"I said, 'Listen, I think this is the way to approach this.' It's a hell of a lot of fun".
On its surface,"The Mummy" is a decent action/adventure movie with a bit of horror elements like jump scares and bringing the dead to life or anything that involves the mummy, Ahmanet (Sophia Boutella), being the stereotypical mummified evil princess who needs to suck the life out of people in order to regain her powers. Did Stephen Sommers inadvertently direct a movie that will be retroactively set in the newly-formed Dark Universe?
Universal has long wanted to reboot its classic Monsters - like Dracula, Frankenstein, and the Creature of the Black Lagoon - but its attempts, such as 2014's "Dracula Untold" and 2010's "The Wolfman", flopped hard. Cinematic universes require you to care about characters and want to follow the consequences of their actions, and "The Mummy" is instantly forgettable, with characters that are equally unmemorable. Shakespeare, it ain't, but for a summer blockbuster, it's totally fine. Also starring Russell Crowe, New Girl's Jake Johnson and Annabelle Wallis. He forces his sidekick (Jake Johnson) into insanely unsafe situations (a firefight in Iraq laced with bickering-buddy comedy), beds a woman (Annabelle Wallis' ancient-Egypt expert Jenny Halsey) only to sneak off with her buried-treasure intel, and generally insists that he's conspicuously "masculine". As Hyde wails on Nick, Jenny tries to gain entrance into the room to assist him. But unfortunately for Nick, the cat in this game happens to be immortal and all powerful. Egyptian princess Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella) was raised to become the first female pharaoh.
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The movie shows Cruise in his usual stunt highlights that will most likely make the audience doubt whether what he did was a real stunt or CGI like the plane crash scene, where Cruise and Wallis struggle to survive a free-falling C-130. His comedic timing is strong and, like his Jack Reacher character, this role requires him to play a man with iffy ethical principles.
Amid negative reviews, some tracking services estimate that the films opening weekend gross could reach as low as $32 million, which would not be a good start for the first in a planned series of films in the Dark Universe. It's unappealing to the eye and the story isn't much better.
When fellow KSL critic Dave Clyde and I walked out of the theater, we had a similar thought, "Visual effects in movies are getting better and better". But it is Cruise's under-appreciated comedic ability that shines through in the film - like when he wakes up naked and among cadavers inside a morgue. Seeing the elaborate underground tomb the heroes stumble into inspires the kind of wonder that only a big-budget adventure movie can.
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