The first film from Universal’s Dark Universe – a 21st century revival of old 1930s Universal Pictures characters like The Invisible Man, Frankenstein, Van Helsing, Dracula, Wolf Man and pals in a series of movies – The Mummy should have been a sure-fire success.
It’s got Tom Cruise in the lead role, Russell Crowe as Dr Henry Jekyll (yes, that Dr Jekyll) and a new twist to the Mummy legend (this time round she’s a woman). However, it’s also got a terrible script (possibly because it was written by not one but six screenwriters), leaden plotting, and about as much excitement and scares as an episode of Teletubbies.
A dull prologue about tombs being found under London during the Crossrail excavations doesn’t inspire much in the way of tension, and things (including any expectations that the film will be watchable) go speedily downhill from there.
In Ancient Egypt, power-mad princess Ahmanet (Boutella) practices some dark magic, murders her father, stepmother and baby brother but is caught before she can complete a ritual that will turn her lover into a god. She’s mummified alive and stays that way until the present day when idiot reconnaissance soldier Nick (Cruise) and his comic relief pal Chris (Jake Johnson) explode a hole in a Middle Eastern street (don’t ask) and reveal her tomb. Egyptologist Jenny Halsey (Wallis) knows this is a significant find, but even she can’t predict that Ahmanet will come back to life and pursue Nick, stalker style, after deciding he is her chosen one.
Unfortunately, Nick is so unlikeable that you don’t care whether Ahmanet sucks the life out of him or not, and it doesn’t help that most of the action takes place in dimly lit churches, tunnels and crypts. A monster who draws the lifeforce from people and turns them into zombies (that can run, swim, and look ready to dance to Michael Jackson’s Thriller) would be more frightening if we could actually clearly see what is going on – instead what we’ve got is a load of extras in decaying make-up and dodgy teeth fumbling around in the dark (perhaps they’re looking for the exit).
Even Russell Crowe’s enjoyable blathering on about the nature of evil isn’t gripping enough to make you care about what Ahmanet is up to. Instead you’ll gnash your teeth as the filmmakers shamelessly borrow from other movies (An American Werewolf In London being the most obvious, while a plane crash must surely have been put in after someone said in a meeting ‘we need to add something to remind people of Tom’s good movies, like Mission: Impossible’).
You’ll scratch your head trying to guess whether director Alex Kurtzman thought he was making a comedy, horror or adventure movie (it tries to be all three at different times but succeeds at none). And you’ll wonder just what Tom Cruise was thinking, wandering dazed and confused throughout (perhaps he’s looking for the exit, too) and delivering the worst performance of his career.
Is The Mummy (2017) suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...
This is a 15 certificate film in the UK, and PG-13 in the US, and has those ratings for sustained threat and horror. Please note that children under the age of 15 will not be admitted to UK 15 certificate films, even with an adult.
Scenes that may upset sensitive viewers and younger children include:
The murder of Ahmanet’s family – while it is not graphic, some blood spurts onto her.
She sucks the life out of humans and turns them into zombies.
One character is killed, another is stabbed.
At one point, a swarm of rats covers Nick’s body.
Younger children (under 11) may also be scared by the plane crash.
Children under 13 may find the film too tense, simply because most of the action takes place in the dark so you keep expecting things to jump out at you.
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