I made sure I had copious amounts of snacks ready when I went to see The Mummy, because I expected to either be entertained like a good popcorn movie, or be disappointed so the food was available for comfort eating.
Unfortunately, it was the latter, and I ended up cramming in most of my snacks in the first twenty minutes because of laughable disbelief from what I was witnessing. In case you do not know the premise, The Mummy reboot follows Nick Morton, a soldier of some kind who plunders ancient sites for artifacts and then sells them. One day, he finds himself under intense attack in the Middle East and after an airstrike, he unearths Ahmanet, a betrayed Egyptian princess who was entombed under the desert for thousands of years. The princess wants to finish her mission and embarks on a furious rampage through the streets of London, and Morton must stop her. Please do not be fooled to what appears to be a promising, entertaining premise, because unfortunately, despite the money behind it, it is clear they did not know what movie they wanted to make. This is a very clumsy remake that lacked focus.
It does not help that the opening 10 minutes is a backstory that looks like it was put together as an afterthought. The narrative needed an excuse to link London to the entire ordeal with the Egyptian Princess. That link is a gem stone of some kind but the explanation is so one-dimensional that they may as well have explained it in writing. You are then introduced to Nick and his partner in crime, Chris Vail, who become succumbed to an assault in Iraq. This is where the film decides it does not need detail or half-decent dialogue, you just need action sequences. I’m not against action as movies like this tend to need it, but unfortunately, it tries to weave in dialogue which is amateurishly written at best. It was just a lot of moments of shouting and shooting, then shouting and shooting over and over again. Too many times did Chris protest his situation with Nick with lines like, “I am not doing this Nick!”, which after repeating several times got very boring very quickly. Tom Cruise, who plays Nick, looks confused as a character who does not seem to know who he is meant to be. I’d be very surprised if any audience member was sold by this character who only provides the surface to his personality. There is no explanation to his backstory, just quick lines and moments of dialogue where he tries to impress. If you spend the first 10 minutes explaining the Egyptian backstory and then zero effort is put on developing the characters then it undoubtedly throws you off guard.
Some critics have suggested this is Tom Cruise’s worst ever performance. I wouldn’t exaggerate but I would say that this is one of his most questionable movies. It’s not that his performance is bad but he doesn’t appear to understand his character well, and there is zero attempt for him connect with the audience. It’s the movie that is the problem, but with the amount spent to make it I expected more than just good visual effects.
As the movie moves forward to the second act, it becomes a sequence of scenes of battling Egyptian armies and various plot twists. There is no real moment of tension which means the action becomes quite underwhelming considering how good it looks. They’ve tried making a crowd pleaser but in the end, you get a film where you cannot decide what it wants to be and you sense that the production company cannot decide either. By the time you reach the movie’s climax you are not really sure what is important anymore after crazy amounts of mythology and technicalities thrown at you. It in no way exhausts you but I was genuinely fed up and couldn’t wait to leave my seat by the end of it.
As you may or may not be aware this is meant to be a movie that kick starts The Dark Universe which will reinvigorate horror classics like Frankenstein and The Invisible Man. Despite how poor this movie is, it does leave on an ending that signals a sequel and it has made a sizeable amount of money at the box office. I do not want a poor start to necessarily stop this universe we may be embarking on, but I only hope they improve the quality of the overall story.
If you really like a good action movie centered around a cursed Mummy then watch the originals. They are fun. Unfortunately, the reboot appears smug on the surface whereby they have a huge budget and Tom Cruise so surely you don’t need anything else to make it a success. Ridiculous.
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Daniel Hart is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has operated as Editor-in-Chief since 2017.