Monday, June 12, 2017

Movie Review … The Mummy

 Since Boris Karloff spooked audiences in Universal Studio’s ‘The Mummy’ in 1932, the series has seen many iterations.  Hammer studios in England and others have utilised the vengeful Egyptian monster to their ghoulish advantage.  The character has been a reliable money-spinner so it’s no surprise the umpteenth version has materialised with ‘The Mummy’.  The start of another franchise from Universal who initially made it such a popular hit. They no doubt hope it will avoid a box office curse and have audiences screaming for more sequels.

When Nick Morton (Tom Cruise) stumbles on an old burial site, he thinks he’s hit the jackpot.  A soldier of fortune endlessly looking for ancient artefacts to sell to the highest bidder, Nick is startled by what he finds. Discovering a cavern filled with Egyptian treasures, he comes across the tomb holding the body of evil Egyptian princess Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella).  When moving her coffin, he accidentally frees her from her confines.  She regains her supernatural powers and begins to wreak havoc on London with only Nick’s ingenuity standing in her destructive ways.

The start of the ‘Dark Universe’ monster franchise, ‘The Mummy’ feels more like a product than film.  It goes through the whole ‘setting up a movie for more sequels’ route than telling its own story.  The unfocussed screenplay constantly stops to provide exposition for future movies via the character of Doctor Jekyll (Russell Crowe).  This distracts from the main narrative with genuine tension and scares in short supply.  Alex Kurtzman shows little flair in crafting something interesting even if the action scenes are effective.

‘The Mummy’ thrives due to its cast.  Tom Cruise makes for an interesting semi-hero, whose motives aren’t always clear.  His descent into darkness with what he’s unleashed creates an intriguing plot strand to follow.  Boutella is also strong as the wicked princess, conveying the right amount of menace the role needs.  The CGI is suitably dazzling but the script lets things down.  It’s a very bland by-the-numbers effort with little originality or fearsome atmosphere.

‘The Mummy’ isn’t great with the performances more solid than a story going into too many directions.  Had it concentrated more on the title character than setting up a cinematic spooky universe it might have worked.  What we’re left are moments of what could have been with the Pharaoh’s curse seemingly causing havoc on the formulaic tale.

Movie Review Rating out of 10:  5

Movie Review by Patrick Moore

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Patrick Moore's Movie Review is an alternative look at movie releases in Australia.



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