Reviews: the return of the Universal Monsters – The Mummy
Directed by Alex Kurtzman,
Starring Tom Cruise, Sofia Boutella, Annabelle Wallis, Russell Crowe
Tom Cruise jumps on board the Dark Universe of Monsters and Legends as he tackles one of the most ancient evils ever, The Mummy. Universal are bringing back the pantheon of classic monsters that they helped to make famous (way back in the 1930s in that first great age of cinematic horror), in one huge franchise. It all starts with the relaunch of The Mummy. From Egypt, to Iraq, and to London, the globe trotting adventure opens the door to a bigger world.
I’ve always had a little bit of a soft spot for Tom Cruise. His movies have entertained me through the years ever since The Outsiders and Taps. Through his career there have been high points and low points, just like everyone else, but the one thing you cannot deny about him is his love for entertaining his fanbase. When I heard that he was going to star in the reboot of The Mummy and that it would lead to the Monsters of Universal coming back to the big screen in something similar to the Marvel Cinematic Universe I was jumping like a two year old child.
In the film Cruise plays Nick Morton, a solider in Iraq, with a sideline in selling stolen treasures to fund his after-army life. He does so with the help of his friend Chris Vail, played by Jake Johnson, and it’s a good casting choice as Johnson and Cruise have some chemistry on screen. They discover a large, hidden underground tomb which is keeping something buried. A British archaeologist, Jenny, is looking for the tomb too, but for a very different reason. Together they find the remains of the ancient evil Ahmanet, an Egyptian princess who channeled the dark power of Set, killed her father, step mother, and their infant son.
If you know the previous Mummy films you know what happens next. I don’t do spoiler reviews so lets just leave it there for those that want to remain in the dark. But the new addition to the story is this whole Dark Universe that Universal wants to create. Russell Crowe plays Henry, a Doctor, who is leading the group that wants to find the Monsters and destroy them before they can spread their evil. It’s a great addition and nice to see Crowe having fun hamming it up. There is good ham and bad ham and this is the better form of pork. I’m sure that Mr. Crowe would cringe at me calling it ham, but hey, it looks for the first time in a long time that he’s enjoying himself.
There are a few moments when they enter the base of the Monster Hunters that you have to pay attention to, if your a fan of the Universal Horror films of the past then it’s a bounty for the eyes. Also there is a nod to the previous Mummy films, and it made me smile, appreciating the past and also hinting that maybe another Mummy would enter the Dark Universe.
The film moves quickly which is what you want for a summer popcorn movie. The action never lets up. In some ways though that works against the film because you never fully get that involved with the characters that are created. Cruise is, well he’s Tom Cruise; Nick is a character that he can play in his sleep, elements of the loveable rogue that he plays, added with the self-centred character that he’s done in the past. The horror of the film may be a little too much for the younger members of the family as it quickly becomes similar to the Walking Dead with a lot of Zombies. Special effects are top notch apart from one transformation that Russell Crowe takes on, they look a bit cheap and as though they didn’t know exactly how they wanted that character to look. All in all though this is excellent summer popcorn fun. Go to the cinema for less that two hours, switch off the outside world, and enjoy the film. As for the Dark Universe and if it will come to life, that my friends, will be a matter of time and box office numbers. Fingers crossed though.