The Mummy – 2/5 – Movie Reviews by Ry!

The Mummy – 2/5 – Monster films are an odd breed of storytelling.  Any film that uses the ‘monster’ niche as a central part has a tough task in being entertaining.  These films can never stick in to one genre.  The Mummy is that kind of monster film that tries to infuse different details, but fails to capture a true central purpose of what it wants to be.  It tries it’s best to create an intriguing world, but falls just short.  In the end, The Mummy becomes just another throwaway monster film.

Premise: An ancient princess of Egypt has been awoken in the 21st Century.  With unstoppable power, will one man be able to save the world from the unveiling of Gods and Monsters.

In the prominent roles are:

Tom Cruise as Nick Morton (Protagonist)

Sofia Boutella as Ahmanet (Antagonist)

Russell Crowe as Dr. Jekyll (The Wise/Informer)

Annabelle Wallis as Jenny Halsey. (Love Interest)

These four play the predictable archetypes (in parentheses) to the tee.  You expect more from these four, but can only do so much with a lack of development and a standard script.  Tom Cruise is the only one of these four that stands out.  He provides the central figure as Nick Morton.  In this role, he gives you that kind of aura you might expect from an actor of his caliber.  He does a great job in adding dimension to Morton’s personality, creating a witty figure that is slick but flawed in his reactions.  Even for a lot of the staggering situations, character interactions and obvious foreshadowing quips, Cruise provides some level of entertainment that goes beyond the character’s archetype.  For the rest of the cast (includes those not mentioned above), they are one-dimensional characters that become forgettable on screen.  At most, they help provide movement of ‘position’ for the story, creating some reason to go from one scene to the next.  A big flaw for most of these characters is that at times, they feel completely out of place.  With a lot of contradiction in storytelling (explained later), the dialogue comes across very awkward.  This creates points where something ‘important’ becomes wasted, creating a sense of confusion for any particular character.  At best, you see a lot of interesting details that become lost opportunities.

The direction can only be described as a complete mess.  With a script that starts with a purpose of creating a ‘cinematic universe’ within a reinvention of a classic monster tale, it becomes a tug-a-war between genres.  Trying to add elements of action, drama and horror without a concise path provides an experience where it is uneven in the pace, style and tone.  There are too many ideas that literally fragment the purpose of the story.  From scene to scene, you can feel a jarring of different writers trying to provide their own ‘vision’ for this new world of ‘Gods and Monsters’.  What it becomes is failed attempts at storytelling, world building, character development and sequences of no value.  As the film’s first act attempts to introduce you to this world of monsters through forced narration, it lays out a ‘new’ version of where Ahmanet (The Mummy) came from, why she was ‘buried’ alive, how Nick Morton ‘finds’ her, and the ‘web’ of connection between the past, present and future.  From here, the direction moves along the typical ‘race against time’ scenario.  Once everything is set, the second act continues the linearity position in fragments of scenes, set pieces and ‘lacking’ dramatic dialogue.  There is no explanation of what matters, why anything is going on and if you need to care at all.  You feel like there are a lot of loose ends that have potential for something better.  For all the shining moments from the ‘monster’ lore and some spots of awesome action sequences, it quickly gets overshadowed by awkward situations, unnecessary relationship drama and unneeded ‘comedic’ dialogue.  As we head into the third act, it goes completely into a different direction.  It throws away all the world building of a cinematic universe for some ‘attempt’ at a characterization of Ahmanet.  In the climax, it is your predictable ‘good vs. evil’ confrontation.  As the epilogue brings everything to a close, you come to the realization that for the slight inclination to create a connected world, it ends with no real idea of where it is going for future sequels.

The cinematography is the only great part of the film.  From the action set pieces, ‘brooding’ atmosphere and ‘horror-like’ character designs, you see some positives in the overall world creation.  The dynamic created through the visuals gives worth to a believable world in a fantastical setting.  The score is predictable, basic and common for these kinds of films.

The Mummy is a monster film which doesn’t know what it wants to be.  Sometimes it is a horror and sometimes it is an action film.  In any case, outside of Tom Cruise and some action set pieces, there isn’t much of a worthy experience here.  You can give it a chance if you like monster films, otherwise wait to rent this thing later.

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