Summer is usually chock full of popcorn films with explosions and awe-inspired moments. Sometimes, they’re mindless, but fun and not entirely regrettable experiences.
The Mummy opens in England, 1124 (I think?) A.D. We spend little time in England, with the blast to the past serving only as a way to introduce a red stone that becomes important during the third act.
The film then jumps to ancient Egypt where Princess Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella) is out for blood after getting shafted for the top spot in Egypt. So she summons the god of war and kills her father and a baby.
Jump to a present-day setting where we see Tom Cruise in the role of Nick Morton, a reconnaissance soldier that is introduced to us next to his pal and fellow soldier, Chris Vail (Jake Johnson). They’re on a quest to find some rad treasure that is worth major dollars. Almost immediately, actor Jake Johnson seems to force unfunny jokes with unnatural delivery and, surprise, it doesn’t get better from here. Cruise hardly connects with his comrade, but whatever because explosions should distract us from the crummy dialogue, right?!
Wrong. There’s nothing spectacular about the mindless destruction and — oh wait, another slew of terrible jokes via Johnson’s character. During the first act, did the director tell Jake Johnson to scream his lines and — boom — comedic gold?
Once our fantastic duo accidentally stumbles upon an ancient Egyptian tomb thanks to an airstrike that Vail called in, we’re introduced to Jenny Halsey (Annabelle Wallis), a scientist and researcher well-versed in the tongue of the “old gods.” The absolute second she steps on-screen, sex jokes commence. Har har, Cruise only lasts 15 seconds in bed. Har har, Cruise’s rebuttal is a failed joke about her moaning in bed.
None of this is funny, but don’t worry, the film does well to call back to it 20 minutes later. And it still fell flat.The rest of the film deals with Morton and gang running from Ahmanet, who wants to impregnate Morton with an evil baby.
What kind of movie did The Mummy want to become? A horror film with crummy CGI effects that don’t allow even some of their actors to, well, act (looking at you, Sofia Boutella)? Oh, wait! Maybe it wanted to be a comedy film, with jokes every five minutes. No, it wants to be … an adventure film? The film doesn’t have an identity.
However, surprise: The Mummy tries to embody all of the above themes and cannot sustain an ounce of life during its attempts. This isn’t a film that even succeeds at being stupidly fun. Why should we care about the characters, which the film has failed to develop? Where’s the chemistry between Cruise and Annabelle Wallis?
Screenwriter David Koepp banks on Mummy‘s audience to be dumb. During one sequence with spiders, “someone” gets bitten. Morton says the spiders aren’t dangerous — you can see where this is going. This “someone” gets on a helicopter with the rest of our main cast of characters and — wait, his neck is turning blue. He’s clearly sick, yet nobody even comments on his flushed demeanor. We transition to them getting onto a large military plane and this “someone” is even sicker, sweating and beginning to fade in and out of consciousness. AND DO YOU THINK ANYONE ASKS, “YOU DOING OK, BUD?” Nope, nobody says anything. Oh, but they notice once “someone” turns into a possessed killing machine that moves at a snail-like pace, stabbing and killing others on the plane. Then, and only then do the surrounding characters acknowledge that this person is sick.
There are films where you can turn your brain off and enjoy., but this isn’t one of them. My unsalted, slighty-buttered popcorn with underwhelming taste had more flavor than The Mummy.
If this is how The Dark Universe expects to kick off its extended universe, you can kiss this franchise good-bye.
I attended an advance screening of ‘The Mummy’ thanks to Sly Fox and Universal Pictures. ❤
‘The Mummy’ runs 1 hour and 50 minutes, is rated PG-13 and releases on June 9, 2017 (North America).