The core motive of big-screen blockbusters has more often than not been a case of “money over matter”, which is why Alex Kurtzman’s hammy rehash of The Mummy did not fall short of its expectations. Yet the fault does not lie with the director personally, more with the material he chose to work with. The original Mummy franchise was by no stretch considered good cinema but it has a certain kooky charm that can’t be rejuvenated, no matter how many A-listers are thrown into the mix.
Fresh off the franchise bandwagon of Marvel’s The Avengers and DC’s Justice League, Kurtzman’s Mummy remake is the kick off for Universal’s Dark Universe monster movie saga. Tom Cruise plays reckless adventurer Nick Morton who embodies the evil spirit of the ancient Egyptian temptress Princess Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella) when he stumbles across her tomb/prison. For the most part, the plot is much akin to the original: monster is awakened from tomb and attempts to take over the world. However, to revitalise a sub-standard narrative, Kurtzman introduces the ridiculous “Society of Evil” (or something along those lines) run by none other than the infamous Dr Jekyll/Hyde (Russell Crowe), whose main ethos is to fight monsters with monsters in an attempt to universally eradicate evil.
With unnecessary voice overs, messy plot twists and average acting, The Mummy relies on its aesthetic to wow its audience. Pointedly shot jump scenes of creepy reanimated corpses and kamikaze crows suggest that the film has been designed around the shock factor, which, to its benefit, plays off well with the 3D element. Yet special effects and clever trickery do not make up for an unimaginative, lacklustre narrative and merely serve as a form of distraction from a desperately unpolished storyline and awkward comedy: jokes are aplenty yet there is no laughter to be heard.
As a standalone film The Mummy is watchable, but as Universal’s introduction to its chronicle of monster movie flicks it is perhaps a story which, much like Princess Ahmanet, is best left buried.
The Mummy is released nationwide on 9th June 2017.
Watch the trailer for The Mummy here: