This one’s worth skipping.

“Yeah but it’s fun, dude.”

Usually with film remakes, you cannot really deduce a reason for its existence besides the bleak reality that cashing in on people’s familiarity with a franchise is easier than conjuring new ideas. But the reason for this particular remake, while still involving money, is that it is meant as a part of yet another shared Cinematic Universe, this one a call-back to the great-grandfather of Cinematic Universes – the Universal Monster movie series, which ran from the 1920s to the 1950s and pitted the likes of Frankenstein against the likes of Dracula and The Wolfman.

Mummy? More like Mama, amirite fellas?

So, is The Mummy then set in the same world as Dracula Untold or is it a whole new try? Either way, I can tell no lessons have been learned. The Mummy is shockingly incompetent, even bearing in mind its status as not only a remake but an addition to a Hollywood trend that stopped being interesting after the second Avengers (if not earlier). Its usage of ancient clichés and archetypes lacks all self-awareness, it sets things up without paying them off, and its visual effects and action are woefully garden-variety.

We learn the origins of Princess Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella), who in days long past sold her soul to the Egyptian god of disorder Set (Javier Botet) and murdered her family, enraged that the birth of her brother would cost her the inheritance of her father’s throne. However, she was found out by her father’s priests, who mummified and entombed her as punishment before she could give Set a physical form. As you’ve probably surmised, since this is a very unsurprising movie, she returns centuries later as the “Mummy” of the title, seeking a new host for her master Set. She also has an “Enchantress from Suicide Squad” look going on, which is always a great sign.

This all happens when her tomb is disturbed by an ex-soldier played by Tom Cruise and his assistant played by Jake Johnson, as well as a shady archeologist played by Annabelle Wallis. There is also Courtney B. Vance as the superior of Cruise’s character, and Russell Crowe as – get ready for this – a character named Dr. Henry Jekyll, who struggles with a beastly alternate persona which he simply he refers to as, you guessed it, “Mr. Hyde”. So this is really happening.

The Mummy is so unintentionally goofy in some areas and tediously standard in others that you will find yourself missing the camp of the Brendan Fraser movies, not to mention the original Boris Karloff film, or even the Hammer Film versions I’ve yet to see. I don’t know why Tom Cruise hasn’t gotten better at picking his movies but I suppose he’ll take any oppurtunity to stand on a box or run from something dangerous.

Some critics have complained that The Mummy has problems with its portrayal of female characters. I would argue it isn’t kind to anyone involved, as much as I love seeing a gifted contortionist/”monster actor” like Javier Botet get bigger roles in bigger movies.

This new franchise of monster movies – which, like the classic collection it is inspired by, is being produced by Universal Pictures – will be called the “Dark Universe” and I don’t know that there are many people left who aren’t tired of the fad. There may be good entries, there may be no entries, I don’t know. Look at it this way, though. At least we’re finally given the chance of seeing all these classic monsters and horror icons in the same movie together, just like we did in Monster Squad, The League, Van Helsing, and, oh yeah, did I mention the Universal horror films from the 30s and 40s? About time we saw something like that, isn’t it?

Did anything good come out of the creation of this film? Well, the Wikipedia page tells me this: “On December 20, 2016, IMAX released a trailer with the wrong audio track attached; this unintentionally prompted the creation of Internet memes and video montages featuring the mistakenly included audio track, which was missing most of the sound effects and instead featured Tom Cruise’s grunts and screams.”

Alas, I managed to find no such trailer for this post, so please enjoy this regular one. If it looks interesting, then by all means go see it. If you require something more original, stay in tonight and pop in your Blu-ray copy of the new Beauty and the Beast. Hey, wait a second…

1.5/5 whatever

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