<i>The Mummy</i> Cruises into Mediocrity

Susan Ellingburg

They probably should have left this one in the crypt. Despite the mummy of the title—plus zombies, a mysterious top-secret agency, and mayhem on planes, trains (or their tunnels), and automobiles—The Mummy is not as much fun as it should be. 2.5 out of 5.
 

Synopsis

It’s just another day at the office when "liberator of precious antiquities" (aka "grave robber") Nick Morton (Tom Cruise) and his buddy (Jake Johnson) accidentally uncover a heretofore hidden Egyptian tomb. Unfortunately for Nick, that tomb holds a mummified Egyptian princess (Sofia Boutella) who's been holding a grudge for millennia… and she thinks he's just the man to help her wreak vengeance on an unsuspecting world.
 

What Works?

The Mummy has its fair share of "gotcha" moments, some rather lovely scenery, and entertaining fights—especially the ones involving zombies. The mummy herself is interesting to watch, especially her slow transformation from dried husk to almost human. The humor is rarely all that funny, but at least they tried.

Universal Pictures' Dark Universe is reviving classic monster characters for a new generation; The Mummy is their first offering. It's a fine idea, but...
 

What Doesn't?

Cruise's character. Tom squares his jaw and flashes his grin for all he's worth, but Nick is an empty shell. There's no chemistry between Nick and his supposed love interest, archeologist Jenny (Annabelle Wallis), because Nick is too fond of himself to have any emotions left over. I'm not so sure his big "sacrifice" at the end really is one. It's all just 'meh.'

The filmmakers tried to cram too much worldbuilding into this one movie, resulting in a hodgepodge of tropes. Not only do we have the mummy of the title, there are zombies. Okay, fine, but would devout Crusaders leave their tombs at the behest of an Egyptian princess? Doubtful. Then there's Russel Crowe's character, the leader of the mysterious Prodigium, Dr. Jekyll. Yes, that Dr. Jekyll. Again, okay, but there's an unnecessary scene when Mr. Hyde comes out to play that feels like filler. And on and on it goes.

The princess basically sells her soul to the devil in order to achieve ultimate power, but then she spends most of the movie trying to create an immortal boyfriend. Call me sensitive, but that feels lame, and a tad sexist to boot. Then Jenny, a supposedly competent historian, is portrayed as a useless bit of screaming fluff who constantly needs rescuing. Dark Universe may be reviving old monsters but the outdated stereotype of the helpless female needs a sarcophagus.
 

Christian Worldview Elements / Spiritual Themes

At its core, The Mummy is about greed. The princess was power-hungry; when she was cast aside she made a deal with the devil to get her position back. Nick is so determined to steal precious objects for personal gain that he puts everyone in danger. Dr. Jekyll claims he's trying to contain evil, but he'll stop at nothing to control it. The doctor also explains that "the god of death and destruction" who Ahmanet is so eager to rouse is known as Satan in the Bible.
 

CAUTIONS (may contain spoilers)


The Bottom Line

RECOMMENDED FOR: Monster movie buffs and diehard Tom Cruise fans.

NOT RECOMMENDED FOR: Anyone who doesn’t like monsters or characters with powers purportedly derived from the devil.

The Mummy, directed by Alex Kurtzman, opened in theaters June 9, 2017; available for home viewing September 12, 2017. It runs 110 minutes and stars Tom Cruise, Sofia Boutella, Annabelle Wallis and Russel Crowe. Watch the trailer for The Mummy here.
 

Susan Ellingburg spends most days helping to create amazing live events and most nights at the movies, at rehearsals, or performing with vocal ensembles in the Dallas area. This leaves very little time for cleaning house. A natural-born Texan, Susan loves all things British, Sunday afternoon naps, cozy mysteries, traveling with friends, and cooking like a Food Network star (minus the camera crew).

Publication date: June 9, 2017

Image courtesy: ©Universal

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