The Mummy is a franchise best left dead

It's never really scary, it's hardly entertaining or intelligent, and the supposedly high stakes are underserved by an unimpressive script.

The Mummy

It's not completely terrible, but it gets no applause either.

The movie is the latest casualty of Hollywood's current reboot frenzy.

Resurrection is one of the most memorable thing about Brendan Fraser's trilogy of Mummy movies (1999-2008), and since Universal Studios has decided to reboot it for a planned Dark Universe film series, resurrection might be the worst thing to happen to it now.

After its first run from 1932 to 1955, the franchise gained a cult following with the reboot starring Fraser and Rachel Weisz in a series that easily passed for fun with its execution of horror and self-conscious comedy.

This new Mummy can’t seem to be able to make up its mind about what it wants to be; an action movie, or a monster movie.

The result of this is a tonally soulless cocktail of both, lacking any real sense of adventure that marked Fraser's run.

It's never really scary, it's hardly entertaining or intelligent, and the supposedly high stakes are underserved by the unimpressive script.

The only thing it does best is make you cringe in place of horrified.

The movie, with the annoying help of voice-over narration, takes the audience to ancient Egypt where Princess Ahmanet's lust for power leads her to sell her soul to the god Set in her bid to inherit her father's throne after the birth of a new baby boy suddenly makes him the legitimate heir over her.

Set demands the sacrifice of a human vessel from Ahmanet in exchange for his help, but before she can complete her evil plan, she is captured and mummified alive, buried far away from Egypt.

The movie jumps to introduce Nick Morton (Tom Cruise), an American mercenary, who, with his partner Chris Vail (Jake Johnson), accidentally unearth Ahmanet's tomb.

With the help of Jenny Halsey (Annabelle Wallis), an archaeologist who Nick is somehow involved with, the team moves Ahmanet's sarcophagus from the tomb so they can examine it properly.

Things go downhill from here; for the characters, and for the movie.

The Mummy shambles along from one scene to the next, desperately trying to be funny and entertaining while it is stuck in a maze of its own narrative incompetence and keeps getting lost in it.

The movie has moments where the script writers somehow wind up writing lame lines of dialogue, sometimes for the comedic relief that the audience terribly needs, but definitely don’t deserve.

The movie consistently makes reveals too early to rob some subplots of any mystery, and deny its twists of any dramatic impact that could have made it more entertaining.

Nick, who's actually the one playing Tom Cruise here, is meant to come off as a charming, lovable morally-conflicted rogue (like a Han Solo type), but he's none of those things.

Nick is actually a scrapbook of Tom Cruise characters over his acting career patched together to be anything close to a character you care about.

Cruise only has a handful of movies that are unarguably dreadful, and The Mummy might be close to that list than anyone might be willing to admit.

This is his actual Mission Impossible.

Nick’s romantic interest, Jenny is even more vaguely represented. She says finding the sarcophagus is her life’s work; she works for a secret organization; but that’s just about all the audience knows about her.

She’s in the movie to be saved most of the time and provide exposition whenever the story hits a deadend.

Russell Crowe is another star who makes somewhat of a disappointing cameo appearance as Dr. Henry Jekyll.

He is a well-mannered brilliant scientist who heads Prodigium, a S.H.I.E.L.D-like organization that supposedly purges evil from the world.

When he isn’t playing the gravely ambiguous Dr. Jekyll with secrets to Hyde, he is the movie’s exposition ex machina, telling the audience what the movie is too lazy to show in a more compelling manner.

He is included in the movie as a  Dark World universe-building character as he's expected to show up in the other movies to come.

Even the most average movie is only as good as its villain, and here, four-pupiled golden-eyed Ahmanet is a completely annoying bore.

This is not due to any fault of the mesmerising Sofia Boutella who sells the character's malevolence with all her best, it's the script writers, a team of three, that carelessly throw her under the bus.

In what was an inspired idea to make the Mummy a woman this time, the movie flushes this 'novelty' down the toilet by making Ahmanet a villain whose biggest drive is getting her 'man' and killing the 'woman' he loves, even though she only became evil in her fight against ancient Egypt’s patriarchal ascension system.

The script never cares enough about her to build on her rich backstory in the beginning, even though it's supposed to be her party.

Even though the movie tries to con the audience into buying the love connection between Nick and Jenny, the chemistry between them is lacking in any spark that the movie so desperately needed.

The movie's action sequences are the only bearable thing here; the plane crash scene that has been played to death in the trailers is still riveting to watch; there’s a London sandstorm scene that passes as entertaining even if it's lacking in required thrill. But any time the movie slows down to catch its breath, it passes out.

One of the movie’s fundamental problem is that it makes no secret of its intention of acting as a set up for the Dark Universe, instead of focusing more on being sensible first as its own movie.

It peters out to an average conclusion that also manages to be terribly unsettling in its execution, and at this point, the strongest emotion the movie can elicit in the audience is a forced sleepy cheer.

If The Mummy is any yardstick for what to expect, Universal's planned revival of old monsters might be doomed to fail already.

The movie is 107 minutes long; I can think of a lot of better things to do with all that time.


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