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TAC Reviews...The Mummy

 

Released in 2017 this film proudly starts with the name Dark Universe so it seems that like most other studios, Universal is trying to slice out a piece of the shared universe pie that Marvel have been noshing on since 2008. This is a new film, with a new Mummy that has no links to the previous The Mummy film released in 1999 starring Brandon Fraser and directed by Steven Sommers. I am going to try and keep the comparisons to that film as minimal as possible but it will be difficult considering that one was good, and this one is…well, lets not get ahead of ourselves

 

The Mummy Poster

 

I think the title of this film is a little misleading…”The Mummy” kind-of indicates that that film will be about the titular Mummy, when in fact a more accurate title would have been Tom Cruise’s The Mummy, or TOM CRUISE stars in The Mummy, maybe Tom Cruise Vs The Mummy, or simply A Tom Cruise Film…I could keep going on but I am sure you get the point. Basically this is a vessel for Tom Cruise to take centre stage against an ancient Egyptian Evil.

 

Damn, despite my best efforts I am getting ahead of myself, so let me reign things back in a bit and set the scene for you…

 

After we see Crusader Knights bury an Egyptian ruby in 1157 AD that same tomb is discovered in modern day London. We then move to the New Kingdom era of Ancient Egypt. Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella) is the Pharaoh’s daughter, and she was to be the next ruler of Egypt. Sadly her future reign is disrupted by the birth of a second child, a son, who would take the throne when the Pharaoh died. Furious at the prospect of no longer being ruler, Ahmanet killed her parents and brother in their sleep. She then made a pact with the God of Death, Set. If she gave him a vessel through which to return to the world the pair could rule the world together as King and Queen. Ahmanet selected her Chosen but the ritual was interrupted before it could be completed, her Chosen was killed and Ahmanet was mummified alive for her crimes.

 

Cutting ahead to modern Iraq, Tom Cruise (he’s called Nick in the film but no one here is seeing the character they are seeing Tom Cruise) and his friend Chris (Jake Johnson) are two soldiers that are seeking to rob anything they can of value and sell it when they get home. Naturally they stumble across Ahmanet’s tomb and very quickly an archaeologist named Jenny (Annabelle Wallis) is on the scene. It turns out that she and Cruise had a one-night stand a few nights before hand and he stole one of her maps, which lead him to the tomb. She is naturally angry with him and makes various small penis and premature ejaculation jabs to make sure that he really feels bad for what he did.

 

The three descend into the tomb and discover mercury all over the place, and Cruise ends up raising a sarcophagus from a pit at the base of the tomb. He has a vision of Ahmanet in the desert, he comes out of his trace when spiders attack them all and one bites Chris.

 

The location comes under attack and the three are forced to abandon the tomb, but not before they attach the ancient sarcophagus to a helicopter by a rope after Jenny refuses to leave without it.

 

Ending up onboard a military cargo plane bound for England, where Jenny is concerned that the sarcophagus is transported carefully despite being dangled from a helicopter when they pulled it out of the tomb. Cruise continues to hallucinate whilst Chris grows increasingly sick from the spider bite, he looks at death’s door but no one thinks to ask if he is alright or find him any medical assistance. He ultimately turns on his colleagues, killing his commanding officer, only to be shot and killed by Cruise in self-defence.

 

A sudden swarm of birds crash into the plane, killing both pilots as they shatter the windows, which causes the plane to spin out of control. Cruise gives Jenny a parachute, and she safely escapes the aircraft. But alas it is too late for Cruise and he goes down with the plane…thus ends Cruise’s involvement in the film. A little surprising that he would so easily step aside to allow Boutella to takes centre stage as the Mummy resurrects…

 

…okay, did any of you believe that is what actually happens…???

 

…Anyone??

 

Not surprisingly Cruise awakens in the morgue, unable to understand how he is alive, and whilst haunted by his visions, he come to realise that his is Ahmanet’s new Chosen. He is under her influence and if he cannot break her control then through him the God of Death will be released and Ahmanet will finally have her reign over the world…

 

Let me give you a quick history lesson, Universal actually had a shared universe a while ago with their classic movie monsters like Dracula, the Invisible Man, the Wolf Man and so on all being in various black and white movies. So perhaps it is only fitting that they should be starting again with a new classic monster shared universe, unfortunately if that is the case, it is a shame that the first chapter is such a weak opening instalment.

