REVIEW: “The Mummy” (2017)

mummy poster

One of the most popular (and priciest) trends in today’s movie culture is the shared cinematic universe. Easily the biggest belongs to Marvel Studios. DC Films is following behind them. And then outside of the superhero genre you have 2014’s “Godzilla” and this year’s  “Kong: Skull Island”, the first two films in Legendary’s MonsterVerse.

The more recent entry into this craze comes from Universal Pictures. It’s called the Dark Universe and it’s meant to be a shared-world revitalization of the classic Universal monsters. Some couldn’t care less. As a fan of those great oldies I was anxious to see what they would come up with.

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“The Mummy” is the first film to get the reboot treatment and serves as the launching point for the Dark Universe. It’s essentially an origin story but one that doesn’t resemble either the Boris Karloff classic or the more fun-loving Brendan Fraser films. It’s definitely its own thing but defining it beyond that isn’t that easy. Is it an action movie? Is it a horror movie? Is it a Tom Cruise vehicle? Yes to each but especially the third.

Cruise is clearly the centerpiece which works for and against the film. I still like him as an actor and he brings an unquestionable star power to the movie. On the other hand maintaining that star power sometimes outshines everything else. His character resembles roles he has played variations of in other films and he is intent to stick with that type. So much so that when this particular character flirts with some interesting new directions he never goes all the way.

After an obligatory prologue the film introduces us to Cruise’s character Nick. He’s a sergeant with the U.S. military who has a side gig as a soldier of fortune. He and his stereotypical sidekick (played by Jake Johnson) nab artifacts and sell them on the black market. While in Iraq the two stumble across the ancient tomb of Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella), an Egyptian princess who sold her soul to Set, the God of Death (see the aforementioned obligatory prologue). They extract the sarcophagus with the help of Jennifer Halsey (Annabelle Wallis) a spirited archeologist and Cruise love interest.

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As you can guess they manage to release Ahmanet (aka the Mummy) and computer-generated death and destruction follow. Nick becomes her conduit, Russell Crowe pops up as Dr. Henry Jekyll, Cruise gets a running scene, and a not-so-likely sequel is set up. Here’s the thing, in between that titillating synopsis are moments of good ol’ corny fun. And there are a couple of action sequences that are pretty exciting. But there is just as much that doesn’t work – the goofy humor, a bad ‘return from the dead’ angle inspired by “An American Werewolf in London”, and any attempt at romantic tension.

In the end “The Mummy” is a generic middle-of-the-road movie. I don’t think it’s as bad as many critics say and it’s certainly not as good as a studio would want. It simply has no true identity. It’s all over the map in terms of tone and quality. With big names already signed up for Dark Universe installments – Javier Bardem’s Frankenstein, Johnny Depp’s The Invisible Man, Angelina Jolie’s (rumored) Bride of Frankenstein – it’s clear Universal has big plans. You would think the franchise launching point would be given a little more attention.

VERDICT – 2.5 STARS

2-5-stars

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36 thoughts on “REVIEW: “The Mummy” (2017)

  1. I’m with you, Keith. The hardest thing about watching this movie was figuring out what kind of movie I was watching. It had an identity crisis which took away from the overall experience. This is a movie where individually the parts are good, but together they don’t add up. Great review!

    • I love your last sentence. That really does sum it up well. I find myself frustrated at this movie because there is such potential there for a shared universe. It’s going to be very interesting to watch their next steps.

  2. This is one of those movies that I have a feeling I’m going to enjoy after a blind buy on blu ray. Missed it in theaters and had absolutely no expectations whatsoever. Sometimes I don’t mind a middle of the pack film.

    • I agree. I can go for those too. This one is a bit frustrating. It’s all over the place in terms of what it wants to be. I think it became too much of a ‘Tom Cruise movie’ which undercut its potential.

  3. It’s likely that I’ll take a glimpse into it on TV but I don’t think it will be very good. Plus, I really don’t like Tom Cruise. He does the same old shit pretending to be 20-30 years younger than he really is. Fuck him and his pathetic god Xenu.

    • It’s frustrating. I was really hoping they would pull this off. It’s not the worst movie but it should’ve been so much better. There are some things in place there that had a lot of potential. Here’s hoping they nail the second movie and get it back on track.

  4. I haven’t seen this and to be honest, I’m just not interested. It didn’t look good, so after reading loads of reviews, I definitely will be giving it a miss.

    • Here’s the thing, your reaction is completely justified. The movie does nothing to win over skeptics. And it’s such a shame. This is not how you want to kick off a franchise.

    • Absolutely. I’ve been hard on it in the comments mainly out of frustration. But yes, still see it. It’s not a horrible movie. Just a really messy one. And you can see the potential right there on the screen!

  5. Good Review.. and yeah..I really didn’t like it very much. ha! Also good point on the shared universe.. hopefully Universal will step it up a big notch on the next one and reclaim their former glory of it’s heydays!!

  6. You would think, wouldn’t you? This seems like such a tenuous start for the (dun…dun….dunnnnn…) Dark Universe. I can’t say I’m at all interested unfortunately. Though I am curious as to how they crowbar in the ‘American Werewolf’ reference. That’s something I totally didn’t expect to read about!

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