Let’s be honest, after recent reviews expectations for The Mummy are low. Despite the fear of wasting money and time, movie-goers may be surprised. The Mummy is not the worse fantasy movie, neither is it the best.
Perhaps The Mummy received such harsh criticism because the lead actor is Tom Cruise as Nick Morton. There are a lot of movie-goers and critics who are over Cruise. It’s understandable. It’s like how underwhelmed some people felt when they found out Ben Affleck was cast as the latest Batman. Batman is out of Affleck’s league.
The question arises why Tom Cruise was cast in a monster movie like The Mummy. Tom Cruise appears to play one role only as an actor, an anti-hero. Not any anti-hero, but an arrogant, smart-mouthed, handsome athletic type who runs really, really fast. That’s who he is as Morton in the The Mummy.
The Mummy is NBC Universal’s attempt to cash in on the latest fandom surge for superhero movies through their Dark Universe franchise. Universal is remaking monster movies from the 1930s and 1940s with anti-hero archetypes. Cult classic monster movies of the past have always been campy, so it’s not like Tom Cruise could ruin The Mummy.
The movie opens with the backstory which involves the Knights of the Templar and Egyptian mythology. Usually the backstory comes later in the movie. Through a convoluted storyline, an Egyptian sarcophagus ends up in London, England. It brought back memories of the 1981 movie An American Werewolf in London. This time it’s “an Egyptian mummy in London”.
Thieving Morton and his military friend Chris Vail, played by Jake Johnson, deal with insurgents in Iraq. Morton, Vail and Morton’s love interest Jenny Halsey, played by Annabelle Wallis, stumble across an Egyptian ancient hellmouth during the insurgence. It’s explained how an Egyptian tomb is in Mesopotamia. Remember, it is explained, but no one said anything about it being believable.
Sofia Boutella, played the Egyptian princess Ahmanet. Her character is the most intriguing. Her story line before she accepts evil into her heart could have been elaborated more. Hopefully, she will be in a sequel so movie-goers will learn more about her backstory.
Russell Crowe’s performance as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is melodramatic. In the 1941 movie version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, starring Spencer Tracy, Mr. Hyde is hairy like an animal. Tracy’s Mr. Hyde is an out of control beast. Crowe’s Hyde looks like someone with facial tattoos gone wrong. Too much of his backstory is given too soon. There is something to be said for leaving a little mystery for movie-goers to come back.
Tom Cruise has a comedic side which was seen in the 2008 movie Tropic Thunder. He brings it with him to The Mummy. Also, Cruise displays an effective frightening side through only the sound of his voice and his silhouette. For a moment, one forgets it’s Tom Cruise.
Criticism of The Mummy is the massive sand storm in London is a bit too much. Also, it’s never explained why there are huge statues and a gigantic carving in the Egyptian tomb in Iraq. That would have taken a great deal of time and labor in a foreign land for a dead out-casted Egyptian princess.
Seasoned sci-fi and fantasy fans might leave the movie theater thinking The Mummy isn’t too bad. Some may even like it since the movie ends on a strong note with a hint of a sequel. And yes, hardcore fans will see the sequel and other Dark Universe movies. Besides, what is there to lose…besides money and time?
- Screenplay Writers: David Koepp, Christopher McQuarrie, Dylan Kussman
- Producers: Alex Kurtzman, Chris Morgan, Sean Daniel, Sarah Bradshaw
- Director: Alex Kurtzman
- Stars: Tom Cruise, Sofia Boutella, Annabelle Wallis, Russell Crowe, Courtney B. Vance, Sean Cameron Michael
- Studio: NBC Universal (Dark Universe)
- Rating: PG-13
- Running Time: 1h 50m
- Genres: Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Mythology
- U.S.A. Premiere: June 9, 2017