First it was Baywatch and now it’s The Mummy feeling the wrath of the sharp tongued critics so off I went to my local cinema with an open mind and actually rather excited about seeing a Universal Monsters movie as it’s been so long since i’ve seen one.
The Mummy kicks off the brand new Universal Monster universe with a unique take, a different perspective and something that is compelling yet confusing at the same time. Whilst I throughly enjoyed this initial instalment, The Mummy really needed to make up it’s mind on what genre of movie it actually was. There were enough genre’s in this movie to fit numerous canopic jars throughout it’s two hour runtime. Mixing a psychological aspect with a Horror twist and throwing in some comedy and thriller aspects along the way, pop them all in a pot, wrap some bandages around it and taadaa. We have The Mummy.
Sofia Boutella stars as Princess Ahmanet. Once in line to the throne of Egypt her father ended up producing a son and thus poor Princess Ahmanet’s dreams of ruling Egypt were destroyed. Taking the over dramatic cinematic approach Princess Ahmanet makes a pact with the god of death and slays all those in her wake. This betrayal leads her to be mummified alive and entombed 1000 miles from Egypt as the film fast forwards to modern day. Sofia Boutella puts in a solid performance throughout as she delivers her scenes with equal parts terror, ease and grace. Is it wrong that I still thought she was breathtakingly beautiful even when most of her human features hadn’t fully formed yet? I have issues.
Nick (Tom Cruise) and Chris (Jake Johnson) star as reconnaissance soldiers who upon an encounter with insurgents stumble upon Princess Ahmanet’s tomb along with Jenny (Annabelle Wallis) an archaeologist. Our newfound tomb raiders don’t realise exactly what’s inside and in true movie fashion, the evil is unleashed and the terror begins.
Nick and Chris bring a great comedic balance to proceedings reminiscent of the cheesy Brendan Fraser Mummy movies. It adds a nice balance for the opening portion of the movie, but as the film progresses the comedy withers away with good reason and it starts to take a more serious tone. I actually enjoyed the more serious tone the movie took, I mean I loved the old Brendan Fraser movies (which this film will be compared to heavily) but it was nice to take a step back from those awfully timed jokes and for the most part enjoy a darker, more sinister tale.
Russell Crowe also stars in the movie as the head of an organisation, but I don’t really want to go into that spoiler. But never the less his character lays the groundwork of extension for further Universal Monster movies. I didn’t think it was necessary to add his particular character into this movie. It just wasn’t needed and almost took on a Marvel style approach where characters are purely added just to promote further sequels or spin-off’s. With Russell’s character, it all felt forced and this ruined the film for me. The original story felt like the much better choice and adding this curveball to proceedings ruined everything I had seen before it. Never the less I still enjoyed the movie and will look past this rather disappointing addition that even Tom Cruise looked confused to be a part of during his scenes.
Incredible production design and beautiful set design with some really cool action scenes make The Mummy a hard film to review. For what it is, it’s a great first instalment (aside from the issues in the paragraph above) it just needed to be more focused on what kind of genre it wanted to be. If the Universal Classic Monsters series is to continue it needs to step up it’s game and link with other titles more subtly rather than over forcing them and literally dragging the film down whilst ramming future titles down my throat.
At the end of the day The Mummy is a speedy, smooth and interesting movie and whilst it doesn’t always get it right, it’s a good watch and a taster of things to come. But hopefully it’s a starter towards a main course and not the other way around.
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