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The Mummy review: Mo’ mummy, mo’ problems
June 13, 2017
Tom Cruise headlines this reboot to the family-friendly franchise from the early 2000s. With Cruise’s insane stunts and charisma, it’s sad that the Mummy does nothing new with him or the franchise. Following a very similar plot formula to many monster films we’ve seen, it differentiates itself by leaning into its horror roots while downplaying what might have been successful comedy.
The film opens up on present-day stock footage of London’s new Crossrail network which has unwittingly dug into a hidden Templar Knight tomb. A mysterious organisation moves into examine and suddenly the audience is flung back in time to Ancient Egypt where Princess Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella, Kingsman) falls prey to a curse which turns her into a mummy.
The film then jumps to Iraq, where we’re introduced to Nick (Cruise), a charismatic thief of antiquities. Coming across as a selfish version of Nathan Drake from the Uncharted game series. He’s joined by his friend Sergeant Chris Vail (Jake Johnson, New Girl) who provides the film some levity, though he really should have been given more screen time as the comedic possibilities his character has are squandered.
The two friends (and the US army) manage to scare off an unnamed group of ‘insurgents’ from an abandoned village and discover the entrance to what appears to be an Egyptian tomb, in the middle of Persia. The army calls in its chief archaeologist Jenny Halsey (Annabelle Wallis), to investigate, while Nick and Vail tag along hoping to steal whatever they can carry when Jenny’s back is turned. Jenny and Nick share some chemistry, falling for the handsome rogue may be cliché but Nick does show some genuine feelings for Jenny.
When things in the tomb eventually go wrong, the Mummy becomes a horror film. With a creeping, building tension, this is certainly not the family-friendly film you remember. However a blink and you miss it, easter egg of the original series’ ‘Book of the Dead’ appears in a library scene. Devoting some time to a potential expanded universe with nods to Dracula, Wolfman and Dr Jekyll, this looks like an obvious set up to tack onto the marketing ploy Marvel has made so successful.
The Mummy will appeal to fans of horror and monster movies, although the plot follows the same beats that you’d expect. The Mummy manages to combine a familiar story with a well-executed vision to make an inconsequential film, but it’s thankfully not boring.
Words by Sunny Ramgolam
The Mummy is out in cinemas on June 9, 2017