Movie Review: The Mummy’s a Messy Monster

Movie Review: The Mummy’s a Messy Monster

About the Author

Tyler Collins

Tyler Collins

Tyler Collins is a thespian and performer who has worked with theatre, film, and TV across Ontario. He comes from Campbellton, NB, and has lived in North Oakville nearly 20 years. Currently, he studies Journalism at Sheridan College. Twitter: @MrTyCollins

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There are so many confusing and disappointing parts to the new reboot of The Mummy it’s difficult to describe. While it’s a pathetic story and a glamorous CGI horror trip, it’s also a fun (albeit lazy) summer adventure. In other words? It’s the perfect shallow monster movie.

Universal Pictures have been the definitive company for monster films in all genres, from action, horror, sci-fi, and everything in between. This new film is the first installment of their new Dark Universe franchise, which the studio hopes to expand with other creatures like Frankenstein and The Creature From the Black Lagoon in the next few years.

But these painfully obvious connections drag the whole film down like no franchise I’ve ever seen. The entire second half isn’t even a Mummy movie anymore – it’s all a slow, stupid explanation for how Universal’s going to create a series out of these characters.

They even go so far to add a second title card before the movie. Right after the iconic Universal logo, the music turns grim and the camera spins to the other side of the globe. It’s gold, black, and an evil font spells “Dark Universe” across the screen.

Before the movie even starts, the whole audience yawned and appeared disappointed. You could tell after ten seconds the movie had no subtlety, composure or confidence.

Episode one of the monster mash starts with soldier/treasure thief Nick (Tom Cruise) exploring a hidden tomb in Iraq to find a buried mummy. When he releases it, thinking it’s a valuable artifact, it turns out to be a crazy cursed princess who picks Nick to bring forth the Egyptian god of death into the world.

Photo: Universal Pictures.

Director Alex Kurtzman led a team of seven others to obliterate the screenplay into anything watchable, and the lack of purpose and care is vivid. The script is so bad, I spent two hours wishing I could roll my eyes as far back into my skull as the mummy warriors on screen kept doing. Maybe the curse isn’t as painful as watching those transform from it.

Poor Tom Cruise has shown he can ground excellent action blockbusters (even as recent as 2014’s exhilarating Edge of Tomorrow.) But all the goofy charm, fun, and raw excitement of Brendan Fraser’s early 2000s Mummy movies are missing. Sure they were dumb and shallow too, but at least they were entertaining.

This new Mummy, however, does have some redeeming qualities. The screen is filled with great visual effects and a sweeping, classic orchestral score. These are the memorable and refined qualities of monster flicks Kurtzman should have focused on throughout the rest of the movie.

This is a weak start to the Dark Universe with dumb twists. My hope is this world doesn’t make DC’s Batman v Superman mistake of jumping the gun. Instead, focus on making good stand alone movies, then bring them together. If you connect everything first, the story looks desperate. And that’s how it feels right now.

Based on the production schedule, Universal will have several more chances to make the iconic, bright monster movies they’ve made so well in the past. For now, they’ll need to pray the audience doesn’t groan too hard at this Mummy, or this franchise may be at risk at unraveling too soon.

The Mummy
2 out of 4 stars

14A, 107 minutes. Adventure Horror Thriller Epic.
Written and Directed by Alex Kurtzman.
Starring Tom Cruise, Annabelle Wallis, Sofia Boutella, Jake Johnson, and Russell Crowe.
Now Playing at Film.Ca Cinemas, Cineplex Winston Churchill and Cineplex Oakville & VIP. Also in IMAX 3D.

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