Director: Alex Kurtzman
So this is a new start for Universal's planned Dark Universe franchise opening with a rehash of one of horror's classic greats, The Mummy. Maybe retracing some steps from their 1932 Monster Universe franchise which consisted of Dracula, Frankenstein, The Invisible Man, Wolf man and the Creature from the Black Lagoon. The original Mummy being played by the legendary Boris Karloff.
The core idea of The Mummy remains very much the same and is obviously inspired by british archeologist finds in Egypt. But, unlike Mary Shelley's Frankenstein or Bram Stoker's Dracula, Jane C. Loudon creation of The Mummy isn't as well known. Her book The Mummy!: Or a Tale of the Twenty-Second Century was first published in 1827 as a three volume novel and instead of the Mummy inflicting pain and suffering, he actually conversed and gave advice to those around him.
Since then there has been many incarnations of The Mummy, mostly being a male work of evil brought back to life or released to inflict a terrible curse on Earth's good people. After Universal's franchise, the iconic Hammer Horror got hold of it and spawned four films from 1959. The first starring both horror greats, Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing as The Mummy. And then there's the more recent Mummy films with Stephen Sommers at the helm and having Arnold Vosloo play the Mummy opposite Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz. Having some success, a trilogy was made and a spinoff consisting of four films of The Scorpion King. There was a fourth film planned but was axed by the studios for unknown reasons.
Now it's producer, Alex Kurtzman, who helped produced pictures like The Amazing Spider-Man and the new Star Trek films, have a go. This only being his second main feature as director after People Like Us back in 2012. Unfortunately, even with the writing talents of Christopher McQuarrie (writer/director of Jack Reacher and MI: Rogue Nation working on the screenplay, Kurtzman has nothing more than an average, silly action fantasy flick possibly only bolstered up by having Cruise in the lead.
Cruise does what's expected and it's really hard to see past the stardom and actually get behind the character of Nick Morton, a special forces operative with other lucrative ideas than being plain ol' recon. All I could see was Tom Cruise, and not the character. It looks like he had a lot of fun filming this, but that's all it really gives off losing a lot of its seriousness rather rapidly.
The story tries to be smarter than what it actually is and instead, is flawed and far too coincidental that almost insinuates there's a far greater power pulling the strings here. There's subtle hints at the wider Dark Universe especially when studying some of the artefacts in the predigium. What I found annoying was the film being predominately American when the story never sets foot there, mostly being set in London. I didn't find Wallis British enough to matter and Crowe probably wasn't the best choice, though they could have done worse.
Boutella was actually really good and makes a good Ahmanet even though still reminding me very much of Aaliyah's Queen of the Damned. But she was very believable and a very likeable antagonist monster. However, she isn't the first female Mummy, with most of the previous being mummified lovers of the lead monster. There was a 1911 short The Mummy, which featured a female Mummy as the main monster that fell in love with her awakener.
Another thing I did really liked was the undead Ahmanet left in her wake, forming an army of zombiefied beasties. The CGI is what you expect though, nothing really new and lacks really anything of awe. There's a surprisingly weak score from Brian Tyler too, nothing memorable or anything that helped the scenes, was more so background music than a film score.
It feels like a rehash of a lot more than just the previous Mummy movies. Cruise and Johnson's comical relationship reminded me of Sahara, Boutella the Queen of the Damned and some parts being National Treasure. Even the disjointed movement of Ahmanet and undead, whilst being really good, feels borrowed from horror films like The Grudge. Even the concluding cliffhanger felt like a Pirates of the Caribbean ending.
Overall, it's a poor introduction to a looming franchise, lacking any real excitement leaving something less than mediocre. Even if it wasn't released in Wonder Woman's shadow, it's still a major disappointment. Not so welcome to a new world of gods and monsters.
Running Time: 4
The Cast: 4
Job Description: 2
The Extra Bonus Point: 0