Seen June 26th
In 1932, Boris Karloff brought us “The Mummy”, one of the classic Universal movie monsters that reigned for a large part of the early period of cinema between the 20’s and the 50’s
In 1999, Brendan Fraser appeared in “The Mummy”, one of the most enjoyable films of the 90’s and one of the few remakes that is at least as enjoyable at the original.
Then in 2017 Tom Cruise appeared in “The Mummy”… it was a movie.
So officially this movie is the first part of something known as the “Dark Universe” which is basically Universal’s attempt to get a franchise of it’s own, something similar to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In theory this is an interesting idea, an entire cinematic universe made around iconic characters from horror history. It has a good amount of potential in the concept but if every movie is like this one then we are in for a boring ride.
I’m just going to rattle off the positives, they’re few and far between. The sets look amazing. Places like the tombs or Dr Henry Jekyll’s laboratory are wonderfully designed and work perfectly with the mood the film wishes that it had. If nothing else this film knows how to work a set piece to it’s full advantage and it does create some really good shots.
Russell Crowe as Dr. Henry Jekyll might be the best character in this movie when he’s on screen. When he’s just ‘random narrator guy’ at the beginning it’s a little annoying but when he’s actually on screen showing us what Jekyll and Hyde will look like in this universe. I do hope that if they do more movies in this world that they get Crowe back to continue this role because he seemed to get the character perfectly and created the two distinct personalities really well.
Also mild props to Sofia Boutella who takes on Ahmanet (The Mummy) and whenever she’s on screen in the flesh, she does definitely have a presence… most of the time. It’s kinda nice having a female villain to the movie and she does play it well but there are times when her motivation seems kind of weak. She goes from tough strong princess who is pissed that her family betrayed her and so returns the favor (Which is awesome) to a sad character who loved her family even while killing them (Which is stupid).
And that’s where the positives end because everything else is rancid trash. Tom Cruise was hired to look pretty which would be great if that’s all he had to do, unfortunately they decided to make his character an asshole right from the beginning. When I call him an asshole, that’s the polite term. He literally stabs his companions water bottle at the beginning of the movie, effectively forcing the guy to go with Tom’s character on some stupid mission into the middle of a terrorist nest to steal treasure that might not be there. Yes, Brendan Fraser’s character was a bit of an asshole too, but he was at least likeable and Tom really isn’t in this movie.
The story is just average at best. Mummy want’s knife, good guys don’t want mummy to get knife, hallucinations ensue, everyone is stupid. It’s just boring and bland to the point where I genuinely wondered why the hell half of the movie was happening. For an hour and forty-seven minute movie, this felt padded to hell because they were so sure this weak basic story would be enthralling (Spoilers, it’s not)
Whoever did the CGI on this film needs to go learn more things because it looked fake as hell, when you can’t do CGI spiders properly then maybe don’t do them at all. Also don’t put CGI prosthetic’s on someone when you could do it so much better practically, just a handy hint.
Nothing about this film feels engaging. At one point I was sitting and watching a scene where the main characters are in some underground cavern and the next thing I know, they’re underwater. I don’t know if I nodded off or zoned out but I shouldn’t be that bored and disengaged during a giant action sequence.
It’s a boring film with some admittedly great set pieces, but those set pieces mean absolutely nothing if the film you are putting them in is a boring film that doesn’t have anything substantial to grab onto as a viewer. I still have hopes that this Dark Universe idea could work, but this film does not give them a good first impression at all.