Sunday, June 11, 2017

Movie Review: The Mummy (2017)

Digging up an old franchise and kicking off a new Dark Universe, the Mummy had a lot on its undead shoulders but looks to have failed the task. The film starts off at a rushed past quickly giving us a back story from Dr. Henry Jeckyll (Russell Crowe) and a brief backstory of Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella). The movie jumps to Nick Morton (Tom Cruise) and his partner Chris Vail (Jake Johnson) searching for artifacts and killing faceless insurgents before calling in an airstrike that unearths the burial place of the mummy. They continue to accelerate the pace not taking any sort of precautions as Jenny Halsey (Annabelle Wallis) explains everything and they belay down into a cave where the mummy is being stored in mercury. Director Alex Kurtzman has no time for procedure moving rapidly onto the next set piece.

They move the sarcophagus to the plane and take off ahead of a sandstorm. Chris becomes possessed from a spider bite and kills an underused Colonel Greenway (Courtney B. Vance). The zero gravity scene has Jenny parachuting away as Nick goes down with the plane. He wakes up in the morgue wondering why he's still alive and unharmed. In a brief moment of horror, Ahmanet gathers up an army of each investigator of the plane crash. Jenny contacts Dr. Jekyll but first Nick wants to find Ahmanet's body so that he can convince himself he's not cursed. He keeps seeing a dead Chris talking to him about what Ahmanet wants.

They head to a church where Nick is nearly sacrificed by a steadily recovering Ahmanet but the knife is missing a ruby that was shown being buried at the beginning. She won't be able to sacrifice Nick without it. The army of undead chase Nick and Jenny but Nick keeps turning around wanting to go to Ahmanet. The Prodigium crew capture Ahmanet and bring her to the headquarters. There is lots of exposition from Dr. Jekyll as he struggles to keep Mr. Hyde in check. When Mr. Hyde does show up, it's disappointing. The mysterious group wants to sacrifice Nick to study the evil creation but it all goes bad when Ahmanet escapes.

There is more action but the chases are nothing specials as the Mummy raises the sands of Egypt in the iconic scene, except much less so. The physics are all off but the Tom Cruise running is moderately entertaining. The final scene was a bit ridiculous and tries to set up a bigger picture with Nick getting special powers from the sacrifice and Jenny insisting that he is a great guy for the sacrifice. The action is decent at times and the special effects certainly look like they had a decent budget, but the failure of this film could put the breaks on the Dark Universe.

I would have appreciated a more horror film take than another action adventure. Cruise tries his best to add some humor but he's usual charisma is missing and his chemistry with Wallis is nonexistent. Boutella does her best in the role as the mummy and I would have liked to have seen more of it. If they do bring something from this film to a larger universe, I hope it's her, not Cruise. The insistence on the universe before a successful film has led to several false starts, even this universe failed before, and we may get a repeated series of films that attempt to start it and fail. I look forward to a better iteration of this idea sometime in the future.

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