Starring: Tom Cruise, Annabelle Wallis, Sofia Boutella
Director: Alex Kurtzman
Running Time: 110 mins
The Mummy is an American film about the awakening of a millenia-old mummy in modern-day London, and the efforts of an archaeologist and a former army sergeant to prevent her from wreaking death and destruction on the entire world.
It’s a real shame that this film is so poor, because it has all the potential and hallmarks to be a simply entertaining blockbuster. Although it’s a big-budget movie, it feels distinctly lazy and of poor quality, ranging from dull and incomprehensible dialogue to ugly visuals, poor performances and a general lack of fun throughout, all of which makes for a rather frustrating and dull watch from beginning to end.
What interests me most about this film, however, is how it fits into Universal’s slightly awkward ‘Dark Universe’. That is, a shared movie universe including all sorts of monsters and creatures, alongside 2014’s Godzilla and 2017’s Kong: Skull Island.
Despite a strong opening act, I found Godzilla an overly serious bore, while Kong: Skull Island surprised me with its surprisingly energetic and enjoyable, albeit not flawless, blockbuster vibes. That’s why I found The Mummy so frustrating, because it suffers from so many of the same problems as Godzilla, and shows a studio that’s not really doing enough to swiftly establish a shared universe, but rather churning out generic and lazy blockbusters.
Above all, this film takes itself way too seriously. From the beginning, it’s full of archaeological and theological mumbo-jumbo that makes absolutely no sense and does nothing to even try and make you understand what’s going on, something that becomes more and more frustrating when more fantastical and preposterous things start happening, and it’s almost impossible to get a grip on exactly why.
There are moments where the film tries to show it has a fun side, but they’re almost always incredibly forced and uncomfortable bits of dialogue featuring some sort of innuendo or other, rather than any swift or genuine comedy to lighten the mood of the movie as a whole. In short, the screenplay here is very poor, and does nothing to either excite, intrigue or even simply entertain you, but rather plough on with its incomprehensible story without giving the viewer a moment’s thought.
Another thing I disliked about The Mummy were its visuals. Now, on the one hand, the special effects here aren’t all that bad, but they’re not used in the right way to make a good blockbuster. Much like the Star Wars prequels, it’s a big-budget movie with big-budget CGI, but it’s all very dull and brown, and throws all sorts of rubbish and debris at you rather than using those special effects to enhance the viewing experience.
Finally, let’s look at the performances. Tom Cruise is always a good laugh in the lead role of a big Hollywood blockbuster, but The Mummy manages to make even him fairly dull. He’s definitely the bright spark of the whole movie, and very occasionally manages to show his own charisma, but restricted by the screenplay, and cast alongside a very wooden Annabelle Wallis, an underwhelming Russell Crowe, and a Sofia Boutella almost hidden by CGI and makeup, there’s not all that much fun to be had from the A-list actors here either, not to mention how paper-thin and uninteresting all of their characters are.
Overall, I was very disappointed by The Mummy. It may be a big Hollywood blockbuster, but it squanders all of its chances to be an entertaining and interesting watch, instead opting for an overly serious and dark atmosphere, unintelligible dialogue, ugly special effects and poor performances, which is why I’m giving it a 6.2.