♦Tripwire’s editor-in-chief JOEL MEADOWS takes a look at Universal’s reboot of The Mummy starring Tom Cruise, out now…
Director: Alex Kurtzman
Stars: Tom Cruise, Sofia Boutella, Annabelle Wallis
Nine years have passed since The Mummy: Tomb of The Dragon Emperor and Universal have been keen to reboot this franchise. When it was announced that it would be Tom Cruise, reactions were mixed. When former JJ Abrams alumni Alex Kurtzman was added to the mix, people were still unsure what to expect. The first two Brendan Fraser Mummy films were thoroughly enjoyable slices of pulp hokum with tongue firmly in cheek. The Tomb of The Dragon Emperor was still entertaining but lacked the chemistry that Fraser had with Weisz. So almost a decade later and we have The Mummy with everyone’s favourite diminutive Hollywood action star Cruise.
Kurtzman has moved the action to the modern day and Cruise plays US soldier Nick Morton with his sidekick Chris Vail (Jake Johnson), in Iraq on the hunt for valuable antiquities. They manage to unearth the tomb of disgraced princess Ahmanet (played by Boutella) and unwittingly free her from her imprisonment to wreak havoc on the world. Added to the mix is Russell Crowe, who plays Dr Henry Jekyll, who heads up a team to hunt down and capture various monsters from around the world. Of course, Jekyll if you couldn’t guess from that surname has a dark secret.
So this latest incarnation of The Mummy is broader and more ambitious than the Fraser ones just because they are obviously intent on creating a shared universe with the Universal Monsters creations. Cruise has this uncanny knack mostly of managing to somehow inject likeability into bloated Hollywood blockbusters. He has done it with Mission: Impossible and he has pulled it off here. Morton is a far more contemporary figure than Fraser’s O’Connell and so 2017’s The Mummy feels a little less pulpy than its progenitors. However the presence of Crowe as the schizophrenic monster does lend it that adventure feel that it may have lacked otherwise.
It isn’t perfect by any means: Wallis as Jenny Halsey has none of the allure that Weisz had and is fairly wooden in places and the set up for more adventures towards the end does feel a little forced. However, the effects are very impressive although it is quite obviously Oxford they are using to stand in for London and Cruise shows why he has enjoyed decades as a box office favourite. Boutella does make for a decently deranged central villain with as much depth as you can get away with for an undead Egyptian princess
The Universal monsters have always captured the audience’s imaginations for decades and maybe Universal have found a way to bring them all together ala Marvel universe in a movie adventure series that stays true to the original concepts while offering something fresh for 21st century moviegoers.
I admit that I was pretty skeptical but The Mummy is a decent stab at reinventing the characters and concepts for a modern audience.
The Mummy is out now at cinemas in the UK and US