Friday, July 21, 2017

The Mummy (2017) - Review

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The movie starts with a prologue set in England in 1127 A.D. -  A body is buried in a coffin along with a red gem/ruby/some sort of movie guffin.

To present day in England, these coffins have been discovered. Dr Henry Jekyll (Russell Crowe) gives us a quick rundown about Princess Ahmanat (Sofia Boutella), who is ruthless and beautiful. Ahmanat's dreams of succeeding her father on the throne are dashed when her mother gives birth to a boy. Ahmanat strikes a deal with Set, the God of Death. She kills her family members and is about to transfer Set's spirit into a human body when the process is interrupted. Ahmanat is mummified and then buried in then Mesopotamia (today known as Iraq).

We are then introduced to Nick Morton (Tom Cruise) and his friend/sidekick, Chris Vail (Jake Johnson). Nick and Chris specialize in stealing rare artifacts and selling them in the black market. But this time things take a bad turn and Nick and Chris are in mortal danger. Chris calls in an airstrike (much against Nick's wishes) and unwittingly sets in motion the chain of events that will change both of their lives forever.



The airstrike unearths the aforementioned tomb of Ahmanat. Turns out that Nick had stolen a map from Jenny Halsey (Annabelle Wallis), an archaeologist with whom he had an one night stand. Jenny is furious at the deception and further warns Nick to leave Ahmanat's coffin alone.


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Like any self-respecting and self-assured blockbuster movie male lead, Nick proceeds to ignore her and does the exact opposite. The next is the plane sequence featured in the trailer. Chris is bitten by a spider. If this had been a superhero movie, he would have become Spider-Man. But since this is a horror movie, he becomes the undead and is forcibly shot dead by Nick.

The plane crashes and Nick is killed. He wakes up in the mortuary and is surprised to see Chris walking around advising him. If this reminds you of the Max Landis werewolf classic (An American Werewolf in London), then you are a certifiable horror movie geek.


 

Jenny deduces that Ahmanat has chosen Nick for some specific purpose. Ahmanat is sucking the life force out of people and creating her own army of zombies. She also has mind control over Nick and almost captures him after an inane action sequence.

This is where we meet Dr Jekyll makes his re-entrance in the movie. His team rescues Nick and Jenny and captures Ahmanat. This is when the movie starts losing momentum. Crowe's Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde brings the whole movie down. Crowe looks bored in the role and Hyde's “transformation” is so inane that it has to be seen to be believed.


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Universal Studios makes no pretensions about it's plans for a new movie franchise to rival that of Warner Bros. and Disney. But this would-be franchise starter is even worse than Man of Steel let alone be half as good as Iron Man. RDJ is perfect casting for Tony Stark and his alter ego. Henry Cavill is a bland Superman and an OK Clark Kent. But Cruise is thoroughly miscast in the role. He looks lost for the most part and his attempts at comedy fall flat.

Plus he looks too old to play the leading man. The makeup applied to make him look younger often distracts us from everything else on the screen. At 54, he is more than twice the age of his co-star Jake Johnson who plays his buddy character. Annabelle Wallis is 22 years younger than Cruise!

The movie is confused as to whether it is a Tom Cruise vehicle or is it a part of horror movie franchise. Director Alex Kurtzman seems to be part of the problem as Cruise seems to have had a free hand in the production. If this were Mission Impossible 6 or the next Jack Reacher movie, that would not be a problem. But a Mummy movie needs to be focussed on the Mummy. Brendan Fraser was able to do this successfully - he was a strong lead but at the same time did not hog all the limelight like Cruise does here.



The movie does not have fun factor of the Stephen Sommers/Brendan Fraser 1999 movie. Director Sommers made an enjoyable popcorn movie which I can rewatch any number of times. Unfortunately, sitting through this movie even once is a chore.

Rachel Weisz gave us one of the most memorable female leads in the form of Evelyn Carnahan. She also had a good chemistry with Fraser's Rick O'Connell. In this movie, Annabelle Wallis' character has no chemistry whatsoever with Cruise's Nick.

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Sofia does her best with a role that despite being titular is forced to play second fiddle to Tom Cruise.

Brian Tyler's score makes no impression at all. The action sequences are boring. We have seen similar scenes executed much better in other Tom Cruise movies.

Coming back to the plot of the movie, Cruise acquires superpowers of Set, destroys Ahmanat and rides into the desert with Chris. No one expects Cruise to leave this franchise anytime soon.

Only time will tell if the next movie will be a Wonder Woman and save this Dark Universe or will it be like Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and sink the ship further.

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Image Sources: Universal Pictures, Dark Universe, Dentsu, Perfect World Pictures,  Sean Daniel Company, Secret Hideout

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2 comments:

  1. Good to see you posting again, B2B. This movie truly sucked, didn't it. I couldn't believe how poorly conceived, cast and executed it was. If not for Transformers, this would have been the worst blockbuster of the season.

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    1. Thanks GK.

      This movie was bad on all levels. They should have gone with a better director who would have ensured that Tom Cruise did not ruin the movie with his self indulgence. Anyways, the studio paid for this fiasco very dearly.

      B2B.

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