Universal Studios have been considering rebooting their monsters franchise for a while and so with Tom Cruise on-board, The Mummy had their man and plans to bring us back their classic set with huge possibilities. So how have they got along? Well, while the film has very fun and inventive moments, it also suffers with predictability but maybe, for arguments sake, sometimes that’s the type of film we need, even if it is a bit of mishmash of good stuff the with a right old splatter of misguided mess.
Director Alex Kurtzman has stepped up for only his second feature and teamed up with five different people between the story and screenplay, himself included, and it really does show as David Koepp, Christopher McQuarrie, Dylan Kussman, Jon Spaihts, and Jenny Lumet all have a part to play, so you really do wonder if there were too many ideas being thrown into a melting pot of over-eagerness.
At the base level, and my vagueness is purposeful, Cruise’s Nick and Jake Johnson’s Chris are some kind of looter-army guys who accidentally find a tomb of an ancient Egyptian princess after they’re on the hunt for ‘treasure’. It’s an entertaining being shot at/chase sequence that leads up to these early proceedings but you don’t really get much background on their characters beyond the fact they’re trying to find riches, when they should be fighting for something. It’s an odd setup but gets forgotten quite quickly because it’s all so farcical and it’s Cruise, so it’s forgivable.
Alongside Annabelle Wallis’ Jenny, some kind of Scientist that’s only really suggested in a sequence where she describes what’s going on and therefore highlights her knowledge is far better than the boys, they take the crypt out of old Mesopotamia and start to fly it back somewhere else to be examined. But the ancient Princess isn’t happy to have been awoken, and along with a lot of evil spiders, birds and strong winds, she helps crash the plane into England and thus, the rebirth commences.
The relaunch of the Mummy ‘as a woman’ isn’t even a concern, it’s done really nicely with Sofia Boutella taking on the coveted role but, disappointingly, she’s under-used and instead finds herself being literally kept in captivity by Russell Crowe’s interesting Dr Henry Jekyll, which nearly becomes funny when he takes on his alternate character ‘accent’. Cruise is always on form and brings as much life to Nick as he possibly can, as does Wallis with Jennifer. As in Jurassic World, Johnson brings that element of comic relief and it’s welcomed, even if it turns up in odd places from time-to-time. It seems that Kurtzman has allowed the act of ‘suspending disbelief’ beyond narrative focus as well, and that’s the real disappointing element.
But The Mummy does have redeemable features and this is where there’s deserved praise for the action sequences. I feel like we have Cruise and McQuarrie to thank for those big moments which include an epic zero-gravity plane crash, some fun and brutal fight sequences (who’d a thought getting your foot stuck in a skeleton would be so brilliant?), Cruise through a London bus and another impressive underwater scene in a vital moment, where the visuals are really striking. If Universal were hoping for a big hitter on their return to the Universal Monsters, they haven’t quite hit the mark but if you’re after some old-fashioned popcorn adventure, then this just hits the spot.
The Mummy is out on Blu-ray, digital download and DVD now – Order here: http://amzn.to/2z3QNAR