The Mummy movie review: The weirdest superhero origin story ever told
When The Mummy released, almost 20 years ago, it made the most of the fledgling CGI available at the time, blending it with some quirky performances from Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz to deliver a thorough entertainer. While the movie never enjoyed major critical success, it was a commercial success owing largely to the fact it didn't take itself too seriously.
2017’s The Mummy looks to leverage the fan base of the original, coupled with a more gritty aesthetic. Done right, it could have been an enjoyable enough flick. However, while this reboot may be high on action, it's low on entertainment.
The movie, desperate to recreate elements of the original, can't seem to decide what it is meant to be - action, supernatural horror, or comedy. As a result, it ends up being nothing. Well, nothing good anyway. A clear lack of direction and some ridiculous scripting leads to a film whose first half is a supernatural horror flick, something the characters are unaware of, and a second half that is, quite possibly, the most ludicrous superhero origin story of all time. Throw in a secret society, and Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, and you have the recipe for a real turd of a film.
The movie begins with an introduction to the film's villain, Aminet (), the daughter of a pharaoh who goes rogue and murders her family after using dark magic to invoke Set, the Egyptian god of death. Immediately after this, she tries to bring Set to life using a magical dagger and a human sacrifice, but is foiled by temple guards who, for some reason, didn't care enough to save the king. Or his wife. Or the heir to their throne. Still, the movie would have you believe they arrived just in time.
What follows is Aminet being buried alive in Iraq, where she lies rotting in an elaborate tomb for all of eternity. Or at least that was the plan. Unfortunately, the plan didn't account for Nick Morton (Tom Cruise), a soldier desperate to steal and sell antiquities on the black market.
His thieving ways lead him to steal a map from the beautiful Jenny Halsey (Annabelle Wallis). Using the map, Morton finds Aminet's tomb and ends up cursed to be Aminet’s human sacrifice as she attempts to finish what she started -- reincarnating Set.
Almost as soon as they try and move Aminet's sarcophagus, things start to go south, leading to the deaths of most of the finding party and the release of Aminet. With only Morton and Halsey left alive, they have no choice but to find and stop Aminet before she brings Set back. They are aided in their quest by a mysterious organisation with an eccentric leader (Russell Crowe) who also want to destroy both Aminet and Set.
The movie's failings
Mummy flicks are fairly simple fare. 1) Evil Egyptian is mummified 2) Explorers find Mummy 3) Mummy turns out to be cursed 4) Mummy comes back for revenge 5) Hero defeats Mummy. And The Mummy follows these basic pointers too. However, it's how the movie moves from one trope to the next that makes it absolutely unwatchable.
For example, Nick Morton doesn't just find the tomb. He finds it after calling in an airstrike on a village. An airstrike that unveils the tomb beautifully, while not destroying a thing.
Morton's friend, who was with him when the tomb is discovered, gets bitten by a spider and turns into a zombie. A zombie who haunts him with poor advice throughout the movie. But one he follows unfailingly despite the zombie ghost telling him that he's doing this for Aminet.
The plane they are returning from Iraq on crashes. Morton survives without a scratch. Yes, he's cursed, but curses don't protect people from certain death.
Morton and Halsey are aided by a secret organisation, but the organisation is headed by Dr Jekyll/Mr Hyde.
The climax is also bizarre, leading one to believe that the directors intend to push a Tom Cruise-starring Egyptian superhero movie in the near future. It is ridiculous decisions like these that doom the movie.
The acting is also nothing to write home about. Wallis is decent in the little screen time she has, and Boutella as the sexy, creepy Mummy is also alright in her limited role. Russell Crowe is doomed by the sheer stupidity of his role, but Tom Cruise is the worst of the lot. Not playing a super spy like in Mission Impossible, he comes across as weak, unintelligent and unfunny in his attempts to fill Brendan Fraser's shoes.
Should you watch it?
Absolutely not. The movie mocks the intelligence of its audience, with some people in the theatre even choosing to leave halfway. I only stayed because I had to review it, a decision I regret still.