‘The Mummy’ (2017) review: Mediocre

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'The Mummy' (2017) review: Annabelle Wallis as Jenny Halsey and Tom Cruise as Nick Morton in The Mummy
Annabelle Wallis as Jenny Halsey and Tom Cruise as Nick Morton in The Mummy

Review in a nutshell: The Mummy (2017) not only has a plot that barely makes sense, and an ending which definitely doesn’t, it’s also a cash-grabbing bid to shoehorn in an entire new “cinematic universe” of horror movie monsters, which is off-putting.

Movie synopsis

Some American soldiers (Tom Cruise and Jake Johnson) — and a Brit archaeologist (Annabelle Wallis) — unwittingly awaken an ancient evil Egyptian princess (Sofia Boutella), who’s now after the lead guy in particular so she can stab him and turn him into the god of death, for reasons that I still cannot discern.

Would I recommend you watch it?

Can’t say I do. Watch the original Mummy movies with Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz instead. (The Mummy Returns remains my favourite!)

Or if you’re looking for a Tom Cruise movie to watch, Edge of Tomorrow is AMAZING.

But if you really want to, click here to jump to the bottom for where you can watch The Mummy (2017).

Or continue reading for a full review with major spoilers.

Full review of The Mummy (2017), with major spoilers

My friend watched Tom Cruise’s The Mummy and thought it was so bad, she asked me to watch it and tell her what I think.

I kind of get her beef. For the entire movie, Nick (Tom Cruise) and Jenny (Annabelle Wallis) are trying to stop the undead mummy Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella) from getting her hands on the god of death Set’s dagger, reuniting it with Set’s ruby, and then stabbing Nick, her Chosen One, to give him the power of Set and eternal life. In the end, Nick stabs himself with the dagger, gives himself the power of Set and then uses it to finish off Ahmanet and bring Jenny back to life (by screaming at her to wake up).

Huh? If he was going to do that, what was the point of resisting all along? If Jenny hadn’t died, would he still have stabbed himself? But if he didn’t stab himself, how would he be able to finish off the all-powerful and unstoppable Ahmanet? If Ahmanet had stabbed him, would it play out the same way? Or did he give up and then pretended to have a choice by stabbing himself?

Actually, why did Ahmanet have to stab someone and give them eternal life? Especially someone who is clearly unwilling and whom she has to keep chasing down to seduce. (Even if she is “grateful” to him for unknowingly waking her up.) Why couldn’t she stab herself and give herself eternal life and the power of death, instead of someone else who could use it against her, like Nick did? I can’t get around how stupid this is. “Come, let me give someone else the power to kill me! I’ll find the *least willing* someone else whilst I’m at it!”

Whatever it was, it was a wild goose chase to prevent the unpreventable. Though to be fair, I think 99 percent of action movies have the same structure, where for most of the movie, the protagonists do their darndest best to stop a thing from happening, only for the thing to happen anyway, and that’s when there’s the third-act rally and the protagonists discover hitherto unknown powers to conquer the enemy and win the day. It’s just that here, the wild goose chase seems wilder and sillier than the rest.

Other than the ending, I thought the rest of the movie was okay, if mediocre. It tries to be of the same vein as the previous Mummy movies with Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz, which blended action, comedy and horror deftly into a movie that makes a fun summer movie and theme park ride. This new Mummy doesn’t seem to know what it wants to be though. You can’t call it a horror film, because it isn’t scary enough; and it certainly isn’t a fun summer ride, though I occasionally enjoyed the banter between Nick and Jenny.

But the banter also felt like they were trying too hard, because tonally, the movie has a dark palette which drags down the mood, hence making much of the levity seem out of place. Even during the scary parts of the previous Mummy movies, they were coloured warmly by sand and brick and fire torches in the desert and pyramids/temples/buildings, which made it feel bright and summer movie “fun”. Here, it’s all the gloom and grey of London and dark metal interiors.

Another thing: the movie tries too hard to shoehorn a sprawling future universe of movies with Russell Crowe’s Dr Jekyll and his Prodigium organisation. Universal Pictures announced last month they were making a Dark Universe, except instead of superheroes like the Marvel Cinematic Universe, you have famous supernatural beings like Frankenstein and Dr Jekyll and the Invisible Man etc. becoming a super team.

Devoting a huge chunk of The Mummy to setting up another few movies just feels like a cash-grab, instead of a movie with genuine stories to tell, and that puts me off. Especially when the first movie in its “universe” isn’t even done well. The Prodigium scenes did not engage me, and the fight scene between Mr Hyde and Nick felt like unnecessary fan service for people who want to see Russell Crowe and Tom Cruise go head-to-head. Trust me, if there’s any movie that I want both Russell Crowe and Tom Cruise to be in, it would not be The Mummy.

The Dark Universe is off to a bad start though, with The Mummy projected to lose $95 million. If we’re lucky, Universal will abandon their ill-conceived plans.

Where to watch The Mummy (2017) in the U.S.

Streaming services: The Mummy is on fuboTV. It is not on Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu or any other streaming services.

Rent/Buy: Get it on iTunes, Amazon, Vudu, Microsoft, FandangoNOW, Redbox

Where to watch The Mummy (2017) in Singapore

Streaming services: The Mummy is not on Netflix, Amazon Prime Video or any other local streaming services.

Rent/Buy: Get it on iTunes

Where to watch The Mummy (2017) in other countries

Not in the U.S. or in Singapore? Here’s a handy guide on how to find specific movies and watch them online legally, wherever you are.

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