Metroplague was lucky enough to catch a late night advanced screening of Universal’s “first” foray into their Dark Universe, The Mummy. Going into this movie we had seen critics and other fans alike jump all over this movie like a plague of locusts. Based on the buzz, we thought it was going to be bad and went in with the lowest expectations possible for the latest reimagining of the classic story.
It could have been the nearly empty theater or the late night Sour Patch Kids kicking in, but the movie wasn’t horrible. Yes, it was a bad movie as a whole (we will get to that later), but it was worth at least one watch and did get us excited for the forthcoming Dark Universe films Bride of Frankenstein and The Invisible Man. However, Universal could have chosen a better weekend to release the movie, because moviegoers are still on a Wonder Woman high and this film is most likely to get lost in its own sand storms.
The plot revolves around a team of mercenaries who specialize in illegally collecting from archeological sites and sell their loot for a profit. They, along with generic female sidekick (one more point for Wonder Woman), eventually awaken this film’s version of the classic monster. Special effects gags ensue, bad jokes are told, and audiences are constantly given not-so-subtle hints for the films to come by Dr. Jekyl, played perfectly by Russell Crowe.
Yes, this really sounds like I’m unraveling the movie but really, I’m not. Considering that this could potentially be the fourth time that Universal has tried to set up a Monster universe (Wolfman, Dracula Untold, I-Frankenstein), this one could stick solely based on the lore that surrounds the plot. As much as we would like to see Benicio Del Toro and Luke Evans return, the box office failures of their films prove unlikely and we may be seeing newer renditions of Dracula and the Wolfman in the future.
So, what was there to like about The Mummy? Quite a bit really; the direction was done well, the cast was overall fine, the film looked beautiful, the special effects were fun, and even some of the jokes landed. The biggest problem with The Mummy is that underneath what could have been a big Summer hit, is the Achille’s Heel of a poorly written script, scripted by no less than 6 writers. The Mummy’s tone is all over the place and unlike its previous franchise, it does not seem to understand its purpose. There is one scene that literally goes from humor to grim, then back to violent humor, in the span of less than a minute.
As far as casting goes, it’s evident now why the movie needed Tom Cruise as the face. However, we would say that he was miscast, and we would have preferred to have Brendan Fraser back in a whole new franchise. Sofia Boutella (Kingsman) killed it as the Mummy, Ahmanet, and Jake Johnson (Jurrasic World, New Girl) served as an appropriate comic relief. The one glaring role that just didn’t need to be involved in the movie was Annabelle Wallis’ completely useless Jenny (One more point for Wonder Woman).
With all of that said, here is the verdict. The movie is a mess, but it can be a fun mess if you can just turn your brain off for a couple of hours. If you haven’t seen Wonder Woman yet, go see that first. However, if you have some movie ticket money to spend and want to see something new, loud and pretty to look at, this could be a good pick for you.