So, The Mummy returns…. and I’m not talking about the 2001 sequel to the original 1999 movie staring Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz. No no no, I make reference to the reboot of said original franchise which swaps out Fraser for Cruise, the Desert for London, and has a bigger picture in mind than stopping unintentionally resurrected evil Egyptians.
In Ancient Egypt, Princess Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella) is beautiful, deadly and primed to take her fathers place on the throne until her destiny is snatched by the birth of her half-brother. Striking a deal with the Egyptian god Set, Princess Ahmanet is given a dagger that transforms and allows her to slaughter her entire family reassuring her succession. However before she can complete her end of the bargain by bringing Set into our world she is caught and buried alive.
In the present, soldier and thief Nick Morton (Tom Cruise) and his sidekick Chris Vail (Jake Johnson) stumble across an ancient tomb and think they’ve hit the jackpot. Unfortunately their prize is seized by archeologist Jenny Halsey (Annabelle Wallis) who soon recognises the tomb as an ancient prison and is quick to take possession of the sarcophagus that Nick foolishly releases.
From that moment things go from bad to worse as Nick learns that Princess Ahmanet the prisoner he set free, wants to thank him by sacrificing his body, allowing Set to take host. Nick has to rely on his wits as a thief, and the help Dr Henry Jekyll (Russell Crowe), head of the Prodigium, an underground society who hunts the supernatural if he wants to make it out alive.
I liked where they started going with Nick Morton’s character by making him the selfish dastardly thief and liar, in it for the money everything else be damned, which gave him an antihero vibe. However that was quickly ruined as they didn’t invest into this characteristic with anything more than a few shallow phrases, before he did a complete 180 at some undefinable point in the movie.
Jack Johnson was clearly brought on board for his signature Nick Miller tone and obvious comic relief…. but we were okay with this. The comedy in the movie, as funny as it was at times, didn’t mesh with the movie as a whole, instead it just seemed to flit in and out.
I don’t want to use the word hate, but I hated Jenny. I cannot remember the last time I saw a more pointless female lead. She spent the movie calling Nick’s name and standing around waiting for him to do things instead of using her initiative to do things herself. She never expressed any fear over their predicament and her knowledge of Princess Ahmanet was rendered obsolete as soon as Nick was able to tap into the past.
Okay. I see now that Jenny is an unfortunate victim of poor writing. Bland and unable to jump without first asking how high?, her character was created to be an accessory to Nick Morton she doesn’t have her own passion or drive and therefore personality.
As I always say: comparisons can’t help but be made, and it’s clear this movie was less of a reboot and at the heart of it, more of a remake as the stories were two stories were far too similar: The accidental resurrection of Princess Ahmanet (Imotep), and her choosing Nick (Evelyn) as the vessel that will give Set (Anck-su-Namun) a physical form.
Considering the intention was to reboot the franchise, they should have gone with a different premise. After the unmissable shot of the Book of the Dead from the original movie, (hinting that past events happened in the same world) history basically repeated itself… but without reference to the fact it was repeating itself… which makes it worse.
I liked the tasteful inclusion of supernatural paraphernalia as we moved through the Prodigium HQ, and after not a lot of research I learnt that The Mummy (2017) was built to be the gateway into the The Dark Universe. A new franchise exploring the world of monsters and myths from stories and legends. Despite the fact that the idea of opening up a shared world is taken directly from the MCU cash cow playbook, I still think it’s pretty cool. It means an alternative for audiences to the seemingly never-ending production of Comic Book based movies.