If only there was an ancient prophecy that could have prepared audiences for the awfulness that awaits them when they take to their theatre seats.
The latest Tom Cruise movie, “The Mummy”, hits theatres this Friday, June 9th, but critics across the board seem to think that the movie, along with Tom’s career, is starting to unravel. On May 22nd, 2017, it was announced that The Mummy is the first in Universal Studios new cinematic franchise of monster movies called the “Dark Universe”, essentially a shared name for a new grouping of all Universal’s upcoming monster movies. During an interview, Kurtzman, the creative mind overseeing the Dark Universe, revealed that “We know we’re going to do Frankenstein, Bride of Frankenstein, Dracula, Creature from the Black Lagoon, Phantom of the Opera, Hunchback of Notre Dame, and the Invisible Man.”
Universal released the original mummy movie in 1932, starring Boris Karloff, then revisited the flick for contemporary audiences in 1999, starring Brendan Fraser, Rachel Weisz, and even Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. This had success with audiences and sparked a three-film series along with a “Scorpion King” spin-off. While this latest release starts the story in Egypt and there is a mummy that comes back to life, the lack of similarities between the newest film and the classics make me think that maybe this one should have stayed buried.
The movie captured me for the first 15 minutes, the scenes that actually took place in Ancient Mesopotamia, but the minute they airlifted a sarcophagus in an army helicopter that later crashes I knew the film was on the same downward spiral. The movie seems to grab ideas, themes, styles, and even scripted lines from genres across the film board and cram them together into 110 minutes of awkward line delivery, forced laughter, and fake emotions. There were references to Indiana Jones, Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, Sahara, Dracula, and a dash of American Werewolf in London. One of my biggest frustrations is that there is seemingly no anthropological value in the film, they only read hieroglyphics once, they speak in ancient Egyptian maybe three times, and worst of all…the actress playing an “archaeologist” uses the ancient Book of Amun-Ra, or Book of the Living, AS A WEAPON!
Now I will give credit where credit is due: Sofia Boutella’s depiction of Princess Ahmanet is compelling and full of passion. I love that this reawakened queen has a thirst for power instead of the stereotypical search for long-lost love. After being promised the kingdom by her father the Pharaoh, his gift to her is revoked following the birth of his first son. Seeking to reclaim what she feels is rightfully hers, she calls upon Set, the god of death, to help reign terror upon the world she was meant to rule. The backstory provides a small note of sympathy for Ahmanet, especially since this is the first female mummy the series has had. The sympathy is short-lived as Boutella is the only seemingly bright light for the film.
The movie is a jumbling mess of monster concepts, terrible CGI effects, and a pathetic under-current of romance. Personally, I think this movie should have stayed under wraps.
**This review was originally written for The Barbershop Show**