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"The Mummy" is a Fun, Confused Start to the Dark Universe: Review

Film Review: The Mummy


The Mummy (2017).jpg

When Universal announced its intention to revive its classic monster brand in a new cinematic universe called the Dark Universe, I was intrigued. Part of my interest came from me not being sure what movies about the Mummy, Frankenstein's Monster, and the Wolfman would look like in 2017. I definitely was not expecting them to look like a Tom Cruise action movie. But that's exactly what we got with The Mummy, the first installment of the Dark Universe. 

The movie revolves around Nick Morton (played by Cruise, of course), a treasure hunter with no moral compass to speak of, who unearths the tomb of a mummified Egyptian princess (Sofia Boutella). The Mummy then becomes obsessed with finding Nick and using him as a vessel to bring the god of death, Set, into the world. 

The Mummy suffers from trying to do too many things at once. It's a horror movie inside of an action-adventure with some comedy mixed in. The movie has six credited writers, so it's no wonder that it can feel like it's being pulled in multiple directions at once. Perhaps a more experienced director who would have been able to pull it together more cohesively. The director here is Alex Kurtzman, who is mainly known for writing blockbusters like Transformers. His only other outing as director was 2012's People Like Us, a melodrama starring Chris Pine and Elizabeth Banks with a low-key vibe that never really gets off the ground. 

Cruise is not bad, but right from the start his character feels ill-conceived. I got nervous a couple of times when he seemed to be lapsing into that thing I hate from the recent Mission: Impossible films where Cruise gestures and shrugs more than he actually speaks. Aside from Cruise, the rest of the cast is solid. Boutella can be quite scary as the Mummy. Much of the comedy comes from Jake Johnson's character, none of which I particularly cared for. The only instance of setting up the expanded universe is with the appearance of Russell Crowe as Dr. Henry Jekyll, who is now the leader of an organization called Prodigum, which specializes in tracking down monsters. If that means we'll be seeing Crowe in more Dark Universe films, I'm all for it. 

All of the issues I have mentioned should make The Mummy a disaster. But, somehow, it's not. It works far better than it should. True, it's far from perfect, but it is an enjoyable, effective popcorn movie. I may not be sure why this is an action movie, but the action sequences, in particular the plane crash scene, are really cool. The movie may not be sure of what it wants to be, but I'm taking it is as a testing ground for future Dark Universe films. The filmmakers threw a lot at the wall, and now have a better idea of what'll stick. The next Dark Universe entry, a remake of The Bride of Frankenstein, is set to come out in 2019. I, for one, will be looking forward to it. 

What did YOU think of The Mummy? Are YOU looking forward to more films set in the Dark Universe? Let me know in the comments!

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