“The Mummy” is directed by Alex Kurtzman and in addition to Tom Cruise, stars; Annabelle Wallis, Sofia Boutella, Jake Johnson, and Russell Crowe. In this story, an ancient princess is discovered in a tomb deep under the dessert. When her crypt is pulled from its resting place she awakens. She will vow her revenge for the rightful destiny she felt was stolen from her, and with the power she possess, this could threaten human existence.
Now after seeing the trailers for this one I was a little curious. Admittedly they did present this film as a rather routine summer popcorn movie with loads of visual-effects, and Tom Cruise running. But Universal has some big plans for this shared monster universe, and with some high-profile names attached to possible future films, I was optimistic.
Much to my delight it starts out very entertaining as it builds the framework to the plot and the origins of Princess Ahmanet very effectively. It also introduces us to a cut-and-paste, adventurer in Tom Cruise’s character of Nick Morton, who certainly lands the charm with his every-man persona. The first half of this movie was very enjoyable. It was a nice blend of story-telling and action-sequences and it was serving up to be a surprisingly entertaining summer romp, with some substance.
Then the script makes a major decision roughly halfway through. That was to take the common formulaic story route for the rest of the run-time. Something that killed a lot of the intrigue it had built early on. Now, let’s get into what this film did very well. That being the special-effects first and foremost. While the story-line may have lost some ambition in the back end, the visual appeal took a clear precedence. This was a very crisp, well shot film, that delivers some awesome settings and backdrops as well as a variety of creative action-sequences from small to large-scale.
There was a nice blend of large scale special-effects and set-pieces. But still some incorporation of Cruise into the action department. He delivers some solid stunt-work, and they provide for some fight-sequences that do result in some intense moments. The camera work was well placed and puts you right into the center of the action, at the right times to get the most out enjoyment out of the scenes in my opinion.
I also really enjoyed Russell Crowe’s incorporation in to this story. Without going into any spoilers, I will leave it at that, and just say his performance was memorable. And from this small sample we get, he seems perfectly cast as Dr. Henry Jekyll. Sofia Boutella delivered a strong performance as well and felt perfect for the role. She conveyed all the rage, power, and seduction, of her character very effectively and in the end, Boutella delivers a memorable portrayal of the mummy.
Now on the downside I do feel she was wasted a bit and could have brought this film much more in terms of substance had she been written as more of a focal point. But she does certainly add a lot to this movie overall. Annabelle Wallis was also serviceable but there was nothing really memorable about her character as she comes off very routine. Her character felt like it could have been pulled and placed into a variety of story-lines. Much like Cruise’s character did.
Now as for Cruise. He carries this one along well enough I suppose. The formulaic story did him no favors but he certainly sells the action. He delivers the right doses of intensity, and lands some natural laughs to break the tension very well. But it was not a memorable performance and he does not elevate this material like he has been known to do in past films. Cruise lands some humorous lines but he didn’t capture that charisma Brenden Fraser did in the Stephen Sommers trilogy.
To me the main hindrance of this movie was the story. More specifically, its progression throughout the last half. It sets up the framework to a solid story, then for some reason goes through the motions from there on. It does land some fun organic laughs but it was oddly lighthearted and went to the joke basket way too often. The result a story that builds interest early on but fails to develop any natural personality for the characters that feel genuine.
Thus, you have actors and actresses who feel like they are delivering performances, rather than a story filled with characters who have substance. That, added with a predictable second half slowly kills the interest and energy of the entire film giving it an overly formulaic vibe. This wasn’t a horrible movie by any means, but it is somewhat of a forgettable one. It could serve as a serviceable intro to a larger collection of connected films. But on its own it lacks focus as it clearly tries to appeal to way too many target demographics.