The Mummy (2017) Review


By: Justin Jasso (@jjasso007)

Summer blockbuster season is, let’s just say it, officially here. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, Wonder Woman, even Alien: Covenant: all in theaters, all big budget films, almost all sequels. Yet, in my opinion, there has been nothing super amazing that I needed to rush out and see, then come back to review. But as the weeks pass, more and more blockbusters will be released, and this week is no exception.

Show of hands: does anyone remember the old Brendan Fraser (whatever happened to him??) film The Mummy? Well, after three films and a bunch of spin-offs about the Scorpion King later, we actually have a reboot to the series on our hands! With only his second feature film, director Alex Kurtzman takes the helm of the remake, which stars Tom Cruise and Sofia Boutella.

Nick Morton (Cruise), soldier by trade, and behind the scenes Soldier of Fortune, has been in the military enough to know there’s more money to be made on the side in ancient artifacts. Thus, he and co-soldier Chris Vail (Jake Johnson) are always on the lookout for something worth selling. While in the middle of a war zone, they are dropped into an old tomb, to which archaeologist Jenny Halsey (Annabelle Wallis) is called in to investigate. What they find is a tomb with a sarcophagus that appears not to be trying to keep outsiders out, but to keep whatever was in the tomb in. But Nick knows money is quickly drifting away and finds a way to remove the sarcophagus – for further analysis, of course. Little do they know they are now releasing one of the greatest evils to hit modern times when Princess Ahmanet (Boutella) slowly begins to regain her power. It’ll be up to Nick, along with the help of an unlikely team, to stop Ahmanet from destroying the world and bringing her ultimate plan to fruition. Guns and military tactics should work on the undead, right?

The Mummy is a fresh remake to the series, with zero attachments to the previous installments. Bringing along Cruise, known for being a good action star, definitely adds clout to a series that has had a following since original Mummy film from back in the black and white film era. One thing that the film tries to do – and doesn’t succeed at – is to be overly ambitious. What I mean by that is that the film feels like it is two or three movies all squished into one. Remember the last Spider-Man film starring Tobey Maguire that had Venom, Sandman, and New Goblin as bad guys? Well, this sort of has that feeling to it. The movie moves along at a good pace with plenty of action sequences and wonderful CGI. However, around two-thirds of the way through the film, there is a major twist that propels the story in a different direction from where it was initially headed. It feels as if the main focus of the story was done and they decided to keep it moving with a new arc based upon the foundation it laid earlier in the film, setting up future sequels. And while it is fun the whole time, less slapstick-y than the Brendan Fraser series, but still has plenty of laughs and good times, it feels very disjointed at that two-thirds mark in the film. You also get a sense that Universal is following through on their attempt to remake the old monster genre with other spin-off films starring other villains.

So what do I mean by that? For one thing, Russell Crowe is also in the film (as I’m sure you’ve seen in trailers), as Dr. Henry Jekyll…yeah, THAT Jekyll. Now what would Dr. Jekyll be doing in a film about a Mummy? Great question. The honest answer: he’s there to promote the character as a way to bring his own film around In the future. Now, that’s not to say he doesn’t add something to the story, because he does, and his character plays a part in a major plot point, but he didn’t NEED to be there. And not to sound like I’m knocking Crowe, as he fits the role and delivers where he needs, but the character could have been anyone else. Cruise, some may say, wasn’t the right pick for his role, but he is known for being able to bring some levity and change of pace to action comedies. Now this is an action adventure film outright, with some comedic elements, and Cruise’s ability to deliver subtle hilarious moments is great. After this major plot point I just referred to happens, I’m not sure how I feel about his character going forward into sequels, nor do I think it will be as successful…time will tell. Wallis brings a confident, feisty, and ready-to-get-her-hands-dirty flair to the archaeologist role. Is she a female version of Indiana Jones? No. But she can probably still hold her own against the non-undead. Johnson takes on the side kick role, as he’s there for a couple of good laughs, and Boutella is pretty one dimensional in her role as the Mummy.

Thus far, the “blockbuster” season has started off pretty light with Wonder Woman taking the early shot for the summer blockbuster crown, and I don’t think The Mummy is going to do anything to dethrone Diana from her superhero glory. The Mummy just suffers from trying to do too much in one film. It’s good to have that gusto and determination to make an epic film, but you have to know when enough is enough and to save material for future films while focusing your plot to make a film that is cohesive and precise. There is plenty of action, laughs, and great CGI, but the overall story tends to hurt itself. This mummy was resurrected; it just didn’t gain all of its power.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

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