The Mummy film review
Tom Cruise can sell almost every movie. His charisma, natural charm and acting talent topped with our desire to see him run, jump and fight will always make him the blockbuster action star that he is. Love him or hate him, you have to admit that you will never get tired of see him do that. The jumping, the running and the fighting in his movies.
Now, he does all that in his latest project, The Mummy but he doesn’t quite manages to sell the movie. It’s not entirely his fault, to be honest, but in the Mummy franchise reboot of and the first installment in the Dark Universe film series, he is Nick Morton. Ex officer in US army/mercenary who along with his partner Sergeant Chris Vail (Jake Johnson) are also moonlighting as treasure hunters for the black market. In present day Iraq, they will discover the sarcophagus of the evil Egyptian princess Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella) and along with the Egyptologist Jennifer “Jenny” Halsey (Annabelle Wallis) they’ll bring the tomb to London for further examinations. Their troubles will begin in transit, and their mission will not get any better once they get to London.
Like i said… the low quality of the Mummy reboot is not entirely Tom Cruise’s fault. There are bigger problems in the movie than his involvement, and most of them stem from the writers and their script. The movie doesn’t know what’s supposed to be, so ends up being a big complicated and sometimes dull mess. The movie starts with 2 narrated scenes (with the voice of Russel Crowe) set in 2 different time frames in history (Medieval England and Ancient Egypt), and they are not only excellent, they are also reminiscent of Brendan Frasier’s The Mummy. The movie then transfers in present day Mesopotamia where we find 2 of the most annoying characters in the entire movie. Tom Cruise’s Nick and Jake Johnson’s Vail. The former is barely tolerable mostly because Tom’s charisma and witty charm, but the latter not is just a yelling and screaming repetition of cliché lines, actually goes away after 30 minutes (and makes a few scenes come backs sporadically).
Tom and Annabelle doesn’t necessarily have the best chemistry here, but somehow work when paired in front of the screen, although her character is mostly useless throughout the entire film. There are 2 actresses in the movie. The one portrays the good character, while the other is the bad. And while Annabelle Wallis’s potential is wasted in a lackluster role, the same can be said of Sofia Boutella in the most one dimensional villainous role. Her contribution here is on point, and along with the body paint and CGI, she manages to be creepy and scary at times, despite having a poor material to work with.
And although the reboot has slight inclinations of 1999 version, it also has a few changes along the way. Nick’s character is contemporary version of Brendon Fraser’s Rick. Annabelle Wallis is of course less funny version of Rachel Weisz’s Evelyn Carnahan and Jake Johnson is underdeveloped and underused version of John Hannah. This version though has a female villain, this version also has the character of Henry Jekyl. Russel Crowe gives his best to appear engaged and interested, but the truth is his character is criminally underrated and used as a set up for the upcoming movies from Dark Universe franchise.
However one can not just ignore the elaborate set pieces, outstanding makeup (especially on Boutella), brilliant set design, and the CGI is fantastic in every scene, but this is style over substance matter put on film. Likely from studio interference, and too many scriptwriters not being cohesive in their work, but here even the jokes feel kind of flat. Director Alex Kurtzman tried his best to let the action run smoothly (to not interfere with the action) and to attempt and pick up the pacing in the quieter scenes. You know… not to let the audience doze off. And along with the smooth editing from Paul Hirsch, Gina Hirsch and Andrew Mondshein the director succeeded in the former, he’s lacking in the latter department.
The movie feels too stuffy, confusing and appears way too long (longer than 107 minutes of running time). It showed sooo much potential to be honest. It had an already known (more or less) premise, already known villain and one of the most liked A list actors in the leading role. Maybe lacking the Brendan Fraser natural comedic talent, but Cruise is pretty solid. Maybe he can’t sell every film after all.