I feel like the news that Alex Kurtzman’s The Mummy reboot was actually the kickoff for an entire planned cinematic universe wasn’t known for a long time. It was certainly noteworthy when the news broke, but when I heard the news it seemed like they were projecting a success with The Mummy and decided a shared universe could work for them. After seeing the film, it is apparent that this film was always meant to introduce viewers to a “world of monsters.”
I’m not sure if Tom Cruise is meant to act as a through line for this new “Dark Universe”, but it certainly sets his character up for an important role going forward. Beyond good old TC, the film is dripping with potential connections to the other planned films. Nothing is too in your face, if you forget about Russel Crowe’s portrayal of Dr. Henry Jekyll that is.
This film tries to do some interesting things, like portraying TC as your run of the mill action star in every promo, but then having him be a total tool throughout the film. (don’t worry, he comes around) Where it stumbles is in its horrendous script. It takes a lot for Jake Johnson not to be charming and he was set up well as TC’s wise crackin’ buddy but it just doesn’t work. He certainly tried his best with what he was given, but the script is just so painfully plain. Nothing memorable happens and the action becomes a CG mess about half way through.
As a side note I’d like to bring up a personal pet peeve with movies that deal with Ancient Egypt. The fact of the matter is that nobody knows what the Egyptian language sounded like when spoken aloud. That knowledge is lost to the sands of time. The only reason we even know how to translate hieroglyphics is because of the discovery of the Rosetta Stone. So when films have to portray ancient Egyptians speaking it can get a little dicey. I believe whoever was responsible for the Egyptian language used by a few characters throughout this film, probably a contracted linguist, didn’t do that good of a job. I believe they tried to pull from a few know ancient languages to get that sort of feeling and pronunciation, but it just rings hollow and (at least to me) was a bit of a distraction.
I’d say The Mummy is best described as a movie that you might watch one night when nothing else is on TV and you catch it on HBO. It’s certainly not as bad as people are saying, but it’s close enough to not recommend that anyone go see it in theaters.
by Christopher Moore
This post first appeared on http://screeningclub.com/2017/06/19/review-the-mummy/ on ScreeningClub.com.