FRIDAY NIGHT MOVIE REVIEW: On Friday, I saw 2017’s “The Mummy,” which stars Tom Cruise (Edge of Tomorrow, Oblivion), Russell Crowe (A Beautiful Mind, Gladiator), Annabelle Wallis (Annabelle, X-Men: First Class), Sofia Boutelle (Kingsman: The Secret Service, Star Trek: Beyond), and Jake Johnson (Jurassic World, New Girl [TV series]). It is directed by Alex Kurtzman (People Like Us, New Day [TV series]), while the screenplay was written by David Koepp (Mission: Impossible , Jurassic Park), Christopher McQuarrie (Mission: Impossible- Rogue Nation, The Usual Suspects), and Dylan Kussman (The Steps [TV series], Burn). After discovering a long-lost Egyptian tomb, Nick Morton (Cruise) unleashes a vengeful, possessed princess bent on releasing a dark-spirited being into the modern world through a human vessel. With Morton pegged as her chosen one, he must do all he can to stop her from carrying out her vicious acts on humanity.
We don’t have enough cinematic universes, do we? I don’t think we do. In fact, I think all companies should strive towards the cinematic universe structure; it makes all stories enriching… People, this is starting to get annoying. Yes, I love the MCU (heck, I did a whole marathon around it). However, because of its success, many big name businesses are following suit, and what are the results? Not so good. The DCEU is trash, the LEGO movies were once a smart idea, X-Men is getting tiresome, and Godzilla/King Kong…don’t even get me started. Universal’s monsters has been around for a long time. It was pretty much the first big trend in the film industry before the Western era. I haven’t seen a picture from their cache yet, though I will say I’m inclined to solely for their timeliness. You can’t go wrong with Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi. You can, however, go wrong with resurrecting a film era for the sake of making a cinematic universe. When the first trailers for “The Mummy” surfaced, I admit that I was interested. The Dark Universe seemed like a nice idea; it was like an art house concept, considering the list of actors who’ve signed up and it’s background in general. Obviously, a lot of my interest went to the fact that Tom Cruise headed the franchise, but…yeah, the main reason was Cruise. I think that was Universal’s drawl. Such a shame that they couldn’t bank on their chips though. What I thought would be a fun, thrilling adventure harkening back to the roots of the original Mummy turned into a “let’s set up a franchise” cash grab. Seriously guys, this movie spent more time setting up other releases that it forgot to make itself good. The plot was simple: female mummy looks to resurrect the devil by means of a vessel; escapes her prison with the help of Tom Cruise, who she sees as the next meat suit. It seemed pretty solid, but the overall story couldn’t be more lifeless. There’s so much that was tacked onto the main arc, between Russell Crowe’s Jekyll/Hyde and unnecessary flashback exposition, that it made the film buckle under its own weight. Basically, you can tell how good “The Mummy” will be by its first ten minutes. It’s because in that ten minutes, Russell Crowe narrates the whole set up. Seriously!? We couldn’t just figure it out ourselves? With the amount of times they refer to these flashbacks and repeat all that Crowe said throughout the picture, we could’ve ditched the opening entirely. It was insane how many times I had to listen to the same schpeel about how this Egyptian woman killed her father and his son, while trying to give a vessel to a demon. It ate up too much time, causing our characters to stand around for chunks of time until the next big action piece came. Speaking of action pieces, most of them were exhaustive. There were a few that were awesome (like the plane sequence), but many others came off as your typical Hollywood CGI fest. Tom Cruise running away from a cloud of dust again, him getting tossed like a rag doll to the point where he should’ve died several times, and him fighting handfuls of zombies. The amount of undead he fought became ludicrous after a while, especially since they were all poorly CGI’d.. I hate to pick apart the special effects of new movies. We’ve come so far that this shouldn’t be an issue. However, because “The Mummy” was so reliant on heavy visual effects, everything seemed fake. If the filmmakers took the time to make the zombies actual people and the fight scenes practical, I’m pretty sure we would be in for grittier fights. I could tell that Cruise was punching at the air in this, and him being flung, while funny, made me face-palm. At an hour and fifty minutes, “The Mummy” could’ve been trimmed down to an hour and ten. A lot of the viewing experience revolved around setting up a cinematic universe, and as a result the singular story suffered. All character development was hollow as well as the plot devices. The writers couldn’t figure Cruise’s character the most, as he teetered between a jerk and nice guy so much that he became a caricature. The acting was alright, but while I enjoy Tom Cruise, I couldn’t help but be left disappointed with this latest entry. It’s not an atrocity like I’m making it out to be. There are some entertaining moments, and I can see this universe improving. The overall product itself was just too mindless for what the writers wanted it to be. If they want the Dark Universe to succeed, they need to make their movies as if they aren’t trying to tie them into something. Subtext is where the hints will fit best, not exposition given by Russell Crowe. In the end, “The Mummy” was a disappointing picture that, while holding some promise and entertaining moments, missed the mark of what Universal was hoping for. FINAL SCORE: 61%= Burnt Popcorn
Here is the trailer: