"Whatever's in there had been safely hidden for two thousand years. This isn't a tomb, it's a prison" - Jenny Halsey
Princess Ahmanet is in line to rule ancient Egypt, till her father sires a son which puts the Princess second in the line of succession. What's a poor Girl to do, besides sing for a rock and roll band, Ahmanet signs a pact with dark forces in the form of Set and proceeds to slaughter her family. Slight overreaction I reckon and so do the Egyptians of the time who mummify Ahmanet alive, hiding her burial place in the remote country of modern day Iraq. Naturally we also have a flash back to some crusader knight being buried with a gem stone, hey it'll make sense in due time as the movie plods along.
Naturally Lorraine isn't going to get her wish of non-involvement as the Church, or some mythical organisation masquerading as "the Church", wants Ed and Lorraine to fly out to England to investigate some poltergeist activity going down in a council house in Brimsdown Enfield. Soon the Warrens are winging their way to Enfield quick sweet as no one in England apparently has a clue about things that go bump in the night. Ghostly shenanigans ensue with the only people really able to help the family being the Warrens, after Ed makes a quick and implausible deduction. However is it poltergeist activity or a hoax or is something even more deranged going down? It's Ed and Lorraine to the rescue, hold onto your disbelief till after the end credits, and get ready for some jump scares.
In present day Iraq Nick Morton and Chris Vail are recon troops for the U.S military, but are running a very profitable sideline in the discovery and sale of ancient artifacts. Nick has managed to purloin a map to ancient treasures and is hot to trot to get his hands on the riches, even though this involves entering an enemy held town. On the bright side he can call in an air strike, which has the unexpected result of unearthing an Egyptian burial site. Unfortunately for Nick and Chris the U.S military shows up with feisty archaeologist Jenny Halsey, who immediately wants to check out the site. She discovers the tomb is actually a prison built to contain an ancient evil, but also decides to lift out a sarcophagus she discovers as rebel forces close in. This proves to be a bit of a mistake as on a plane headed to England all hell is unleashed. Get ready for an evil from ancient Egypt to unleash its wraith on modern day England.
The Mummy is not a remake of the Brendan Fraser flick from 1999 but rather kicks off Universal's Dark Universe, which is promising a return to the monsters of yore, many of which should be left in their retirement to be honest. An immediate problem for the Studio was handing off artistic control to Timmy Cruise, who in Cruise fashion made the movie all about his character and in so doing pretty much consigned it to second rate melodrama where Timmy is like a superhero. What could have been a great introduction to a new horror franchise simply crumbled under Cruise's control and pretty much lost any love it might otherwise have generated. Which is probably just as well as Universe are threatening The Bride of Frankenstein next, and that film is going to go down as well as a fart in a space suit. Let's break it down and see if there is anything to salvage, this could get brutally tough folks.
Because I really don't want to spend the entire review highlighting the issues The Mummy has let's spend some time on a couple of sidenotes. A couple of horror sites, who should know better, are claiming we should all support this movie as it's a major horror release. Sorry claiming horror fans should pay money for inept movies is pretty much claiming the genre is in trouble, which it isn't, and makes as much sense as a zombie buying life insurance. For the dark genre to remain relevant it needs solid movies year in year out, not big stupid Studio productions of dubious quality with pretty boy actors of uneven acting ability who have seen their best days in front of the camera.
The second sidenote I wanted to remark on is who the hell decided Cruise would be a good casting choice in a horror/action flick. Timmy is over the hill folks, casting him in action roles is becoming increasingly a joke, a bad joke. My wife, who absolutely loved the Brendon Fraser mummy movies, was organising a gals night out to catch this one, but once she saw it was led by Tom Cruise immediately reorganised to having a dinner out instead. That's six or so tickets gone baby gone, Cruise isn't the instant box office draw card some folk seem to think. I was sort of reminded of Cruise's turn as Lestat in Interview with the Vampire (1994), a role that screamed out for someone charismatic and Byron like, Cruise simply flunked the role. Word to your mother, casting Cruise in a major role in a horror movie is all out wrong and won't help you at the box office.
One thing the movie did get right was casting Sofia Boutella as Ahmanet, the chick rocked it in limited screen time, Cruise was more about Cruise and less about the actual movie. Boutella played it with venom and for mine needed a lot more time on screen, her body acting alone had me high fiving the resident poltergeist. Strangely we also get Russell Crowe as Henry Jekyll expositing like a mad bastard, it was kind of weird, Crowe was doing well in a horror standard role, but the injection of the character was at best jarring. Yeah I know it was to build the Universe, but Jesus would tend to compel you to focus on the movie at hand, not one that may or may not be released sometime in the future. But end of day we still have Sofia Boutella.
I was sort of confused as to what I was seeing on my screen, while the movie has horror elements it also dials in humour, which fell a bit flat, and action as Timmy Cruise continues to strutt his aging arse across the screen. The problem being that none of the elements meshed in any fashion leading to some fundamentally uneven scenes. Whereas Stephen Sommers had everything purring along like the cat that got extra cream back in 1999 while director Alex Kurtzman simply throws everything at the screen and hopes that something will stick. Strangely Universal decided to hand over direction of a movie that they needed to be landed solidly to a Director with only one previous credit in his resume. Its decisions like this that really make you wonder if they didn't want the movie to fail.
For those wondering the horror elements are missing any sort of impact and once again fall flat. Was hoping for some major Set, the Egyptian god, action, but sadly the movie didn't deliver on that promise. We are pretty much simply faced with groups of resurrected dead generally charging after Timmy, including one improbable underwater scene. Unfortunately the forces of the undead are throw on the screen via pretty poor CGI, there are no praticle efforts being used here. So if diving in for some gruesome horror then you are out of luck and caught outside on a freezing cold morning.
I guess the overall feeling I got from The Mummy was disappointment, sure I didn't catch it at the multiplex, but from a viewing of the disc that would seem to have been an excellent decision. Cruise as normally comes across as a pretty boy plastic actor that has limited abilities, but does enough to fool enough people into believing he's bringing it. The movie pretty much got lost in its own world building with the rules being changed to fit the plot as things evolve in an ever downward spiral of inept movie making. No recommendation on this one, catch the Brendon Fraser one instead if you want you're wrapped in bandages action.