Plot: An ancient princess is awakened from her crypt beneath the desert, bringing with her malevolence grown over millennia, and terrors that defy human comprehension.
Reviewed by Clifford Kiyabu (The Doctor)
Shared universes are all the rage among moviegoers currently, so it’s only fitting that the film industry would as well too. This, of course, is partly due to the success of Marvel/Disney’s MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe), and more recently Warner Bros’ DCEU. Despite the bombardment of criticism the franchise has received by critics (pre-Wonder Woman), it has still proven to be very lucratively pulling in well over $2.9 billion to date at the worldwide box office. Ultimately, it is the moviegoer, not the critic who decides its fate. But I digress, just about every major studio in Hollywood has joined in on the current trend in some compacity may it be by entering a partnership with another competing studio or starting a shared universe of their own. Which brings me to Universal’s Dark Universe, an extended universe which serves to reboot all of their classic Universal Monsters with a more modern take on them. Yeah sure the idea does sound somewhat intriguing to hear, but in all honesty, there hasn’t been any real demand for it.
Despite all the negative reviews published on The Mummy, I still went in with a relatively open mind. And as a credit to the movie, I actually got some entertainment out of it. Likewise, I also had some grievances, too. The Mummy commits quite a few cinematic sins. Most notable is the lack of character development. It seems as though most of these characters are launched into the plot with very little development. Now that is not to say there is zero character development here, of course, there is some, just not enough to give us any real clear cut vision behind some of these character’s motivations and hints as to where their developing agendas lie. It also has a problem with delivery and execution on humor. Yes, it is first and foremost a horror/action. But it also attempts to tap into the same formula the Brendon Fresher Mummy films succeeded with when mixing action-horror with a subtle touch of humor. The problem here is unlike the Fresher films which came off as charming and engaging. This flick, however, comes off as dull and out of place. A good example of this comes directly from my experience. There are a few particular moments in the mummy that I felt were crafted to incite the audience into a roar of laughter, or at least a few chuckles at best. Instead, my theater room was so soft that the sound of a pin hitting the floor could be heard from across the theater room. It was during these moments during the movie that I would recall the long-running gag on the animated series Family Guy in which a lone ostrich sat in the stands giving a single sarcastic “HAHA!”.
Moreover, I felt an issue that kept coming up in The Mummy was its chemistry. More particularly the chemistry between Tom Cruise and the impressive Annabelle Wallis. Both of them are great respectively on their own, but as a pair, I wasn’t feeling it. Their romance felt more manufactured than organic. And that is, in my opinion, a major mistake when trying to establish a sense of history and weight in your characters. However, despite all the problems I’ve pointed out about The Mummy, and I’m sure I could go on about it even more. I honestly felt that some critics were a bit harsh. And I especially believe that some of that stem from the constant reminder that it truly wasn’t all that long ago that we got the last Fresher installment. Yes, it’s been nine years since The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (2008) was released, and yes I guess that is considered a long enough gap of time to warrant a full reboot to the franchise. But it doesn’t change the fact that the impact of the previous films still lingers in our minds. It also had a lot riding on it for being the flagship film of the Dark Universe. Which caused a lot of raised eyebrows considering that there were last minute reshoots made for another Universal film called Dracula Untold (2014) which was originally meant as the official launch of the Dark Universe, but was later extensively downplayed when The Mummy was in development. There is no doubt that some felt rubbed the wrong way by this sudden change of direction, especially since Dracula Untold was a success at the box office for Universal. And despite its problematic plot holes and over the top cheesiness, despite all its flaws, it was still a somewhat decent popcorn flick.
But I firmly believe there is still hope for this franchise that nobody asked for, and it will depend on the steps Universal make in the upcoming years. Especially with its next installment. Right now the franchise is at a critical crossroads point. Some might argue that the franchise is already dead on arrival, but while that might be the case from a critical viewpoint. Money speaks louder than words. And right now The Mummy is sitting on a $377 million intake at the overall box office and still counting. It is also one of the largest box office openings in history for any Tom Cruise film in the European market. And the movie hasn’t finished debuting in the Asian market yet, so it’s world wide box office numbers is expected to continue growing as time continues. While The Mummy isn’t something I would recommend to see at the cinema, it is by no means the worst film of 2017.