The Mummy (2017) Review: Dead On Arrival.
There are action comedies, there are horror comedies. ‘The Mummy’ is unique in being a full on action horror comedy. The fourth film in the franchise disregards the ones that came before it. Fraser is out, Cruise is in, and he’s bringing a shroud of darkness with him. ‘The Mummy’ follows thief, liar and general scoundrel Nick Morton played by Tom Cruise. The less honourable Indiana Jones gets into trouble when his latest find ends up releasing the evil princess Ahmanet, a 5,000 year old Egyptian princess with a penchant for destruction, particularly sand related.
What ‘The Mummy’ does right is that mix of tones. It’s a delicate balance that Cruise and company handle deftly. The movie will fill you with dread, with creepy atmospheres punctuated by jump scares. Then it will deliver a decent quality action scene, all the while bringing humour that doesn’t take away from the tension. The issue is, so much of ‘The Mummy’ feels inconsequential. While you’re enjoying the ride, it never feels as though it’s going anywhere.
I hesitate to give a synopsis of this movie since the film will repeat back the same information to you over and over again. Viewers might just be better off jumping in after the first twenty minutes, just to avoid the sense of deja vu. What’s worse is, no matter how many times ‘The Mummy’ explains it’s plot to you, it still makes less and less sense as the movie goes on. Everything you’re told only raises more head-scratching questions, distracting you from the movie itself. It’s Tom Cruise has a bewildered expression on his face for the whole movie.
When they weren’t being exposition robots, the cast has a good chemistry. Cruise is perhaps his most unlikable he’s ever been, but it’s done with a purpose. He plays second fiddle to Russel Crowe though, whose brief appearance as Dr. Jekyll consists of scene larceny, as Crowe imbues the movie with an energy it sorely needed. Sofia Boutella is creepy enough as Princess Ahmanet, and actually gave her more character than I expected her to. Outside of those few though, the rest of the characters I found utterly banal and had to fight the urge to check my watch when they were the main focus of a scene.
I was actually shocked to hear ‘The Mummy’ was all of two hours. I intended to praise the film for being a relatively short blockbuster, that came in, told its so so story, and got out. I can say it felt short, and the movie flew by without me feeling the runtime, but then again, it feels like there was not much content here to deserve 2 whole hours. Especially since the movie’s natural progression of the plot feels like the film grinding to a halt when it comes to putting in place the foundation of this brand spanking new cinematic universe.
The first film in Universal Studios’ ‘Dark Universe’ franchise is something of a non-starter. It has the right idea of how to present horror in a way that’s accessible enough, without feeling too sanitized. However, an overly convoluted plot with characters so bland you don’t care if they live or die makes this movie one that you don’t need to rush to the cinema to see.
Rating: Catch It On Cable.