While the 2017 reboot of The Mummy came with a fair amount of fun, thrills and embalmed archaeological kills, it’s not really the film we expected it to be. Instead, it takes the fantastical to the next level, providing more than a few surprises along the way and, unfortunately, not all of them are welcome.
Some of the new storyline works well enough to set things up for Universal Pictures’ Dark Universe series, which will deliver a shared universe for old school monsters from the annals of fantasy horror literature, but you can’t help but feel like it’s taken things a little too far. That doesn’t stop the film from being a bit of a laugh, and something approaching a blast at times, but it does mean that it jumps around more than House of Pain circa 1992.
It starts out on a duff setting with Tom Cruise starring as lead character, military reconnaissance officer with the US army Nick Morten as he heads into deepest darkest Iraq on a mission to find treasure. However, once it gets past the unnecessary guns of Navarro bit, it kind of finds a good enough groove teeing up the discovery of the sarcophagus of Princess Ahmanet, an ancient evil that was buried alive to prevent her from taking over the world. Obviously, she manages to shake free and begins to subject the modern day to her dark will with Nick as her primary focus.
It’s not until the fantastical gets out of bulging hand that things start to get a little wayward. Some of this is a good laugh, and there are more than a few decent moments of comedy in The Mummy, but overall it’s just too far fetched to do some of its literature inspiration justice.
Tom Cruise (Mission Impossible 6) is pretty well practiced in this kind of film and he does as good a job as ever in the lead role, although, there is a little too much mummified cheese to some of his delivery. He’s got a decent supporting cast with Annabelle Wallis putting in a solid shift as fellow relic hunter, Jenny Halsey, and Jake Johnson (Let’s Be Cops) acting as the comedy relief as his buddy and accomplice, Sergeant Chris Vail.
The real star of the show is Sophia Boutella (Star Trek Beyond) who puts in a strong performance as Sofia Boutella as Princess Ahmanet, AKA The Mummy. She’s got great balance, an epic stare, helped along by a little CGI magic with the double eye thing, and slinky movement that works well whether she’s sneaking up for an attack, stalking the streets with evil intent or slinking up to Nick with the lust for power on her mind.
However, the linchpin of the film is Russell Crowe and as soon as you know that he plays Dr. Henry Jekyll/Edward Hyde you can see where the excesses of the film begin. He’s not too bad in the role, in all fairness to him, apart from some overly emphasised narration towards the beginning, but the idea behind his character is one of the reasons that the film begins to fray at the seams.
Visually, the The Mummy (2017) is pretty impressive with great special effects and CGI to look forward to, as you’d expect from a big budget blockbuster. There are even some well composed shots to look out for from a cinematography point of view, which is a credit to director of photography, Ben Serenin (Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen).
Overall, we kind of enjoyed watching The Mummy, but then we really didn’t have high expectations, so there was very little riding on it to disappoint. It’s a little scatter-gun in its progression and introduces way too much fantasy into the mix to be anything more than a bit of fun, but it’s hard to get too mad at director Alex Kurtzman for a film that had the unachievable job of rebooting the original franchise, blurring in references to monster literature and kick-starting the Dark Universe concept.
It flirts with horror references, both serious and comedic, which we liked a lot, but it doesn’t go far enough with it, opting instead for action and fantasy, over thrills and chills. We’re not going to be as scathing as a number of other review scores have been, but it’s hard to give it too much credit.
The Mummy (2017) review: 3/5