The summer blockbuster is nothing new to the industry. Directors like Michael Bay always deliver on the excitement thrill seeking movie goers crave. Love him or hate him, the man knows what his fans want and his movies continue to rick in millions. Typically, they cast a well-known lead (usually a white male) who finds themselves in a position where the rest of the world needs them to step up to be a hero. Common faces plastered on these posters include Matt Damon, Mark Wahlberg, and Tom Cruise. Cruise has been around for decades and has earned his place as one of the biggest names in Hollywood. However, his public persona has at times overshadowed his films and might be the reason we now have to endure more Mission Impossible sequels and movies like THE MUMMY.
The film switches back and forth between present and past quite often, even repeating some scenes just in case we didn’t get it the first time. Our villain is Princess Ahmanet, the first in line to tak over the kingdom from her father until his second wife gives birth to a son. Filled with anger, she makes a deal with the god, Set, to assist her in taking over and kills off her family. She fails to kill her lover who would have then become the physical form of Set and is mummified alive. Her tomb is discovered in present day and she is unleashed and plans to use Nick Morton’s (Cruise) body as a new vessel. During this discovery, Nick becomes cursed by Ahmanet and manages to survive the plane crash we had to sit through in the millions of TV spots that aired prior to the film’s release. What ensues is a game of cat and mouse as Nick is unsure who to trust and underestimates his own power he now inhabits.
It’s difficult to describe the this new version of THE MUMMY as the film itself feels like an identity crisis. First off, the title may be THE MUMMY but there is no mummy to be seen. Instead, we get a scantily clad princess who is thirsty for a man. There’s the first problem. Second, we have the uptight Jenny (Annabelle Wallis of Annabelle), our female counterpart to Cruise who is the brains, but just absolutely can not have the physical strength of our male lead. However, the main problem on the screen is Cruise himself. I am not a Cruise hater by any means. I personally loved Vanilla Sky and had a huge crush on him during the Jerry Maguire days. That charm that helped catapult his career in the 80s is nowhere to be seen here. The script is there and the one liners can be heard, but his delivery makes one sink in their seats. Ever hear someone tell a joke in public that was so bad, you yourself felt embarrassed even though you didn’t say it? That’s what it is like watching Tom Cruise try to be funny.
When they first announced THE MUMMY, I was hoping for a more traditional horror film. I’m not hating on the Brendan Fraser films, but I prefer to be scared over the action adventure direction. This tries to be the Fraser movies, but Cruise is no Brendan Fraser. However, this could have been a more successful standalone feature if it didn’t act as the first of a larger, universe by including Russell Crowe as Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde. That character, while iconic, does nothing to add to the story except create some kind of link to future monsters and unnecessary CGI. I will say that the action sequences are impressive and sometimes do deliver on some jaw dropping moments. These moments though come with the price of having to sit through the rest of the movie.