By now you all know the score. Some clueless soul finds a tomb belonging to an ancient cursed monster, the titular Mummy, which they accidentally unleash upon the world, which they then spend the rest of the movie trying to kill. While it might be an overused formula, given the long history of mummy movies in American cinema, it’s a formula that still works today, and to good effect in this newest incarnation of the iconic Mummy tale.
In this modern reboot of the popular trilogy (starring Brendan Fraser) from a number of years ago, a female mummy (how cool!) is let loose when soldier of fortune Nick Morton (Tom Cruise) and his buddy Chris Vail (Jake Johnson) uncover her prison like tomb. They, along with Jennifer Halsey (Annabelle Wallis), are escorting said mummy’s sarcophagus via plane before a massive sandstorm makes flying impossible, before encountering unbelievable supernatural forces that cause the plane to crash killing everyone but Jennifer. Nick awakens in a morgue to find he’s become a vessel of some sort for the mummy Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella), and with the aid of Dr. Henry Jekyll (Russell Crowe; underused, but oh so very good), sets out to destroy Ahmanet.
And yes, Tom Cruise runs this movie (but not as much as you think he will!), and it bears the kind of big, ballsy stunts we now come to expect from him, but this ain’t your typical Tom Cruise performance or movie. He’s kind of a dick in this movie, and for the first time in his career we hear him scream. Cruise isn’t playing it safe, he’s trying something new and stretching himself as an actor, and that’s worth a good round of pride on its own.
Much has been made about reviews that came out over the last couple days that don’t paint the movie in the best light. If you’re one of those people prone to checking Rotten Tomatoes scores prior to seeing any given movie, don’t fret. Despite the current rating of 18% Rotten on the site, the movie truthfully isn’t all that bad. In fact, for the most part it’s actually quite good.
The performances, special effects, stunts, cinematography, they’re all really good stuff. The problems one could have with this movie are contained within the script and the execution of the movie itself. There are humourous moments that fall flat (and others that work just right), certain plot details toward the end of the movie (none of which will be spoiled here) are kind of formulaic, safe, and lack the punch needed to make them more impactful. The Jekyll character is underused, and given that Crowe makes such a strong first impression (he’s a wonderful Jekyll), one would assume there’d be more of him to enjoy. Perhaps another time. And Annabelle Wallis’ Jennifer is often nothing more than a damsel in distress, which us a shame given how good Wallis is in the role.
Regardless of how you might feel about this movie, whether you hate it with a vengeance or love it to pieces, you cannot deny for a single second that the plane crash sequence; which was filmed in what is known as “the vomit comet”, which is when a plane travels at the G’s of a rocket, then evens out and goes weightless while it free-falls for 22 seconds (this took 64 takes to crack); isn’t the most terrifying, realistic, and stunningly realized plane crash sequence you’ve ever seen in film. It’s a breathtaking, nail biting piece of filmmaking from the pelvis.
I went into The Mummy with the desire to see something fun, to lose myself in what I was hoping would be an enjoyable action horror romp. I watch movies to lose myself in their worlds, to forget the troubles of this odd, mad world in which we live, and enjoy myself free from these issues and distractions. For two hours (or more, or less), I’m free. The Mummy, warts and all, gave me that freedom, provided me with an intriguing, fantastical world for me to lose myself within, and entertained the hell out of me. The Mummy never needed to break the mould. It didn’t need to be some transcendent, life altering cinematic experience, and it didn’t need to be some flawless, Certified Fresh movie. It just needed to be a good time at the movies, which it is, if you allow it to be. I can’t wait to see what the Dark Universe has in store for us with The Bride Of Frankenstein.