Review: The Mummy

The Mummy
4 10

PLOT: A treasure hunting soldier (Tom Cruise) and an archaeologist (Annabelle Wallis) inadvertently awaken an ancient, malevolent mummy (Sofia Boutella) bent on world domination.

REVIEW: THE MUMMY is Universal’s make-or-break attempt to kick-start their long-planned “Dark Universe” franchise, where classic monsters from the studio catalog will come together in a multi-film saga. They tried this with DRACULA UNTOLD, but with Tom Cruise as their star, and FAST & FURIOUS scribe Chris Morgan god-fathering it, it seems like this time the studio’s not taking any chances. With so much riding on it, why does the new version of THE MUMMY seem so half-assed?

The biggest culprit here is a near total lack of originality. The DNA of so many movies forms the basis of THE MUMMY, that it’s enough to make your head-spin. Not only are exact archetypes from the ‘99 version of THE MUMMY-lifted, from the soldier-of-fortune hero/brainy heroine/comic-relief sidekick (the smarter ‘32 version is ignored), but they even dare to recycle bits and pieces of movies like AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON (which they also own the rights to), with Jake Johnson’s un-dead sidekick showing up as a decaying corpse to give his former friend guidance throughout his adventure. Did anyone involved even have a single original idea to contribute, or was the goal just to make something so safe and familiar audiences would feel like they’ve seen it all before.

Worst of all is how badly Cruise, perhaps the greatest modern movie star, is miscast. Playing an amoral soldier of fortune/can’t miss ladies man, Cruise looks like he’s struggling to get a handle on a character that seems like it was written for a guy twenty years younger in the Bradley Cooper/Ryan Gosling-model. The romantic aspect also goes nowhere. While Annabelle Wallis is charming, no sparks whatsoever fly between her and Cruise, despite the fact that when the movie starts they’re already supposed to be sleeping together. He’s simply not convincing as an amoral cad. They needed a Michael Douglas in ROMANCING THE STONE-type, whose motivations aren’t always clear. With Cruise in the part his whole act seems phony. For better or worse, he’s an icon now and has a range. This feels all-wrong.

Matters aren’t helped by the abysmal screenplay, which is padded with too many loose strands meant to build up the shared universe. This takes away any threat that’s supposed to come from Sofia Boutella’s mummy. She’s treated as a throwaway villain meant to establish a certain threat in that universe, and nothing more. Clearly, the Dark Universe gang has studied the Marvel movies, but this suffers from the same problem BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE did, in that they try to jump right into the universe without first establishing any of the characters. Russell Crowe’s Henry Jekyll is set up as their pseudo Nick Fury and the connecting thread between the movies. He seems to be having fun and is a better fit to the universe than Cruise, but his organization is such a clear rip-off of S.H.I.E.L.D, one is embarrassed for everyone involved at how transparent it is.

One thing I will admit is this - I’m a huge Tom Cruise fan, and as such, I hold his films to a higher standard than most. I can’t help it, as he’s such a consistent performer, that anything less than really prime material seems like a waste of his star-power. There’s absolutely no reason Cruise had to be in THE MUMMY, outside of his box office appeal. He gets very little to do, with only the much hyped zero-g sequence (shot in the famous “vomit comet”) and a brief fight with Crowe giving us anything to remember once the credits roll. Too many things are juggled, and everyone, from director Alex Kurtzman on down, would have been better served had Universal been less focused on a franchise that may never happen, and built a really solid film around their star. This is a disposable romp that, and I hate to write this, actually pales next to the ‘99 THE MUMMY, which is a lot better than people give it credit for. At least that was fun. This is just a drag, and a real mess from start-to-finish. This may well be the worst film Cruise has ever done.

Source: JoBlo.com



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