I've always been a fan of the 1999 remake of THE MUMMY starring Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz. I actually have fond memories of seeing it with my father and being terrified when the scarabs first appeared to devour their victims. When it was announced that Universal Studios would be doing a remake of that film, I didn't let the naysayers get to me, especially since this new film would be the start of a years-in-development "Dark Universe", featuring remakes of some of our favorite Universal Monster movies. Now, the question remains, does this new remake of THE MUMMY live up to what fans want in a remake?
THE MUMMY, directed by Alex Kurtzman, stars Tom Cruise, Sofia Boutella, Annabelle Wallis, and Russell Crowe. The film centers on Nick Morton (Cruise), a modern day graverobber who sells antiquities on the black market, who unearths an Egyptian crypt beneath the desert containing the ancient princess, Ahmanet (Boutella). Once awakened, Ahmanet brings forth destruction and evil unlike anything seen in the modern word and it's up to Morton to destroy her before her vengeance takes over the world and his being.
There were aspects of this film I absolutely loved. Visually, it's absolutely beautiful to watch. Whether it be the cinematography and the way certain frames were shot, or the special effects used to achieve the look of the mummies, this was definitely a film that took great pains to make sure it looked immaculate on the big screen. Having had the chance to see the film in IMAX 3D, it really elevated the overall experience and made the viewer feel as though they were completely immersed in the world that was being presented.
As for the storyline, I felt that this is where the film was lacking the most. Mind you, the story of Ahmanet was fascinating, especially as they went into detail into how she gained her power, but the rest of the story, notably the one surrounding Nick Morton, was surprisingly weak in comparison. There was also a love triangle thrown in for good measure, and though I understood where Ahmanet was coming from in her desire to have Nick, the chemistry between his character and archaeologist, Jenny Halsey (Wallis), seemed forced and almost unneeded. The most surprising arc of the film, however, was that of Russell Crowe's character, Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde; the head of the multi-national organization known as Prodigium. The film didn't go into to much detail about what Prodigium was but it gave indications that it captures and studies, while sometimes destroying, evil that has personified itself into the form of monsters. If rumors are to be true, Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde will be getting their own stand-alone film and from just what I've seen of his character in THE MUMMY that makes me enthusiastic for the film.
In terms of acting, I can say without a doubt that Sofia Boutella steals the show. Prior to the film, I was already pretty stoked to see a vicious female Mummy and Sofia does a tremendous job of embodying that monster. She's fierce and powerful, unrelentless in her quest and has no problem destroying anything that tries to get in her way. She's also able to exude a sensuality while also being terrifying and that combination was executed perfectly. If anything, you should see the film for her performance as well as that of Russell Crowe. Originally, I wasn't sure how I would feel about Crowe taking on the infamous dual personalities, but he did so in a way that left me wanting more. As for Cruise, I found myself surprisingly disappointed with his performance, to the point where I felt like at times he was just phoning it in. Cruise is such a powerhouse when it comes to his acting so I was shocked to see how luckwarm he was. With that said, Cruise did have moments where he shined, and that was seen in his stunt work. It's hard to not be impressed with the crazy stunts Cruise insists on doing and THE MUMMY is chalk full of incredibly intricate and over-the-top stuntwork that will leave your jaw on the floor. Most notably, the airplane scene which gave me a healthy dose of anxiety and is probably one of the scariest scenes I've seen in a film all year (side note: I have a huge fear of flying).
Overall, THE MUMMY has some really great moments that shine through some of the less desirable aspects. Though the story needed some work and the acting from Cruise left little to be desired, the film is still worth seeing for Boutella's performance, the visuals, the mummy zombies, as well as a look into what we can expect from the upcoming "Dark Universe". This may not be a perfect film, but it's a fun and enjoyable ride and it makes me excited to see where the world of gods and monsters will go in the upcoming films.
THE MUMMY will hit theaters nationwide Friday, June 9, 2017.