Tom Cruise resembles the adversary he is pitted against in this movie. Both the titular Mummy and Cruise look great for their age. I wonder what the secret of his youthful complexion is? Perhaps it is exercise, as the protagonist spends a large portion of this film sprinting. What happened to the days when heroes battled against evil rather than flee from it? One of the many things that I didn’t like about The Mummy is that the lead runs away from his problems, and in the end only triumphs due to a power he didn’t earn. Oh well, at least the trials he faced did at least transform him from a selfish prick into someone who is willing to sacrifice himself for others.
Nick Morton is a US soldier who is currently based in the Middle East. His orders are to patrol the region and search for insurgents. Rather than dutifully follow his mission however, he uses the role as an excuse to raid local tombs for antiquities. His latest discovery is a crypt that houses the remains of an Egyptian princess. Whilst exploring the catacomb, for treasure, he inadvertently liberates said royal from her sarcophagus prison and ends up getting cursed to boot. To spare the world from a force more wicked than Scientology, Nick allies himself with a clandestine group of UK based monster hunters. Together they must prevent the female Mummy from completing a ritual that will summon the god of death.
Given that The Mummy is being used to launch Universal’s Dark Universe (think Marvel’s cinematic universe, only with monsters instead of superheroes) the film is rich with shoehorned references to other creatures. Prodigium, the group of monster slayers mentioned above, owns a warehouse whose inventory contains an assortment of vampire skulls for example. A chap named Dr Jekyll, who is played by a pudgy Russell Crowe, also happens to lead the organization. I presume that Crowe’s weight gain can be attributed to the fact that scenery is high in calories. He chews the scenery whenever onscreen. This performance will make you wonder how he ever won an Academy Award.
My rating for The Mummy is two stars. It feels like something designed by committee, were Universal execs drew up a checklist of things they should include to mimic Marvel’s success. As a result what we get isn’t a scary horror movie, but a film packed with action and humour. It’s a formula that worked for Brendan Fraser in 1999. This time however the whole thing falls flat. None of the gags are funny and the fight/chase scenes bored me. I also thought that Tom Cruise was disappointing. He is charismatic in real life, but didn’t show much of that here. Not good when you are meant to be portraying a likable rogue. Cruise also didn’t have much chemistry with onscreen love interest Annabelle Wallis, so I couldn’t buy the moments when Nick Morton risks his life for her sake.
Another complaint I have is with the villain. Princess Ahmanet, the Mummy, is just a generic baddie who was buried alive as punishment for an attempt to usurp the throne. Years later, when resurrected, she is driven by the cliché motivations of power and immortality. The Mummy starts off looking rather creepy, but as she drains the life force of others she morphs from a cadaver to sexy Sofia Boutella… who I would rather ogle than fear. Based on this showing, the future Dark Universe team up will resemble League of Extraordinary Gentlemen rather than the Avengers. Don’t spend a dime on this DVD. From what I hear, the cash would be better invested in WayForward’s Mummy Demastered – a rare example of a decent movie based console game.