Written by Ben Clark
Senior Staff Writer
Illustration by Elaine Yang
Universal Studios’s newest monster movie, The Mummy, is a poorly made film from which it is impossible to derive any pleasure whatsoever. One would be more likely to enjoy staring at a blank wall than watching The Mummy because at least the blank wall would not ruin everything that is good about filmmaking. Anyone who was unfortunate enough to sit through the 107-minute action flick in its entirety would likely leave the theater in a confused shuffle, wondering how such an unearthly abomination came to be created.
The Mummy, which arrived in theaters on June 9th, is the first installment of the Dark Universe series: a bid by Universal Studio to reboot several classic monster films in a shared universe franchise inspired by the success of other series such as the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This feat had been attempted in the past with 2014’s Dracula Untold, a movie that received lukewarm reviews upon release. As a result of such failure, Universal Studios took a greater creative control over The Mummy, often dominating the film’s inexperienced director, Alex Kurtzman. The result was a cinematic trainwreck that ultimately failed as the start of a new franchise.
Though the story is generally incoherent, the movie follows a treasure hunter named Nick Morton (Tom Cruise) who uncovers the tomb of an Ancient Egyptian princess (Sofia Boutella) and becomes the subject of an archaic curse. Somewhere along the way, fellow monster movie character Dr. Jekyll (Russell Crowe) appears for no discernable reason other than to set up a sequel and introduce a monster-hunting organization that is a blatant rip-off of Marvel’s Shield. From there, the already convoluted plot falls to pieces. The second and third acts of the movie serve only to show off visual effects. Rather than telling a quiet but exciting horror story, Universal squanders the movie’s potential by relegating Sofia Boutella’s portrayal of the Mummy to the background. Instead, the focus rests on an annoying treasure hunter, his stereotypical girlfriend Jenny Halsey (Annabelle Wallis), and other monsters like Dr. Jekyll who add nothing of significance to the film. Sadly, none of these three characters are compelling enough to lead the story. The film ends without giving its audience any reason to care about what is in store for Nick Morton and his tomb raiding allies, which is truly a pity. The idea of the film’s climax would actually be somewhat interesting if it’s potential weren’t wasted on uninteresting characters.
The Mummy is a sorry excuse for a movie that is in no way worth watching. The drab characters and scatterbrained plot seem to predict a rapid downfall for Universal’s Dark Universe series.