 

Like I said the film is basically about Tom Cruise, and Ahmanet spends the majority of the film being chained up whilst he battles to break from her influence. Plus the film states that Set was the Egyptian God of Death when in fact Set was the God of Chaos and Destruction, Osiris was the God of Death and the Underworld. I know it is a small detail but Stargate SG-1 was capable of getting the history of the Ancient Egyptian Gods the Gua’uld were pretending to be right so why couldn’t this film?? I read that the titular villain in X-Men Apocalypse lead to a rewrite in which the Mummy’s gender was changed from male to female in order to not be confused with Apocalypse from that film. Thing is that like I said the Mummy itself is largely irrelevant to the proceedings and even other big named Hollywood stars barely get a look in on what is happening.

 

Russell Crowe stars as none other than Henry Jekyll, I assumed that this would be to set up a future Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde stand-alone film. I also assumed that he would not yet have his twisted alter-ego, and perhaps it might be events of this film that somehow led to him creating the potion which lead to his transformation. Sadly this was not the case, Jekyll has already taken the potion to the point where he is unable to control the transformation, and injects himself with something to prevent himself changing. The things is that there are a couple of moments where he has to prepare multiple injections to prevent the transformation and at one point he doesn’t make it and Hyde appears. My question is though, why does he not carry a pre-prepared syringe with him at all times?? If I had an evil alter-ego that is what I would do. I love the book The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and have seen versions of the character that I have liked before (James Nesbitt in Jekyll springs instantly to mind) but Crowe’s version…[I’m wincing a little]…at one point he refers to himself as “Eddie”. This may not sound like a big deal but there is no one in the history of the world named “Eddie” that has ever been in the least bit intimidating. It honestly made me laugh, but I don’t think it was a moment when I was supposed to be laughing. So not only has this film managed to steal all of the menace from the Mummy itself, it has also managed to turn another iconic monster into a laughing stock.

 

Speaking of laughing stocks, after Chris dies he returns as a ghost of sorts to try and help Cruise understand what is happening to him. This is exactly what happens to Jack in American Werewolf in London, he is killed by the wolf and returns to David (who is now a werewolf himself) in various states of decay telling David that he needs to kill himself to prevent himself transforming into a wolf and killing people. In this film Chris is supposed to be the comic relief but his presence serves no purpose other than to remind the audience that this is Cruise’s show not anyone else’s.

 

Basically none of the characters in the film are the least bit likable, and not one is in the least bit interesting or fun to watch.

 

Cruise is Ahmanet’s Chosen, because he was the one that raised her sarcophagus, but he seems to be reluctant to say the least to be the vessel of Set and Ahmanet’s Chosen. So here’s an idea, why not chose someone else?? It’s not established that the one who raised the sarcophagus would be her chosen so find someone else. Hell Ahmanet isn’t unattractive so why doesn’t she just head into an London pub on a Saturday night, pull some random guy, tell him she’ll have sex with him if he agrees to be her Chosen. Have sex, kill him, resurrect Set, conquer the world…job done. But no Cruise is her chosen and so she has to spend the entire film trying to convince him to join her so that they can rule the world together.

 

Unfortunately for Ahmanet, Cruise and Jenny have a “connection” because they have boned already, and whilst she is bitter about the whole thing it becomes clear that she also thinks he might ultimately be a good man. Thing is if she is the kind of woman that would go to bed with a random soldier she just met it is highly unlikely he is the first one night stand she’s ever had. So why is she so bitter?? I mean be angry that he stole the map, making penis and ejaculation jokes are just what women do because they think making fun of a guys manhood or prowess in bed will humiliate them in front of other men. I have a news flash for you ladies, it doesn’t. All it does is make you seem petty. Plus Jenny herself is a whiny pain in the ass, and typically she is prepared to risk the lives of everyone around her because they have found something archeologically significant.

 

When they need to evacuate the tomb she tells Cruise that “[he must] give [me] time or explain to your superiors why you left me behind” so everyone else is put in danger in order not to leave her behind…if that scenario happened in Brian this is how the conversation would go.

 

Superior: “So why did you leave her behind?”

 

Me: “Well sir, I attempted to evacuate her when the rebel forces gathered, stressing how dangerous it would be to remain, but she refused to leave. I decided the lives of the rest of my men were more important than one stubborn archaeologist who refused to leave, so we left her behind”

 

Superior: “Makes sense”

 

End of explanation.

