Movie Review: “The Mummy”
Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella) was an ancient Egyptian princess. She was fierce, fearless, merciless and she was next in line to rule Egypt after the passing of her father. At least she was next in line until her father had a baby boy. In order to reclaim her birth right, Ahmanet resorts to dark magic and gives herself a curse that will grant her absolute power. She is stopped and, as punishment, was mummified while alive and buried in a tomb where she remained for thousands of years. She remained in this tomb until a modern day American Soldier, named Nick Morton (Tom Cruise), stumbles upon her tomb and unknowingly releases Ahmanet from her prison. As a result of freeing her, Ahmanet declares Nick Morton as her "chosen" which curses him and makes Nick the chosen vessel for Death. Nick Morton joins Jenny Halsey (Annabelle Wallis) and Dr. Henry Jekyll (Russell Crowe) as they try to find a way to stop Ahmanet and prevent Death from entering this world.
The Pros & Cons
Nick Morton (+4pts)
Dark Universe (+6pts)
The Tone (-5pts)
Monster's Appearance (+3pts)
The Plot (-8pts)
Pro: Nick Morton (+4pts)
While I thought his setup was weak, I ended up liking the character of Nick Morton (Tom Cruise). I thought his behavior and reactions fit this movie well. Initially a non1belieber of the supernatural, Nick Morton then freaks out as he is suddenly thrust into a world of monsters and curses. His reaction to everything provides some comedic moments in the movie. I thought some of those moments worked, but others felt like the writers tried to make this character a clone of Brendan Fraser's character in the previous movies. While the writing for Nick Morton was the same as Brendan Fraser's character, I think Tom Cruise's perfornance gave a different spin on the lines so felt fresh. This character (Nick Morton) has a facade of selfishness, he's a rebellious American soldier and he feels a supernatural pull towards to the extremely powerful Ahmanet. I liked watching his inner struggle as he would try to resist the supernatural charm that Ahmanet had over him. This movie has its problems but I ended up liking Nick Morton.
Con: Ahmanet (-6pts)
A monster movie can only be as good as its monster and, despite Sofia Boutella's best efforts, this was a weak monster in every meaning of the term. Right off the bat, this movie starts with Ahmanet's backstory but it seems to fast forward through if. This does not allow Ahmanet's desire to rule to sink in with the audience. We also do not get to see how devastated she is with the birth of her baby brother and we do not get to see the depression she falls into as a result. Then all of a sudden she's summoning demonic entities and mirderibf everyone of importance in ancient Egypt. This movie gives the major plot points of Ahmanet's past but does not properly flesh it out. The film should have spent the first 5-10 minutes telling Ahmanet's as it would have made the monster much more interesting to watch. This could have been forgiven if the movie did not depict her as physically weak. They try depicting her as strong, but the main characters (and Henry Jekyll's henchmen) seem to have an easy time getting away from and besting her throughout the movie. Fast forward to the end of the movie and she no longer seems like an unstoppable force.
Pro: Dark Universe (+6pts)
This movie gives considerable focus to the "Dark Universe" which comes in the form of Henry Jekyll (Russell Crowe). He runs an organization that hunts, and studies everything evil with the intent of preventing evil from entering our world. It is an interesting concept and Henry Jekyll is the perfect character to run such an organization. I liked the portrayal of Henry Jekyll, I liked his presence in this movie and I enjoyed the implications of what we can expect from this organization in the future monster movies (Frankenstein, Invisible Man, Wolfman and hopefully Dracula). If you do see this movie pay attention to the scene in which Nick Morton first enters this organization's facility. There are several "samples" being studied that are obvious Easter eggs to hint to the audience of the types of monsters we can expect to see in future movies.
Con: The Tone (-5pts)
The tone of this movie was a but confusing. To best explain it, I will give a breakdown of the different genre elements of this movie so you can understand the mess that was the tone of this film. The plot was horror, a monstrous entity that the main characters are running from through the entire movie. Nick Morton and Vail (Jake Johnson) deliver comedy. The directing of this film suggests that it is an action-adventure. All of these genres together made for a confusing movie to experience. By not focusing on any genre, the film failed to deliver any effectively.
Pro: Monster's Appearance (+3pts)
Essentially the only horror in this movie was Ahmanet and her minions. She definitely looks the part. The costume designers and visual effects people definitely deserve credit got this movie. Ahmanet's minions looked horrific and, while they were a little too easily disposed of, they were fast and they were violent. This movie was at its best when Nick and Jenny were trying to get away from Ahmanet's minions.
Con: The Plot (-8pts)
The writing of this movie was a mess. Nick Morton's setup was weak, Ahmanet's setup was butchered, Jake Johnson's character felt forced into the story, the end of the film was severely predictable, Nick and Jenny had terrible chemistry, the whole plot was a generic "artifact A + artifact B = end of movie", and I do not understand why the gem was not destroyed centuries ago. The plot of this movie was a mess and left me wondering if Universal Studios has anyone working for them that proof reads a script before they make a movie.
Grade: D+ (68pts)
I wanted to like this movie but, while there were elements that I enjoyed, the movie fell below average. I enjoyed the character of Nick Morton I enjoyed the time spent setting up this Dark Universe. I enjoyed the look of the monsters and I enjoyed the violence that came along with them. Unfortunately this movie's flaws were too significant. The writing felt lazy and the tone was a mess. The movie tries to be five different genres, all at one, but it fails at executing any of them. The main villain had a poorly developed back story and was too easily defeated too many times. All of this resulted in a weak film.
I recommend seeing this movie if you are a fan of monster movies and plan on seeing future movies in the franchise (such as Frankenstein, Wolfman, Invisible Man, Dracula, etc.) this was a weak first movie but one of the movie's best elements was how it set up this cinematic universe. That being said, I do not recommend rushing out to the theaters to see this one. Maybe wait for home video.