Movie Review – The Mummy (2017)

The Mummy
Directed by Alex Kurtzman
Courtesy of Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Release Date: September 12, 2017

When I first heard about THE MUMMY, I automatically assumed it was going to reboot the Brendan Fraser franchise. I never imagined Universal would be updating their classic movie monsters for a new generation. And when I discovered Tom Cruise was attached to the project, I knew I had to give it a look. Even after all these years (I’m just a decade younger than him), Cruise usually entertains me. I figured the film would be a high-impact thrill ride that would keep me glued to my seat.

And I wasn’t disappointed…for the most part.

This version of THE MUMMY is a visual appealing spectacle with some nice tension and decently intriguing storyline. But it’s got a couple of glaring flaws, one of which almost ruined the whole movie for me. Yet despite its faults, I have to say I enjoyed the film as a whole, and I do recommend seeing it.

If you are not familiar with THE MUMMY, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Universal Studios Home Entertainment:

Tom Cruise stars in this spectacular version of the legend that has fascinated cultures all over the world since the dawn of civilization: The Mummy. Thought safely entombed deep beneath the desert, an ancient princess (Sofia Boutella) whose destiny was unjustly taken from her is awakened in our current day. Her malevolence has grown over millennia and with it come terrors that defy human comprehension. From the sands of the Middle East through modern-day London, The Mummy balances wonder, thrills, and imagination.

THE MUMMY is shot well and looks great onscreen. I had the pleasure of watching it on Blu-ray, however I would recommend it in 4k if possible. The vibrancy of the picture would look amazing in Ultra HD, I wager. The production value appears high, and the production team does a good job of utilizing the film’s budget (estimated at $125 million).

The acting is solid, with Tom Cruise headlining a great cast. He is joined by Annabelle Wallis, who portrays his love interest, Jenny; Sofia Boutella, who does a stunning job as the mummy, Ahmanet; Russell Crowe as Henry Jekyll; and Jake Johnson, who fans will recognize from THE NEW GIRL, as Nick Morton’s (Tom Cruise) best friend, Chris Vail.

As mentioned, the special effects are eye-dazzling, although the use of CG is very apparent in certain scenes. Still, it would be difficult to achieve what the production team desired using practical effects. I particularly like the sandstorm scene, where an approaching storm is about to overtake the plane. This shot reminded me of MAD MAX: FURY ROAD, and it looks just as impressive.

Unfortunately, the storyline in THE MUMMY is where I start having some issues.

For one, there’s no real sense of “world-ending tension” anywhere. Sure, Ahmanet is menacing, and she’s after Morton to use him as a fleshy vessel for her dark god…but I never felt like anybody else in the film was worried about what she might do. The characters are lackluster to a degree, and nobody ever projects a true sense of peril. I was actually expecting more horror and less action…or at least more focus on the Mummy. The film quickly shifts from a horror movie about an ancient being to a platform for Cruise to perform action and stunts.

And speaking of characters, there is one in particular that almost ruined the movie for me: Henry Jekyll. The minute I realized this was the character from the literary world, I almost shut off my TV. I was assailed with flashbacks from the atrocity that was THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN, and I physically had to force myself to finish THE MUMMY. Jekyll’s character has no place whatsoever in this movie, and putting him in it appears to be the only way the company could provide a basis for a standalone project down the road. Even the fact that Russell Crowe portrayed him is no saving grace.

But even so, I still enjoyed THE MUMMY, and I recommend giving it a look. Its low box-office intake is a testimony to how big Hollywood names will not always assure success, but the film is thankfully decent enough to provide enjoyment as a whole. The film hits store shelves tomorrow.

Special Features include:

• Digital Copy of The Mummy (2017) (Subject to expiration. Go to NBCUCodes.com for details.)
• Deleted and Extended Scenes
• Cruise & Kurtzman: A Conversation
• Rooted in Reality
• Life in Zero-G: Creating the Plane Crash
• Meet Ahmanet
• Cruise in Action
• Becoming Jekyll and Hyde
• Choreographed Chaos
• Nick Morton: In Search of a Soul
• Ahmanet Reborn Animated Graphic Novel
• Feature Commentary with Director/Producer Alex Kurtzman and Cast Members Sofia Boutella, Annabelle Wallis, and Jake Johnson

MSB

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