I have always been a huge fan and supporter of two or more characters from different mythologies unexpectedly coming together and co-inhabiting a common universe. This is why, even if it’s not the greatest film, I am a fan of Freddy vs. Jason; even more so, why I am a huge fan of the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe (different genre, I know). Needless to say, I was extremely excited to hear news of another possible attempt to do this type of crossover in the horror genre. What I’m referring to is Universal Studios and their attempt to breath new life into their classic monsters — Frankenstein’s monster, Dracula, the mummy, etc — and perhaps even make films featuring more than one of these iconic characters at a time. My excitement waned a bit as the casting for these new projects was revealed, but I still had faith and wanted to give this new Dark Universe a chance. How did Alex Kurtzman’s The Mummy fare and did is it a good starting off point for future films?
Nick Morton (Tom Cruise) is a soldier who just so happens to also be a master looter and thief. After getting into some trouble with his partner, Chris Vail (Jake Johnson, TV’s “New Girl”), an ancient Egyptian tomb is unearthed. Nick, Vail, and archaeologist Jenny (Annabelle Wallis, Annabelle) make the mistake of looking further into the tomb and inadvertently resurrect a millenia old princess, Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella, Monsters: Dark Continent). Now, together, they must destroy the evil curse that the princess brings with her, before all of humanity is doomed.
While I do consider myself somewhat of a movie buff, I have admittedly not seen too many films starring Tom Cruise. Sure, I’ve seen some of the Mission: Impossible flicks, stuff like The Last Samurai, but not too many other major films in his long filmography. I’m just not a huge fan of his work, I guess. With that said, I was somewhat turned off as trailers and movie spots for The Mummy started popping up on the internet and TV. I know I’m not the only one that felt this way, as well. Still, I made my decision and I would still give this new monster re-telling its fair chance.
Surprisingly, I was quite impressed with Cruise’s work in this one. Not totally convinced at first, it did take some time for me to think of him as a believable “master thief,” but by the end of the film, I had no problem thinking of Nick Morton that way. In addition to the star power behind Cruise, The Mummy featured some other stand-out performances. I really enjoyed what Sofia Boutella did with her role as the film’s antagonist, the ancient Ahmanet. Not only is Boutella stunning, she is also a powerful actress who can tell a lot to the viewers with very little dialog. Another favorite of mine is, of course, veteran actor, Russell Crowe. As head of the monster-hunting organization, Prodigium, and the infamous movie/literature character, Dr. Henry Jekyll, he was amazing. I love seeing his transformation between Jekyll and Hyde, which further escalated my excitement for what this Dark Universe may bring in the future. Can we see some more interactions between monsters? Will it be like the old films where the wolfman met Frankenstein‘s monster? We shall wait and see…
The Mummy is a huge Hollywood production with a budget of around $345 million. This again, almost automatically, turns most diehard horror fans off to any possibility of cheering it on or rooting for more like it. There are tons of snobs in the horror community and big budget flicks take the brunt of the hatred quite often. There are a ton of upsides to having a huge budget, however. One of them being that the film is almost guaranteed to look amazing. I can say that this is indeed the case here.
The digital effects look great throughout the film’s 1 hour and 50 minute runtime. Things like hordes of spiders and crows and humans having the life sucked out of them all looked rather impressive, making it easy for me to get into the classic monster mood for my viewing. Also, while not a huge fan after initially watching the trailer, I became one of how Ahmanet looked — The ancient hieroglyph markings on her flesh and the remaining mummified wrappings strewn across her body made for an incredible modern-day horror villain. It’s certainly not your parent’s mummy. That’s for sure!
Overall, even though I enjoyed it, I can say that The Mummy is more for the casual horror fan. While that is true, I think the most hardcore horror heads can get into this one, too, if they just let themselves. Put aside your hatred for big Hollywood blockbusters and try to get into the mood for a new take on some old favorites. With strong performances, great special effects, and some cool reiterations of classic monsters, I believe there is something here for everyone.
I recommend giving this one a fair chance, even if you’ve already vowed to never do so. You can pick up a copy on digital, available now, or on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD, and even watch it on demand this coming Tuesday, September 12, from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.
I give The Mummy 4 ancient Egyptian gods of death out of 5.