Every time one watches a movie it’s advisable to judge it only for itself. Meaning, take the movie for what it is and what it is doing without allowing your previous opinions or similar films to judge. That said, it’s near impossible to do that especially if it’s a remake or a remake. The Mummy directed by Alex Kurtzman is a relatively entertaining film that mainly suffers from an identity crisis. The Mummy from 1999 starring Brendan Fraser managed to juggle comedy, action, and horror in a way that is still entertaining today. This new take on the old Universal monster doesn’t do as good a job juggling these tones.
The Mummy works despite its flaws
Nick Morton (Tom Cruise) accidentally uncovers an Egyptian tomb in the middle of Mesopotamia after stealing a map from Jenny Halsey (Annabelle Wallis). The tomb belongs to Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella) who made a deal with Set, the Egyptian God of death, and was cursed. Nick and Jenny unleash Ahmanet who seeks to finish her deal with Set and rule the world.
Jake Johnson is the comedic relief and that’s established pretty early on. The opening sequence that leads to the uncovering of the tomb is an odd shoot out sequence that culminates in an airstrike. There are so many bullets flying and our two heroes are on the run from countless insurgents. It’s not too far into this sequence that the tone is already sort of muddy. It’s hard to say if Johnson is the reason the tone doesn’t work or if Tom Cruise’s earnestness makes his character less believable. However, it’s not too far into the film that the biggest issue the film will have is established.
Universal doesn’t attempt to hide it’s new Dark Universe either. This movie is trying to build the universe and it’s established when the traditional Universal title card rotates into the new Dark Universe one. That doesn’t help this film any of course. There is a major moment in the film where they step out of the story of the Mummy and introduce the idea that other monsters exist. While it’s actually the stories intersecting, it does feel like a departure from the film that is currently playing.
It’s not all bad…
There are positives of this film. The special effects, while a bit large, are predominantly well done. There are some genuinely scary moments and some funny ones. Cruise and Wallis have some solid chemistry and Boutella really shines. Fans of the old Universal Monster movies will enjoy a few easter eggs when Russell Crowe’s character gets a more formal introduction.
Ultimately, the film isn’t as bad as people have been saying but it’s not as good as the one from 1999. It isn’t one that should be skipped if you’re a fan of the monster, the actors, or expanded universes. There is content in the movie that is enjoyable. The Mummy earns the Decent Watch rating.