Continuing the trend of watching movies that are performing horribly according to critics, I saw The Mummy. Not to be confused with Brendan Fraser’s version that is now 18 years old, Tom Cruise’s version is the first entry to Universal’s Dark Universe franchise. Currently it is sitting at 26% on Rotten Tomatoes, which is not looking good for their future. They have booked Javier Bardem to star as Frankenstein (in both Bride of Frankenstein and Frankenstein) and Johnny Depp as the Invisible Man already while courting several other big names for some other famous monster movie revivals, so hopefully it does well. It will likely head down a similar path of Warner Bro’s Monster Verse since Godzilla and King Kong did not make a lot of money, except these seem like they will make money despite poor reviews … both still have a lot of sequels planned.
I would say The Mummy gets 7 “Egyptian kisses suck” out of 10.
FOR THE UNITIATED
We start out back in ancient Egypt with Princess Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella) training to be the best pharoah she can be until her father gives birth to a son. Knowing that she will have to take any power she wants, she studied dark magic and decided to bring Set (Egyptian god of death) to the mortal realm. She was stopped and mummified alive far away from Egypt.
Flash forward to modern day, Nick (Tom Cruise) and Chris (Jake Johnson) are looking for a buried treasure in Iraq. Instead they stumble upon a mythical cursed tomb of the princess erased from history according to the resident historian Jenny (Annabelle Wallis) before unleashing the evil it contained. Jenny’s boss, Dr. Jekyll (Russell Crowe) calls them back to London for research. He heads up a Prodigium which is a secret society that hunts down evil supernatural threats. They discover Princess Ahmanet has chosen Nick to bring Set into the mortal world and give him the choice of finding a way to destroy the evil or be destroyed.
The cheese factor in this movie can be a little overpowering, but it adds to the charm. It makes The Mummy feel like a big budget B level horror movie, and in my opinion works. That is what makes the movie fun and enjoyable while keeping it moving along at a great pace. At times it feels like Brendan Fraser’s version just a bit darker. Tom Cruise gets to play a quick witted selfish lover who is not always the smartest guy in the room, which is a welcome change of pace from the protagonist never being wrong. Russell Crowe gets to have fun with his role, especially when we get to Mr. Hyde and his thirst for chaos. You can tell they want viewers to have fun with the movie, even if critics refuse to enjoy it.
The worst part is the plot that wasn’t made clear, especially since they had a few exposition dumps. They don’t explain how Ahmanet knows the position of the knife or the ruby once it is uncovered. Or why she needed to bring Set to life when she is virtually immortal and already more powerful than anyone.
Then there is Nick, who seems to be connected to Ahmanet for no other reason than he shot the chain which freed her. He then somehow survives a plane crash without a scratch … even after he was announced dead on arrival. Afterwards he seems to miraculously survive fights and wrecks that would incapacitate anyone else. Not to mention he sees his friend’s ghost who is now working for Ahmanet.
Because the movie takes itself lightly, it is a lot easier to overlook the flaws. It also helps that the flaws are not debilitating to the movie. As I discussed in a prior post, movies need to be viewed and reviewed based on how they present themselves … not how it compares to Citizen Kane. The Mummy is a fun summer movie that will likely miss the attention it deserves. If you like going to the movies as an escape and having fun, go see The Mummy in theatres!
It seems to be more difficult to have a recommendation ready that seemed to jump out at me. I wouldn’t recommend Brendan Fraser’s version since that seems too obvious and it has been a while since I saw it. So I will instead go with another monster movie mentioned in this post: Kong: Skull Island. While it wasn’t critically maligned, it did poorly at the box office. It might be the movie I enjoyed most so far this year. Kong: Skull Island and The Mummy both prime examples of summer movies that can be enjoyed with a large butter popcorn and a large Coke.