Oh The Mummy. When Brendan Fraser did it in 1999, it was a wonderfully camp, kinda horror kinda action thing. This The Mummy is something else. I was expecting to hate the new The Mummy. Flashy high budget remakes never work out well unless they’re musicals with Emma Watson. But I’m here to tell you I actually fully flat-out loved about 75% of it. It was beautiful, the design was lovely, it was beautifully shot, the stunts were amazing and I loved the CGI, it seemed to work well. Of course, it wasn’t enough – the best milkshake in the world is still no good if 25% of it is shit.
An ancient princess is awakened from her crypt beneath the desert, bringing with her malevolence grown over millennia, and terrors that defy human comprehension.
I’m not a fan of Tom Cruise. I used to be – back in the Top Gun days I was gaga for him, but that was the 80s. I mention this because he seems to still be trying to cash in on a sex appeal angle and he hasn’t been sexy to me since Jerry Maguire. His role in The Mummy was clearly meant to be kindof a ‘boy toy’ thing and it just wasn’t working. Not for lack of trying, though, and he looks great for 55 but he’s neither Daniel Craig nor Hugh Jackman so when he tries for raw sex appeal, it’s just…. off. He can’t play the lovable rogue anymore and he shouldn’t try. This role would have done much better with a younger, more handsome man. Might I recommend Oliver Stark?
The rest of the casting was great. Sofia Boutella was perfect as the mummy, she had an intensity and menace that worked so well. I liked Jake Johnson as the reluctant sidekick. Annabelle Wallis was beautiful and convincing. I even liked Russell Crowe, for the first time ever. That might have been because I love Jekyll and Hyde more than anything, but fair’s fair, Russell did a good job. This may well have been my favorite iteration of Jekyll and Hyde. And most of all I liked Ahmanet’s first boyfriend, I think he was Erol Ismail (so handsome). The Mummy did not skimp on the fan service, bless its heart, and that makes me like it more. Also worth noting, it totally passed The Bechdel Test.
I could do that with every aspect of this film, show examples of where talented people worked really hard and came out with truly excellent material only to have it thrown away in the next scene by something stupid. It felt very much like they were trying to make a different movie, a good movie and were just… prevented. Like the humor – there were some truly funny moments, great jokes written into the scene but the delivery was so bad that I hadn’t realized that they were kidding until it was too late and them funny moment passed. That happened more than once.
There was so much “_____ doesn’t work that way”, maybe more than I’ve ever seen in one film (war, archeology, plane crashes, ancient languages, the military, eyes, spiders, embalming… and much more) The Mummy operates on dream logic, its plot devices have little to do with how the world actually works. The plot knew where it what it needed and made sure it got to every necessarily point, logistics and character be damned. Still, it was entertaining and some of the inconsistencies were explained. After all, the world where mummies have supernatural power has some fairly important differences from our own. But it was when The Mummy stopped following its own rules, that’s where it lost me. I got the feeling the writers didn’t know how to end the thing (or maybe they did but got overruled). I found they went for an ending they didn’t earn, and it was not satisfying.
So is The Mummy worth watching? No. Not in any way. But I heard this is the first of several monster movies and I love that crap. So I’m going to predict that the next one is going to be better. This one could have been so good and it kept getting in its own way. Or maybe the movie was cursed, who knows? But all those people saying the Brendan Fraser Mummy is the best one? They are correct.