmanet (who did a lot of bad things while she was alive). Due to threats in the area, Colonel Greenway tells them to pull the sarcophagus and get it ready to be transported out of there. By removing the sarcophagus from its prison, they wake up Ahmanet and free her to finish what she started all those years ago. She wants to gain the power to rule.
It’s a basic storyline. Someone wakes up evil. Evil tries to take over the world. Good tries to stop evil. Imagine if you will (because I don’t recommend watching it), a movie that runs for one hundred eleven minutes with a lot of CGI scattered throughout. Said movie tells its story through current time, flashbacks, hallucinations (maybe?), psychic talks (between Nick and Ahmanet) and you have… The Mummy. I better watch out, I almost made this movie sound interesting. The story jumps back and forth between past and present, which really messed with the pace. I felt like every time the movie took a step forward toward the credits, it would take two steps back for another flashback.
Some people voiced concerns about The Mummy (2017) just being a gender swapped repeat of The Mummy (1999). Keep in mind, this version of The Mummy is supposed to be a reboot of the classic, 1930’s Mummy. The gender swap idea didn’t bother me, and I was hoping that it would bring something new to the story. Unfortunately, it didn’t feel like the swap changed or enhanced the story at all. I have to admit though, I saw a strong resemblance to The Mummy (1999) in some of the scenes. Now, they did pull off a cool way to (possibly) link all of the monsters in the DU together, if that’s the way they go with it, so thumbs up to that part.
I have to give a quick shout out to The Mummy for some of its set designs. Ahmanet’s tomb and Jekyll’s lab were impressive looking. I liked Jekyll’s lab the best, because of all the background visuals that were floating around. The look of Ahmanet was okay, but aside from the crazy eye thing she had going on, nothing was interesting about her. Unfortunately, Ahmanet will fall into the abyss of the forgotten once all the hype is over and the posters come down. I think the worst part of the special effects were the zombies that Ahmanet creates as she gains power. The dead army didn’t blend into the scenes and stood out badly, especially in the action scenes. There are a few other spots that the CGI stood out. However, the dead army made the most impact, because they popped up a lot more.
Some of the faces you’ll see are Tom Cruise (Jack Reacher: Never Go Back), Annabelle Wallis (The Brothers Grimsby), Sofia Boutella (Kingsman: The Secret Service), Russell Crowe (The Nice Guys), Jake Johnson (Let’s Be Cops) and Javier Botet (The Conjuring 2). Now, I like Cruise and enjoy most of his movies, but I don’t think he was the right choice for the main character. He brings the same Cruise energy that you’re used to seeing in his films today, and maybe that was it. The main role needed more War of the Worlds (2005) Cruise, where he was scared and out of his element, not the Mission: Impossible Cruise, where he always had things under control. As far as Johnson goes, I liked him and thought his bits were funny, but his main role in the movie can be summed up by saying he’s Jack Goodman from American Werewolf in London (1981). If you don’t get the reference then you’re missing out on a great movie… fix that, stat! Boutella did a good job with what she was given, but when the movie you’re in is going down in flames, can anyone see how bright you truly shine? I expected Wallis’s character to have more of an impact in the movie, but she just fills the scenes and says her lines. Crowe’s character was my favorite, he played a very different version of Dr. Jekyll than I was expecting. I liked it!
Sidenote: After watching this one, I’m starting to lose hope that the Dark Universe will churn out any good monster movies. I guess we’ll see when Bride of Frankenstein comes out around February 2019. The other DU films don’t have titles yet, but Universal has plans to make a movie for Creature from the Black Lagoon, Invisible Man, Van Helsing, Wolf Man, Frankenstein, Dracula, Phantom of the Opera, and Hunchback of Notre-Dame.
If for some reason you actually want to own a Blu-ray copy of this… horror filled flick. It comes out September 12th, 2017 and here are the special features:
Audio Commentary with director and producer Alex Kurtzman, and cast members Sofia Boutella, Annabelle Wallis and Jake Johnson
Deleted and Extended Scenes
Cruise & Kurtzman: A Conversation Rooted in Reality – Tom Cruise and Alex Kurtzman discuss the making of The Mummy.
*Rooted in Reality – Filmmakers and cast reveal how they broke away from old tropes and traditions to create a dynamic and realistic 21st-century monster movie.
*Life in Zero-G: Creating the Plane Crash – Watch Tom Cruise, Annabelle Wallis, and the crew shoot the incredible plane sequence.
*Meet Ahmanet – Sofia Boutella shares the excitement of reinventing a monster icon.
*Cruise in Action – A behind-the-scenes look at Tom Cruise’s most memorable Mummy stunts.
*Becoming Jekyll and Hyde – Find out how the casting of Russell Crowe brought a bold new dimension to the roles of Jekyll and Hyde.
*Choreographed Chaos – Watch as cast and filmmakers create an epic outdoors clash between ancient and modern worlds.
*Nick Morton: In Search of a Soul – Tom Cruise describes what drew him to play a man seemingly without a soul.
*Ahmanet Reborn Animated Graphic Novel – Witness Ahmanet’s descent into the monstrous underworld as she is reborn into the Goddess of Chaos and Wrath
Overall, I’m sure there’s a fan base out there somewhere that thinks this is a great movie. I, however, am not part of that fan base.