Alex Kurtzman's The Mummy is a stalled attempt at starting up Universal's Dark Universe, featuring a cookie-cutter Tom Cruise performance, matched with a stripped down and basic Hollywood blockbuster film approach. It's not over-the-top enough, nor is it creative enough to stick its landing. The Mummy is simply an action movie on auto-pilot.
Universal is finally joining the cinematic universe game with their first introduction into their Dark Universe, Alex Kurtzman‘s The Mummy, starring Tom Cruise. Let me be the first to tell you that The Mummy is nothing like the classic Universal monster movies, nor is it much like the Brendan Fraser action-adventure film.
The Mummy is more streamlined, presenting a generic action flick that should cater to all audiences around the world. There’s not enough horror elements to please fans of the original and there’s barely a script to spark the imagination of those looking for a thorough story. Heck, there’s not really any good CGI to catch the attention of those seeking a mindless summer blockbuster.
Make no mistake — The Mummy is a tentpole summer blockbuster film, directed by a man without vision or thematic pulse. It’s not that I hated The Mummy or thought it was awful, in fact I enjoyed brief moments of it, because I thought it was going somewhere.
The Mummy really never goes anywhere. Tom Cruise leads with perhaps his biggest one-note performance yet, rarely engaged with the material and the characters. He might as well have been called John Doe.
Nick Morton (Cruise) is a solder of sorts, that accidentally (and rather foolishly and idiotically) awakens an ancient Egyptian princess, known as Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella). Naturally, breaking a mummies nap time means that she’s going to cause chaos and destruction upon the world, because that’s just what pissed off mummies do.
So this happens, while Dr. Henry Jekyll (Russell Crowe) leads some sort of mysterious monster task force across the world, collecting ancient artifacts and studying this new world of “gods and monsters”. Seriously, the film mentions gods, monsters and dark universes about ten million times, just to remind audiences that there will be many more of these films, unless this one craps the bed and forces them to reboot things (again). Dracula Untold anybody?
Cruise seriously does very little to make this a memorable addition to his never-ending action movie roster. Likewise, Crowe really doesn’t do much with his introduction, but I hope that as these films progress he’ll be given much more to do. Annabelle Wallis and Sofia Boutella might be the film’s only saving graces and even that’s an extreme note.
Alex Kurtzman‘s bland directing accompanies six credited writers’ script. The writing is about as choppy, nonsensical and tone deaf as can be. Kurtzman’s direction does not elevate the already weak material, instead it helps bury the film into an even deeper hole of misery.
Like I said, I didn’t even hate the film. Heck, I’d see it again someday, but man if it didn’t immediately escape my mind after watching. I’ve been having a difficult time recollecting my thoughts on the film while constructing this review, because there are absolutely no real highlights. There is nothing memorable about The Mummy. It’s almost kind of boring.
The action doesn’t feel nearly as expensive as you’d think and the film’s bigger moments rarely amount to much.
I’m still excited for future Dark Universe films. Hesitantly excited might be a better way to put things, because I do believe that this universe can grow and expand if placed in the right hands. Filmmakers with vision and creativity need to attach themselves to these films, not a hack like Alex Kurtzman.
Those eager to dive into summer blockbuster season might want to re-watch Wonder Woman, a film that’s big, bold and exciting in ways that The Mummy will never understand. Skip this one until it hits the cheap seats.