The Mummy Dir: Alex Kurtzman

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Starring: Tom Cruise, Annabelle Wallis, Sophia Boutella, Russell Crowe

The Mummy, is directed by writer/director Alex Kurtzman, and is the first instalment in the Universal ‘Dark Universe’ shared cinematic universe of classic movie monsters.

I was truely excited for this film. Tom Cruise in a Mummy film? Hell yes! It had me, and I was prepared to spend my money. I watched all the trailers numerous times and desperately wanted this film to be amazing, and as sad as it is to say. I found myself bored. The Mummy is relentless in it’s pace but it lacks genuine emotion. It attempts to be funny and fails numerous times and the film as a whole suffers from bad writing. It comes across as a muddled mess with no heart or emotional core. At all. It doesn’t know what it wants to be. The tone is all over the place.

The production design, special effects and action sequences are really great which makes it hard to say it is a bad film. But what really sinks this film (again) is the screenplay. It was written by six people. Six…so as a whole it doesn’t really work.

It starts off with an over the top exposition sequence (voice over) from Russell Crowe, which from the very beginning feels out of place. Right from then I was like “uh oh… what’s going on here?”. After the plot is somewhat explained by Uncle Rusty (Russell Crowe) we see Cruise on the back of a horse with his  comedic side-kick Jake Johnson. Its usually quite dangerous having the hero with the jokey funny guy following him around, and without spoiling the film too much, he just gets in the way and gets a little annoying. To make it worse, there’s Annabelle Wallis who plays the classic female in trouble who becomes the overly forced love interest for Mr Cruise. (Just a side-note here, this is rather sad to see after Wonder Woman just opened and proved that a female led and directed film can be hugely successful with both fans, box office and critics.)

Cruise plays a selfish one-dimensional looter. To put it bluntly he’s a bit of a dick. This usually means that if the character starts off at a sufficiently low point, it normally gives the character a bit of room to grow. To be fair, Cruise does his best with the words that were written and he does have somewhat of an arc. But even his best can’t make this film any better.

The film hits the beats you would expect. Especially for a Mummy film. The good looking lead and his kinda goofy side-kick and the attractive English woman discover the tomb, the Mummy awakens, chaos looms, people die and mummy-like zombies kill even more people.

At the 30 minute-ish mark I was hanging in there, something was going to happen. I tried to stay positive after finishing my boysenberry ice-cream. Something was going to make me enjoy this film. After things got really bad for Cruise he encounters Russell Crowe. When he came back on screen I was like “alright here we go” and when he introduced himself as Dr Jekyll I was back in! Then? I was let down. Nothing gripping, exciting or even emotional really happened. Remember how I said this was the first film in the Dark Universe franchise? Well this is where the studio decided to create connective tissue to the future films, and didn’t really bother to progress the story at this point.

After the talking things pick up. Crowe’s transformation into the classic Mr Hyde character was yet another let down. He didn’t get any bigger he was just a stronger alter-ego with a Cockney accent. That’s all! I know that isn’t really a compulsory element but I was truely let down. Crowe’s character was hollow and it’s not surprising when it comes from a script written by six writers who probably never sat in the same room. God knows how many uncredited writers there were too… dun dun dun… After the Jekyll transformation, I ran out of popcorn. I was giving up hope. All seemed lost.

The film continues with those classic beats, the Mummy chases Cruise again, then gets caught, escapes and then there’s a battle with the ‘big bad’ and even then the finale is a little bit flat too.

There’s a lot of exciting action sequences, but they only amount to fun YouTube clips that you could watch on the bus home or something. Sad really. I loved the previous Mummy films. They’re guilty pleasures of mine, especially the first one. They knew what they were, they were light in tone, a little goofy and are somehow memorable films.

Seriously, when you sign on talent like Johnny Depp as the ‘Invisible Man’ and Javier Bardem as ‘Frankenstien’ for this cinematic universe, you get excited. Some of the best talent around is involved so therefore expectation builds. And for me, I was seriously disappointed. Is the film a complete mess? Almost yeah. In summary the film is visually interesting enough to watch, lacks emotional substance and is another example of a Hollywood film that isn’t as good as it could have been because it was more interested in setting up future films in the franchise, than trying to be a good stand-alone film.

If you have nothing to do, and want to get out of the house then maybe go see this. Or go see Wonder Woman (again).

Allan George