 

Why do people in films like this always threaten to stay if they don’t get their own way, and more to the point why does no one ever leave them behind?? I’m sure after a couple of archaeologists get captured by fanatics and end up rotting in some basement for the rest of their lives or get beheaded on the internet the remaining community of archaeologists might be a bit more willing to evacuate with everyone else in the future.

 

Anyway…

 

Let’s try and talk about Ahmanet, well what can I really say??

 

I re-watched 1999’s The Mummy recently (or half of it before Abbie got bored and started bugging me to put something else on) and in that film Imhotep is fucking scary. His withered body, and eyeless corpse were creations of CGI but he looked like someone that had been rotting in a tomb for thousands of years. He mercilessly hunted down his cursed victims. When he is returned to life his grotesque appearance made you believe that you were watching an ancient walking corpse. He regenerated by draining the life out of those that had opened a cursed chest whilst they screamed in agony, whereas here Ahmanet absorbs life-force from random victims by kissing them…

 

 

Yes because of course she does. You know because she is a woman, so there couldn’t possibly be any other way that a female character could consume the life-force from someone. It isn't possible that just by holding them in her hands she could draw their life into herself. Or thrust her hand into their chests to drain their still beating hearts…no, no, no, she has to kiss them. Thankfully Imhotep from the previous The Mummy film didn’t need to do that, or things might have got a tad awkward for Fraser and co…

 

The scene in the trailers, massive sandstorms consuming London, that is about all we see of her. Jekyll works for a shady organisation that is fully aware that monsters exist, and are more than capable of restraining her. So that is what they do for the majority of the film, she is chained up whilst everyone focuses on Cruise, and how he is going to free himself from her control or trying to sacrifice him so Set can never be released.

 

I have read that in Cruise’s contract that he had full authority to basically do anything he wanted. He could have the script rewritten, and editing done to suit him. He would tell the director how to scenes should be filmed, and increased his own character’s role whilst downplaying Boutella’s role as Ahmanet. I read this on Wikipedia so it’s reliability is a little questionable but considering what I saw in the film I can easily believe it. This was never going to be about Ahmanet, is was always going to be about Cruise’s character. Hell, the film ends with Cruise actually managing to take control of Set, an Egyptian God's, powers in order to not only defeat Ahmanet but to also resurrect Jenny and later Chris. Yes, Tom Cruise is able to take control of the EGYPTIAN GOD OF (I’ll say Death even though Set wasn’t the God of Death) DEATH because his will is just that strong and also use Set’s powers as easily as he would turn on a light switch.

 

 

Yes, Tom Cruise is able to take over the power of an Egyptian God, then freely use that power to bring two people back to life. As the film closes we see Jekyll and Jenny discussing what he will ultimately become and you can practically see Cruise standing behind the camera expecting everyone around him to blow their respective loads over how totally awesome his character has become.

 

All in all The Mummy is basically Tom Cruise’s personal masturbation material, it has little to nothing to do with an ancient Mummy, Jekyll is a joke, and if this was supposed to be the opening to a Dark Universe then we can all hope that it is the final entry because if this is what we can expect then I for one will not be tuning in.

 

There is no consistent tone, 1999’s The Mummy could have humorous moments which fitted alongside the horrifying Imhotep, but here it is a jumbled mess. There was one deliberately funny line that actually made me laugh. Jenny tells Cruise that he must be a good man because without hesitation he gave her the only parachute so she could get off the plane, it is supposed to be a tender moment, then he tells her that he thought there was another one…that made me laugh. But the rest of the time I was laughing at how truly shit this film is and how much of a wasted opportunity that it actually was.

 

I heard that Dracula Untold was at one point going to be the opening chapter in a shared Universal universe, and whilst that film had issues it would have been a much stronger opening. But no, this is the first chapter. It is a shame because a shared universe of classic movie monsters could work and be amazingly cool, but when we have actors like Cruise that make everything about themselves it ruins films that could have had a lot of potential.

 

My Thumb is unquestioningly Down, this is a crap film and one that was so bad it made me laugh. Sadly not so bad it is good, just plain simple, awful.

 

 

3/10 – This film is just a jumbled mess, and is Cruise’s own personal wank material. It is not a strong opening to a new Dark Universe it is a film that exists to stroke Cruise’s already inflated ego. If you want to watch a good Mummy film then go and watch 1999’s The Mummy and not this piece of garbage.

 

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© Chris Sharman