Director: Alex Kurtzman
Starring: Tom Cruise, Russell Crowe, Annabelle Wallis, Sofia Boutella, Jake Johnson, Courtney B. Vance,
Written by: David Koepp, Christopher McQuairre, Dylan Kussman, (screen story) Jon Spaihts, Alex Kurtzman and Jenny Lumet
Running Time: 110 mins
Release date: 9th June 2017
The Mummy was one of Universal’s stable characters in the 1930’s, a horror icon who went on to appear in several movies for the studio. Now, that same studio has decided it’s time to resurrect their most popular horror monsters for a new generation, hence the start of Dark Universe, this being the first in the franchise. Even though this is supposed to be a return of the old style horrors of yesterday, this is more like a star vehicle that they have decided to attach this creature to.
While in Iraq searching for treasure, Nick Morton and his partner, Chris, discovered the tomb of a long lost Egyptian queen. Having to escape from the area, Nick finds himself strangely drawn to the rising grave. Transporting the find, the plane crashes and Nick, who should have been dead, wakes up in a morgue in England, where archaeologist Jenny Halsey, whom Nick saved, takes him to meet the mysterious Dr Henry Jeykll, who tells him that he has become cursed by the mummified queen and who has been brought back to life to find her new love: Nick.
Firstly, this is not connected to the 1990’s remake of The Mummy, which starred Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz. This is a brand new adventure with brand new characters, yet you do wonder if the filmmakers should have taken a look at that version to see how to make a fun and exciting adventure film. This is neither fun or exciting. Or horrifying for that matter. In fact, the only thing this is is a Tom Cruise film. The studio has Tom Cruise as their lead male and has decided to make a Tom Cruise film, not a Mummy film. What we get is Mission: Impossible but without the stirring theme music.
The script is as clunky as a rusty old car. There are loads of scenes in which characters have to explain the plot. It starts off with an extended sequence about the Queen and who she was and what she did to become entombed, which seems to go on forever and then we see Tom running and jumping and escaping being shot that could have been ripped from any of the Indiana Jones movies. This then leads to the discovery and then onto the plane, which wouldn’t have been a surprise if Simon Pegg hadn’t appeared.
Then to London and we get Night of the Living Dead meets American Werewolf in London with more running and jumping and then the special effects department get to have a field day with an Independence Day style destruction of London, except it’s not destroyed but just covered in dust and sand and all the while people are explaining more things because frankly at this point, the audience are bored to death.
This is the problem with the film as a whole. It’s all well and good having Tom jumping and running while the CGI goes into overdrive but we don’t care about any of it. We don’t care about the characters. We don’t care about what they do or what happens to them. It’s just a succession of set pieces and mind-numbingly dull dialogue, which neither excites or surprises. Even a “twist” in the middle has been signposted from the very start.
The performances don’t really ignite excitement either. Mr Cruise is, well, Mr Cruise so nothing different there. Russell Crowe goes for the English accent again and you do half expect him to start singing Les Miserables songs and Sofia Boutella, who almost stole Kingsman: The Secret Service from everyone as the silent assassin, doesn’t get to do anything apart from wandering around with her arms out.
You feel like this version of The Mummy is a missed opportunity. Instead of offering retreads of other, far better movies, they could have delivered the darkness of the original Boris Karloff films but decided to play it safe with basic dull blockbuster fare. I’m pretty certain it will make its money back but when you compare it to, say, Wonder Woman, this is drab and dull and doesn’t thrill me for future movies.