This is a review of 2017’s film, The Mummy starring Tom Cruise, Russell Crowe, Annabelle Wallis and Sofia Boutella. Warning there will be spoilers ahead.
This is the first installment in Universals “Dark Universe” which will include other reboots including characters such as Frankenstein, Invisible Man, Van Helsing and the creature from the Black Lagoon among others.
Warning below is a brief summary of what happens in the film-skip further down to see my overall thoughts and review
The film follows the story of Tom Cruise’s character, Nick, who, whilst trying to steal treasure comes across an ancient Egyptian tomb in Iraq. Along with Annabelle Wallis’ character, Jennifer, discover the sarcophagus of Princess Ahmanet whose life has been expunged from history.
The film at the beginning shows Princess Ahmanet performing a dark spell so that she could rule Egypt but which would also allow Set to take physical form. She kills her father, his wife and their child before she is caught and stopped from bringing forth Set. She is then mummified alive.
As they transport her sarcophagus back, a flock of crows attack the plane causing severe damage. Before they crash Nick saves Jennifer with a parachute before he goes down with the plane.
He awakens in the morgue unharmed. He is drawn to the location of Princess Ahmanet. As they travel towards her location she begins to take human form by devouring people searching the crash site.
They discover that she has put a curse on Nick and once she has found a mystical weapon Princess Ahmanet she will stab Nick to bring forth the God of death Set.
After some brilliant action sequences they capture her and Nick along with Jennifer are met by Jennifer’s boss Russell Crowe. He plays the role of Dr Jekyll and his alter ego Mr Hyde.
The mummy/Princess Ahmanet manages to escape the prison of Dr Jekyll and now unleashes her full power as she searches for a crystal that will allow to summon set in Nick’s body. As Nick and Jennifer try to escape they are cornered in the tunnels and are captured by Princess Ahmanet and her mummy servants. As Nick tries to rescue Jennifer she is drowned by Princess Ahmanet.
Nick eventually stabs himself whilst battling with Princess Ahmanet. He possessed by Set. As Set he is seduced by Ahmanet until he spots the body of Jennifer. At this moment Nick manages to regain control and with the absorbed powers of Set he kills Ahmanet and bring Jennifer back to life.
However, before she can thank him he disappears fearing he will be overwhelmed by Set’s power. As we follow him in the desert Dr Jekyll and Jennifer discuss his future confirming Nick is now fused with Set and they will have to wait and see whether he succumbs to evil or whether he will fight evil with them
Review and thoughts
This is the first film into Universals reboot of their Dark Universe. This film will not win any Oscars but it was not made to win Oscars for storytelling. However, if you want two hours of action, entertainment and some humour it is a very good film. Tom Cruise who has made these sort of action films his home, excels as usual. I would love to see him return to a serious drama such as the Last Samurai but you cannot deny his ability to play action heroes.
Annabelle Wallis shows that she is also well suited to action films and is able to hang with Tom Cruise in the stunt sequences. She also adds a lot of humour to the film which is a welcome addition to this film. I hope that we get to see develop and play more lead roles moving forward as she has fantastic potential.
Sofia Boutella plays the Mummy/Princess Ahmanet very well. Whilst still Princess Ahmanet her acting skills are a welcome surprise following the critics savage reviews of the film. However, she stands out when she is in the form of the Mummy. Her ability to move her body in a hypnotizing yet disturbing ways brings an element to the mummy creature that has not been done previously. I would have liked to seen more of her characters ability as the mummy which at times was overlooked.
This film focuses on Tom Cruise and Annabelle Wallis but the real stand out performance was Russell Crowe as Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. He is able to transform between the two characters seamlessly make you feel uneasy whenever he is on-screen. There is that sense he is about to transform into his alter ego which leaves you on the edge of your seat.
The CGI and stunts in this film are fantastic. The progression since the las Mummy and the Mummy Returns is demonstrated and shows how when used correctly CGI can really enhance a film. As with all Tom Cruise films one of the attractions of this film is knowing that Tom Cruise and his cast mates did most of the stunts. It means you can truly acknowledge and respect the actors completing some of the zero gravity aeroplane. The stunts are incredible and his dedication to his craft cannot be criticised.
Overall I would rate this film 3.5 stars out of 5. It is a good introduction into the dark universe. However, for me personally, I would like to have seen more of Sofia Boutella’s Mummy and how she progresses from first being released from her sarcophagus to taking full human form. The film at times does try to introduce too much into the Dark Universe to the detriment to the storytelling of the Mummy but overall this film is very satisfying.
I feel the critics panning this film have been extremely harsh. Any film like this needs to be judged on what it is trying to be. This is meant to be a classic action film that allows audiences escape the real world and entertain them for two hours with over the top action. In that sense it is a roaring success. If you want to see an entertaining action film this summer I would definitely put this on the list. If you want to see a film that requires a deep amount of thought and emotional investment this is probably not the film for you. But it was not intended to be.