I have to admit that I secretly hoped the new Universal monster movie, The Mummy, would be dead on arrival – just so I could say it was a “Messopotamia” – but, alas, it turned out to be a very fine and fun adventure film; so, darn it, I’ll have to use my snarky word play for another day.
This film marks the first effort in Universal Studios planned “Dark Universe,” where their classic monster franchises (i.e. Frankenstein, Wolf Man and Dracula) are going to be updated and tied together in the same cinematic world. Never mind that Showtime’s Penny Dreadful series has already done this (not to mention the old Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein movie.)
I’m excited about the studio’s planned reboots and The Mummy is a nice kick-off for that potential monster mash-up. It has over-the-top action sequences, a lot of sly humor, some edge-of-your-seat intensity, and the sexiest Mummy since… well… Sofia Boutella plays the only sexy Mummy in my memory – but that’s a good thing.
Tom Cruise plays Nick Morton, and advance reconnaissance soldier of some type who, together with his partner, Chris (Jake Johnson), have been taking advantage of the Middle-East unrest by padding their pockets with priceless, ancient antiquities.
The two thieves stumble across the burial tomb of the evil Princess Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella – whom you might recognize from Kingsman: The Secret Service and Star Trek Beyond), and they are joined by archeologist, Jenny Halsey (Annabelle Wallis), in robbing the grave site.
It doesn’t take long for chaos from the crypt to follow the not-so-honorable heroes back to London, where they meet Dr. Henry Jekyll (Russell Crowe), of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde fame, who, in this universe, runs a paranormal research facility, a la Hellboy’s B.P.R.D. (Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense.)
And Hellboy isn’t the only film that The Mummy borrows from; it is wrapped in tropes lifted from movies as varied as An American Werewolf in London, Pirates of the Caribbean, Constantine, Evil Dead, the previous Mummy films, and Cruise’s own Mission Impossible franchise.
Nevertheless, despite not really having an original bone in its body, director Alex Kurtzman and writers David Koepp and Christopher McQuarrie have made The Mummy into a patchwork film that, like its cinematic ancestors, goes perfectly with Saturday morning popcorn munching. Grade: 7.5/10
Photos © 2017 Universal Pictures