Another Mummy film, why not at this point?
Synopsis: An ancient princess is awakened from her crypt beneath the desert, bringing with her malevolence grown over millennia, and terrors that defy human comprehension. (IMDB)
Starring: Tom Cruise, Annabelle Wallis, and Sofia Boutella
Writers: David Koepp, Christopher McQuarrie, and Dylan Kussman
Director: Alex Kurtzman
Running Time: 110mins
This film was meant to serve as the start of Universal’s Dark Universe series featuring reimagined takes on classic film monsters. This is worthy endeavour whose success obviously remains to be seen but with this comes the usual universe building tropes which only bog down this film further. It is called The Mummy after all so the mummy in question is a princess named Ahmanet (Boutella) whose story doesn’t matter that much in the grand scheme of things but it is clear that her intentions were not the best.
There was absolutely nothing original about this film at all, subject matter aside, but the worst part about the film was that it seemed like the filmmakers haphazardly threw standard blockbuster elements at us without care, beit action, special effects, comedy to break up the seriousness, etc, thinking that it would result in another blockbuster. While some may be entertained by this alone, these pieces did not fit together at all. Those expecting a “mummy” film may be disappointed as it barely anything to do with a mummy and was more of a below-average action film.
The production values almost didn’t matter since what was on screen was both lazy and uninspired. The forced comedy didn’t work with the worst coming from the unnecessary role of main character Nick Morton’s (Tom Cruise) best friend Chris Vail (Jack Johnson). What didn’t help either was that the tone was all over the place, but it didn’t work as there was no flow to any of it as was all awkward. The tone was all over the place and the story was as well with little time devoted towards character development. The characters for the most part were not worth caring about with the worst being Morton.
There was something about Cruise that didn’t work here, looking out of place for the majority of the film. The writing was pretty bad which doesn’t always spell the end for a film but it just seemed like he didn’t give much of an effort here, mostly sleepwalking through it. His presence was more of a distraction with the film becoming another action vehicle for him that doesn’t even come close to his other, better, action films. This was the same with Russell Crowe as Dr. Henry Jekyll (yes that Dr. Jekyll). In setting up the movie universe, he was an exposition machine, making the connection between this film and the future films in the universe. He did not do much more than this but it seemed like he sleepwalked through this as well.
There was still a mummy here and Boutella was decent as Ahmanet but her performance was more CGI than anything else. Another big problem with the film was the lack of chemistry between any of the actors, making all their relationships feel forced with the worst being between Morton and Jenny Halsey (Wallis) and Morton and Vail. This made an already boring film more of a chore to watch.
Overall, this was a lazy and boring mess of a film, full of unoriginal, poorly executed elements that simply did not work together. Not even the performances from the sleepwalking Tom Cruise or Russell Crowe could save the bad writing. Definitely not a good start to the Dark Universe.
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