Could the reviews have possibly been right about this one? Is The Mummy really one of the worst summer blockbusters of all-time along with being the worst Tom Cruise movie ever? This movie has taken a pounding from critics and it is in yours truly’s opinion that it is absolutely deserved. This is one absolute mess of a film. And why was it? It could’ve been fun much like the 1999 version of The Mummy starring Brendan Fraser that was at least goofy enough to never be boring nor did it ever take itself too seriously. There was a clear villain, a fairly simple plotline and a likeable action hero with some funny little banter along the way.
That is not the case here. Even though Tom Cruise makes for an affable lead as he generally does with these types of films, it is all for naught. All we really know about Cruise is that he likes to steal stuff and that is how we end up with him and his adventure buddy discovering the tomb containing an ancient Egyptian princess who, we learn, had murdered her own father, his wife and their young child so that she could be next in line to be the ruler of Egypt. Cruiser forms some sort of bond with the mummy, becomes cursed and spends the rest of the film being drawn to her by this vague affliction. Sofia Boutella plays the mummy in question and does what she can under all those layers of makeup and prosthetics but it doesn’t amount to much. There are also uninspired performances from Russell Crowe (as Dr. Henry Jekyll… yep), Annabelle Wallis as the sort-of love interest (with literally ZERO chemistry alongside Cruise) and the supposed best friend character played by Jake Johnson doing some kind of bobo impression of American Werewolf in London.
This is, above all else, one stupid movie. This is a movie that features a title card reading “Mesopotamia, the Cradle of Civilization. Currently known as Iraq.” For a film to have that little faith in its audience’s intelligence is spellbinding. It’s not like the rest of the film is all that complex either. The plot involves Cruise and his would-be girlfriend running from a mummy and then dealing with a research organization run by Dr. Jekyll in what is a really strange way to introduce that particular character. The Dark Universe seems to be taking a cue from Marvel by way of introducing future characters as supporting characters first before expanding on them later but allow me to remind Universal that you still have to make those characters interesting in some way for us to even care if we ever see them again.
While the plot is all kinds of bananas, this is where a more straight-forward action movie in the desert would have worked a lot better. The fight scenes are a terrible mess of CGI and ADD-style editing that don’t create any sort of excitment or enjoyment factor for the movie at all. If anything, the action scenes take away from the action movie. The pacing is all over the place with the first chunk of the movie flying by (even though it is awful) and then a super-long scene where Russell Crowe is just endlessly droning on while the mummy is temporarily captured and locked up. The tone is “fifty shades of f*cked up too. The film is never sure if it wants to be a cheesy action movie, an adventure/fantasy epic or some kind of horror film.
The only reason that this film is not getting a rock-bottom rating is for one exhilarating scene on an airplane. The way in which Cruise is shot while waiting for the plane to land with the window in the foreground is undeniably innovative and it gave me hope that things would start to look up but alas, it was not to be.
This has got to be one of the biggest disappointments of the summer. Good luck with that whole Dark Universe thing, Univeral Studios.
Less than * (Actively offensive to one’s intelligence)
* (Brutal; bottom-of-the-barrel)
** (Some elements keep it from being awful but still not very good)
*** (Completely watchable; a rental as old-timers might say)
**** (Great film with a few things here and there keeping it from being perfect)
***** (Flawless; a true achievement)