Nick Morton (Tom Cruise, “Mission Impossible”), an opportunist treasure hunter, happens upon an ancient tomb. An ancient curse latches onto Nick when he excavated a sarcophagus holding an ancient sorceress who he has unwittingly resurrected and unleashed. Now, Nick must find a way to free himself from the curse and destroy the evil being which stalks him and threatens to unleash evil upon the world.
MY FILM EXPERIENCE
This was a pretty terrible movie. I get accused of being a movie snob and turning my nose up at popcorn flicks but that isn’t really true. I just ask that my popcorn flicks have something interesting going on.
That’s the real failing of this film. It isn’t interesting. For a movie that clocked in at under two hours, I would have guessed it more at two and a half if I had guessed.
It’s a really challenging movie to talk about because so little happens. What does happen is surrounded by alternating types of boring.
There are chase scenes where Tom Cruise and Co. run away from CG mummies. We all know they will get away so it’s really not very exciting to watch.
There are mystery scenes where Tom Cruise and Co. try to figure out how to take down the mummy. Theses mysteries are not mysteries to the viewer because the answers have been told to us through previous exposition, so again, boring.
And, lastly, there are exposition scenes. A lot of them. There is a prologue, we are told the history of the mummy when the sarcophagus is deciphered, we are treated to repeated flashbacks to ancient times through Nick’s visions of things we already saw in the prologue, and we are guests of Dr. Henry Jekyll’s (Russell Crowe, “Gladiator”) plot exposition scene which he starts by literally telling Nick, “Story Time.”
This is such a colossally boring film.
The one bright spot is an action scene near the second act break where Nick’s plane is going down. The camera work and stunts in the spinning free fall gravity bending action scene are pretty fantastic. Definitely look it up on Youtube once people break apart the movie into scenes and post it there.
MOVIES NEED TO BE ABOUT PEOPLE
This movie is a great example of one of the main failings movies can contain. None of the characters are people we care about. The only character I found likable is killed off in the first act.
Sometimes movies rely on star power to get us to automatically buy into a character but it didn’t work here, at least not for me. Tom Cruise is ok but he’s not the sort of star that makes me immediately like a character that starts out as pretty despicable.
Many times writers can get caught up in the WHAT of a movie. What is happening? A mummy comes to life. A person is cursed. A secret organization tries to stop the mummy.
It is easy to forget the WHO of a film. All of the cool things in the world can happen but if we don’t care about the person they are happening to, we won’t care that they are happening at all.
RESURRECTING THE DEAD
I’m sure I’m not the first to point out that Universal has ironically chosen a movie about unearthing an old dead person as their first attempt at resurrecting the classic monster films. For those who don’t know, Universal studios was the studio that brought films like “Dracula,” “The Wolf Man,” “The Mummy,” “The Creature from the Black Lagoon,” and “Frankenstein” in the 1930s, 40s, and 50s.
Universal is currently trying to breathe new life into these properties, attempting to link them together in a sort of Cinematic Universe they would all inhabit Marvel or DC style.
It seems that in The Mummy, Russell Crowe’s Dr Jekyll, is the introduction of one of those unifying elements, an agency which investigates evil and tries to restrain it. A sort of Shield. Hmmmm.
Suffice it to say that I am not interested in seeing more of theses films. The classics are full of an exploration of the unknown and the dread that comes with that confrontation of the unknown. This film had none of that. It was an adventure film, but not a fun one.
So what do you do with a monster film that doesn’t scare? An adventure film that doesn’t thrill? A blockbuster that doesn’t break the box office?
Probably they’ll make another one.
This move is a hard pass. I can honestly say that “The Mummy (1999),” starring Brendan Fraser is far more enjoyable. It has the fun and humor of an adventure film that hearkens back to Indiana Jones. It is a summer popcorn flick at its best.
I’m not sure why they decided the Mummy needed a dark-but-not-too-dark reboot but they really are going to have to pick one or the other if they want the next movies to succeed.
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