(Alex Kurtzman, 2017)
Reviewed by Dave Lancaster
Summary: For all its charm and star wattage, The Mummy unravels itself to reveal little of substance.
This should have been fantastic. It's got Tom Cruise in the lead role giving it his all as usual. It's got great heritage in Universal's back catalogue of classic horror. It's got a script from the writers of the likes of The Usual Suspects, Edge of Tomorrow, Carlito's Way, Jurassic Park and Mission Impossible. It's got a massive budget to get it all on the screen.
And yet, The Mummy is a misfire that is miles away from 1932's immortal Boris Karloff original and its Lon Chaney Jr sequels in the 1940s. It doesn't even match the Indiana Jones style fun of that took off in the late 90s with Brendan Fraser (remember him?) in the lead.
The main issue is that this modern revamp is having something of an identity crisis, never knowing where to place its tone. When it strives for dark humour ala An American Werewolf in London or even cheaply atmospheric Hammer horror influenced thrills then The Mummy actually works and Cruise makes for a surprisingly good comic lead but often the script just gets lazy and goes for something silly, ignoring the schadenfreude and creepiness of the aforementioned influences. At points, particularly when Russell Crowe starts chewing the scenery and delivers the film's most ill-advised twist then it becomes laughable.
It's unfortunate because there's some greatness bubbling under the surface: Cruise's magnetism in the lead, some inventive effects and a handful of thrilling action scenes (most notably one shot for real involving a plane taking a nose dive sending its occupants into a zero gravity state) give The Mummy enough to pad out a trailer.
It's just that it's hard to care for the story when the main villain is a largely wordless caricature that alternates between vapid sex appeal and CGI and when Universal attempts to cram in another legendary story in order to pad out their haphazard newly formed 'Dark Universe'. Let's hope that they put some more consideration into the production before they revive Dracula, Frankenstein et al.
Bonus features on the Universal Blu-ray (which is out now) include:
- Deleted and Extended Scenes
- Feature Commentary
- Rooted in Reality
- Cruise & Kurtzman: A Conversation
- Life in Zero-G: Creating the Plane Crash
- Meet Ahmanet
- Cruise in Action
- Becoming Jekyll and Hyde
- Choreographed Chaos
- Nick Morton: In Search of a Soul
- Ahmanet Reborn Animated Graphic Novel