For roughly the entire month of August, my brother and I traveled all around Japan seeing the sights and scarfing down on some incredible food. While staying in Okinawa for a few days, we decided to venture to the local theatre to see what was cooking. Unfortunately, the two films I would be into rewatching, Wonder Woman and War For The Dawning Of The Rise For The Planet Of The Apes, weren’t out yet so we had a choice between The Mummy or the latest Pirates movie… We chose The Mummy and quite honestly, any bit of enjoyment I felt for it was due to the fact that I was vacationing in a foreign country.
(For those interested in my Japan adventures, scroll down to the end of this review!)
The Mummy strove to kick start Universal’s Dark Monster Universe by featuring Tom Cruise doing all the things that make Tom Cruise Tom Cruise. The end product results in Super Cruise teaming up with Jane Seymour after they’ve had sex once (and apparently fallen madly in love following it) and fighting an ancient force who I kept referring to as “Imhotep.” The film also stars Jake Johnson and Russell Crowe doing his best Dr. Strangelove impression. It is directed by Alex Kurtzman (People Like Us)
So I have certainly seen worse things in my life. Universal’s attempt at getting into the modern cinematic universe game unfortunately falls flat which is truly a shame because the premise of The Mummy is actually pretty interesting. I’m obviously aware that the iconically classic 1999 Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz-led film of the same name bares no cinematic connection with this one, however if there was some way to harness even half the fun & heart featured in The Mummy (1990) and shove it down the throat of 2017’s, I would’ve enjoyed it much more.
As I mentioned, 2017’s The Mummy is not the worst thing in the world to spend an afternoon watching. I can certainly tell the $125 million budget went toward the action set pieces and Tom Cruise’s attempt at being a roguish lovable scoundrel. These set pieces were visually pleasing and featured occasional bouts of humour which caused some nice sharp air being blown out of my nose. Sofia Boutella is easily the strongest aspect to the film, her performance as the mummy Ahmanet contained a (somewhat) clear motivation and during the sequences which asked for more out of her emotionally, she definitely went there. Virtually every other aspect, however, was a jumbled, cringey mess with an overabundance of expository flashbacks and so many goddamn jump scares the Paranormal Activity franchise probably sued.
I understand why Tom Cruise is cast in this, but for the love of Gods, I hate that he is cast in this.
We are beaten over the head with the idea that he is a character type I despise: the roguish and brazen wacky rascal who throws the rule book out of the window because RULES ARE FOR NERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRDS. Listen, if you’re in an ancient cave thing where you’re unsure what anything is or how valuable it has the potential to be, why not just take your weapon out and shoot at something… We don’t have time for being safe, damn it! Just shrug your shoulders and whip it out! While I love Cruise’s early works and actually enjoy the Ethan Hunt character in the Mission: Impossible films, The Mummy becomes unbearable at parts because of Tom Cruise. I get the foreign market appeal he brings and honestly, the film performed as well as it did because of Cruise’s name so I do not place any blame on the studio for making that creative decision… I can rightfully hate them for that decision but hey, studios gotta eat.
The secondary characters are serviceable but are really not that great either. Jake Johnston’s comical sidekick character from American Werewolf In London became mind-numbingly annoying as the film progressed and Russell Crowe who actually isn’t a terrible Jekyll/Hyde – He just kind of sleep walks his way through until the moment where SPOILER Hyde comes out and his constant need to beat himself out of it reminded me of a shitty impression of Peter Sellers’ legendary portrayal of Dr. Strangelove. END SPOILER
Annabelle Wallis… Man. She was given absolutely nothing to work with. I actually love her performance as Henry VIII’s third and most beloved wife, Jane Seymour in the Showtime series The Tudors. It wasn’t the most arduous of roles to prep for, however the chemistry she shared with Jonathan Rhys-Meyers and most importantly, the sheer elegance she brought to that role still sticks with me even years after her character… departed (history spoiler: he didn’t behead Jane). Ever since then, I’ve been waiting for her to nab a role that showcases and challenges what she’s made of and this role as Dr. Damsel In Distress is simply not it. I don’t need every female character in an action movie to remind us that she’s an independent woman who don’t need any assistance because regardless how sharp your skills are, you may eventually need some form of help whenever a difficult situation arises. What I do need is for her to be treated like a human being whose hair and makeup become just a tad disarrayed when they’re in a car rolling down a hill.
If you take her character out of the film completely, virtually no form of story progression would occur because she’s used as that classic damsel who gets into trouble and oh look! Thank God our trusty handsome rogue is here to save her and progress the story! The entire final act comes slumping along because she consistently finds herself in need of assistance from Tom Cruise. You know, I do appreciate that her character was seemingly not having any of Tom’s shit during the beginning of the film, it stunned me when she actually stood up for herself when this dork of a man was running his mouth rather than her finding it endearing. Here I go, bringing up 1999 again but Rachel Weisz’s character of Evie in that film served a purpose beyond being O’Connell’s love interest. Their bond gradually developed as the film progressed, her intelligence was as vital a part to her as her beauty was and holy hell, was that beauty beautimous.
Side note: If you’re familiar with the Roanoke season of American Horror Story, you’ll know that one of the common complaints to come out of that season was virtually every scene where Queen Sarah Paulson‘s character would scream out “MATT! MAAAAAAAAAAATT!” Since her character was seemingly in danger at every turn. We’d constantly be hit with a screaming “MATT!” which eventually turned into a meme itself. The Mummy does a great job in containing its own MATT with Wallis’ character screaming out “NICK! NIIIIIIIIIICK!” at every single turn.
Alright let me wrap this up here, there were moments when I had to plug my ears a bit because the fast paced music suddenly slowed down and I knew a jump scare was imminent. I don’t want shitty jump scares in my action movies. I don’t want shitty jump scares in my horror movies. I think every film should be allotted one shitty jump scare and then it tries to find a way of making the movie scary without thrusting its erect audio into my ear drums. There are also some logical inconsistencies toward the final battle I couldn’t shake and if the Dark Universe is going full steam ahead with their already planned slate (STOP DOING THAT, MOVIE STUDIOS. STOP PLANNING YOUR 10 MOVIES WHEN THE FIRST ONE HASN’T EVEN GONE INTO PRODUCTION) they must try to do as much revamping as they can to avoid another gorgeously empty shell of a picture.
If you’re looking for a film with a great performance by Sofia Boutella and want to roll your eyes while watching CG porn, check out The Mummy (2017).
The Mummy receives 2/5 Matt Damon heads.
featured image credit: Universal Pictures
As mentioned, my brother and I visited the amazingly stupendous country of Japan for about 29 days. The cities we visited included Tokyo, Osaka, Okinawa Island, Nara, Kyoto, Kobe and I’m pretty sure that’s all. Major highlights ranged from feeding deer at Nara Park to feeding our faces with some of the finest cuisine I have ever had in my life.
The quick slideshow below shows a few pictures taken throughout our visit. Among the captivating places we visited, we journeyed to where Bob whispered a final goodbye to Charlotte at the Shibuya Crossing and also endured a sweltering day at Universal Studios Japan. If you have the means and are interested in stepping into a world of pure inebriation, make your next vacation be Japan.
6/5 Damon heads.