Not since 1935, when the bride of Frankenstein first shambled on screen, has there been a more iconic female movie monster…until now. Meet princess Ahmanet, the undead villainous star of Universal Pictures’ monster reboot “The Mummy.” The film stars Tom Cruise, Russell Crowe, and Sofia Boutella and is directed by Alex Kurtzman.
After Nick Morton (Cruise), a brash soldier/ treasure hunter unearths the long-forgotten tomb of an ancient Egyptian being, he inadvertently unleashes a great evil upon the world. Mummified alive for her heinous crimes, princess Ahmanet (Boutella) returns to wreak havoc upon the modern world and claim the power that is rightfully hers. Nick must find a way to stop Ahmanet and break the wicked hold she has over him before she revives an even greater evil. To defeat such a power will require a great sacrifice.
While it lacks the humor and thrills of its predecessors, the reboot boasts plenty of action and chilling special effects. The corpses that Ahmanet leaves in her wake are brought back to life through the power of some seriously chilling computer animation, making for some of the most truly frightening mummies on the screen to date. Though primarily an action flick, the film packs plenty of unexpected jump scares that will have audience members stifling screams and launching their popcorn into the air.
There are, however, a number of other factors that give “The Mummy” an overall “meh” vibe. Ahmanet’s backstory is a little too fanciful for an action/thriller flick; the fact that the key to her vengeance is a magical dagger seems a bit too much like a dark fairytale and makes it a tad hard to take the film and its story seriously. Much of the plot was also easily predictable and made quite bland by its lack of stellar performances.
Tom Cruise was, well, he was Tom Cruise. While he pulled off the action scenes with natural ease and believability, his humor was bland and halfhearted and he lacked the sensitivity needed for more emotional scenes. While Cruise’s character undergoes some serious development, he carries out every scene with his deadly serious action hero bravado, making the dramatic and important changes barely noticeable and takes away their intended emotional effect.
The film’s crowned jewel was Russell Crowe. His portrayal of a certain iconic doctor is diverse, believably natural, and effective. Crowe added the perfect blend of suavity, intellect, and menace to the role, a role that he will thankfully reprise in an upcoming film in Universal’s new Dark Universe.
“The Mummy” is the first installment in the Dark Universe, an extension of Universal Pictures under which several of the company’s classic monster movies will be rebooted and released. It serves as Universal’s equivalent to the Marvel and DC universes. Fans of the original black and white Universal monsters should be on the lookout for future reboots such as “The Invisible Man,” “Frankenstein” and “The Bride of Frankenstein,” and “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.”
As far as risky reboots go, “The Mummy” was an entertaining ride with a lot of unused potential. It’s decision to make the mummy a woman was a brilliant and bold move and perhaps helped to launch the era of the female monster. It’s a must see before it leaves the theaters, but don’t rush. The film gets a 3/5.