The Mummy we got, not The Mummy we deserve
Well, this was certainly a movie involving mummies, but it was a far cry from the classic horror film of the same name. Now, I was not expecting a direct remake, as Tom Cruise was the lead character, however I was hoping for more of a horror slant than we got. The movie was not a complete flop. I did my best to find a few positives amid the entirely negative surrounding the film and I did not have to look hard.
Let me make this VERY clear; this was NOT the Mummy movie I was hoping for. Universal has clearly lost the understanding of what the original monster movies were. For their time, they were terrifying and horrible movies. They were layered and deep often creating a deep internal conflict within the audience struggling with the idea that these monsters were complicated figures. This complication is what made them so intriguing. The Mummy (2017) is a simple and predictable adventure with a sprinkling of horror along the way.
This does not mean I hated the movie completely. Knowing that it was a Tom Cruise movie and seeing the trailers, I was not expecting anything other than that. For what it was, they did a good job creating an entertaining albeit simple adventure. I found the characters to be shallow and very straightforward. Naturally, Russell Crowe’s adaption of Dr. Jekyll being the exception. In a movie-stealing scene, we get to see his transformation into Mr. Hyde really capturing the internal conflict he is keeping at bay. Seeing as he is reportedly the transition character to bring the other monsters together, this gives me a bit of hope, the rest of the Dark Universe can be improved.
Sofia Boutella was an intimidating and striking villainess. She physically looked the part of Ahmanet and provided some chilling scenes. She has such a unique appearance that led itself perfectly to the role. I felt like the filmmakers could have used more of her and less of Tom.
I believe if Tom Cruise did NOT play the lead character; the film would have been a stronger first installment. He has a very specific acting style that is hard to see past. This makes it feel like a Jack Reacher or Mission Impossible movie but dealing with a supernatural force. The forced humor and love interest takes you away from the one thing the movie did somewhat well, the horror aspects.
When the filmmakers remembered they were making a scary monster movie, they actually did a good job. There were some quality jump scares and unnerving imagery. Our new mummy regenerated the same way Imhotep did in The Mummy (1999), but with the added CGI technology, it was more effective filmmaking. The reanimated zombie/mummy’s doing Ahmanet’s bidding were also a much better visual.
The movie had the bones to be a successful action adventure movie like the 1999 version, but some fatal flaws kept them from accomplishing that goal. Namely, Tom Cruise and the cringe-worthy humor in the most inopportune moments. I would have preferred a darker and scarier version of the monster, but I also enjoy a good adventure. I personally love the adventure of the 1999 version of this monster movie. To my excitement, there is a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment creating a connection to the 1999 movie. I do not fault them for going in that direction, especially considering where it looks like the rest of the Dark Universe is going. Dr. Jekyll was speaking of fighting evil so I am guessing they will be some sort of monster fighting force.
Overall, I did not HATE the movie despite it not being what I wanted. It has not deterred my interest to watch the Dark Universe films as they come out. If I can watch and enjoy the Underworld and Resident Evil series, I can certainly enjoy this extended universe. Considering the Tom Cruise-iness was my biggest gripe, I do think there is hope for the Dark Universe.