The Mummy, directed by Alex Kurtzman, is a film that is the epitome of bland. You are given a story that is delivered in a dull, lazy way, and you are offered characters that are lacking depth or any hint of a reason to care about them. It doesn’t take long for this film to lose its way, but once it does, oh boy is it a difficult one to make it through. Don’t expect anything positive when I talk about, The Mummy (other films, like the original with Brendan Frasier, sure, I might talk about them nicely) but my review of this film will probably resemble a public humiliation, so get your out-of-date veg ready and warm-up your throwing arm, cause this is going to get messy.
Nick Morton – played by Tom Cruise – awakens the ancient Egyptian princess, Ahmanet – played by Sofia Boutella. This action not only links him to her and her evil plans, but it sets in motion events that will forever change his life and the overall construct of what we believe to be the fictional supernatural. Never again will monsters simply be constructs within our nightmares.
So this film had one main priority and that was to be the first in a new set of films. Universal wants to have its own universe of films, known as, ‘The Dark Universe’. They want their version of the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) but with classic monsters. So, The Mummy was supposed to be the first film in this new franchise that would ultimately see characters like, The Mummy, Frankenstein, Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde, The Wolfman etc. all in films together. I don’t know why they want to do this, but each to their own.
Well, The Mummy is a bad start to your new set of monster connected films. Not only are its efforts to set up a greater universe filled with monsters, ghosts and demons, ham-fisted. But it simply fails to offer a compelling film that can stand on its own, outside of the overall ‘Dark Universe’. The reason the MCU films work (most of the time) is that the good films are able to stand on their own. The Mummy struggles to stand up and walk in a straight line.
The story for example is done in such a lazy way, where expository narration dumps all the necessary information in your lap. You don’t have to think for yourself in this film; you don’t have to try to read the minutia of a scene to figure out what certain implications may mean, because this film will just outright say it to your face. There is no finesse, there is no subtlety or depth to the way the story is delivered to you. This is one of those situations where characters don’t talk like normal people, they spout out lines that further explain the rules (or lack of rules) of their world and it is done in a really awkward and tragically blatant way.
I realised early on that, The Mummy wasn’t going to deliver me a compelling, well told story that had me gripped by all its twists and turns, and so it wasn’t long until I went into hibernation mode. I watched as things played out in the most hum-drum, basic way. To put it bluntly, this film bored the life out of me.
And so because of how this film is structured and how crippled it is by the need to set up a greater universe, it is the characters and the hope of them being interesting in any way that really suffers. The two primary protagonists in the film, Nick Morton (Tom Cruise) and Jenny Halsey (Annabelle Wallis) couldn’t be more void of personality or intriguing individuality. They are empty vessels; they hold nothing within them that makes them feel like real, developed people.
They simply move from scene to scene, lacking any consistency in their previously established traits. They simply just take on the characteristics that are deemed necessary for the particular scene they are in; serving the narrative but not serving their growth or development as people.
And I think the most glaring issue that comes from the two of them, is the films awful attempt at having a romantic sub-plot between them. The Mummy has no idea how it wanted to handle these characters and how they would ultimately be with one another. They go from scene to scene having wildly different interactions with one another. At one moment they hate each other and a few scenes later they worry about them as if they have been deeply connected for years. Again, they just become what the moment asks of them but it is not done in a way that is justified or set-up.
In the end the film tries to suggest that there is a deep, meaningful romantic connection between the two of them – there wasn’t. I couldn’t really believe the audacity of the film and its attempt to make it seem like there was something more between them. They had up until that point struggled to have any chemistry that felt genuine and most of their scenes felt cold and empty, so to then try to make me care for these people by saying that they cared for each other, was just laughable and so clearly forced – get your eyes ready to roll, cause you’ll be doing it a lot.
But I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that the film handled its characters so poorly (Oh, the supporting cast of characters is just the same mess that the main protagonists are, so spending any meaningful time discussing them would be a waste of your time and mine.) Anyway, yes the film couldn’t possibly have handled its characters well because it itself doesn’t even know what type of film it wants to be.
At times, The Mummy was a high-octane action adventure film, and then at other times it tried to be a jump-scare filled horror film, and then every so often it would turn into an action-comedy with bizarre jokes that didn’t land or make sense within the context of the scene/film. It is all a jumbled mess, with tones slamming into one another and nothing feeling like it fits in with the rest of the experience.
Not even the charisma machine that is Tom Cruise who now has a crazy stunt in all of his films could even make this an exciting or fun to watch film. A part from a well done scene on a crashing plane (which you’ve now definitely seen, as the trailers have spoiled every moment of it) there is just nothing that stimulates you. As I pointed out in the beginning; it is all very bland and completely forgettable.
So you have a film that doesn’t know what it wants to be, with a story that is so focused on setting up a universe of other films that it fails to pay the right kind of attention to the film it is actually making, action that is boring, and characters that are left to flounder in all of it. It’s all just one big, dull, uninteresting, poorly constructed mess.
I will not be recommending, The Mummy. This film offers nothing that would make going to see it a worthwhile trip. Avoid it and go see something else, or just sit in the house and stare at the wall, you never know what interesting things you might discover there.
So what did you think of the film? Feel free to leave any thoughts, opinions, feedback in the comments down below. If you’re interested, you can follow my blog directly, or you can follow me over on Twitter – @GavinsRamblings. That way you’ll always know when I post something new. All that’s left to say is thank you and I hope you have a great day.