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[Review] – ‘The Mummy’

 
 
Overview
 

Release Date: 9th July 2017 [USA]
 
Director: Alex Kurtzman
 
Writer: David Koepp - Christopher McQuarrie - Dylan Kussman - [Screenplay] - Jon Spats - Alex Kurtzman - Jenny Lumet [Screen Story]
 
Cast: Tom Cruise - Sofia Boutella - Annabelle Wallis
 
Direction
 
 
 
 
 


 
Writing
 
 
 
 
 


 
Performance
 
 
 
 
 


 
Sound & Music
 
 
 
 
 


 
Cinematography
 
 
 
 
 


 
Editing
 
 
 
 
 


 
Visual Effects
 
 
 
 
 


 
Total Score
 
 
 
 
 
3.5/5


User Rating
1 total rating

 


0
Posted July 19, 2017 by

 
Full Article
 
 

Review:

It was when watching Tom Cruise and Annabelle Wallis being interviewed on The Graham Norton Show that I first saw a clip for Alex Kurtzman’s latest blockbuster The Mummy (2017). The protagonists Nick Morton (Cruise) and Jenny Halsey (Wallis) were plummeting to the ground in a failing aircraft, both clutching for parachutes whilst a wing from the plane is torn away. Halsey is then pulled from the aircraft, with her parachute opening, whilst the plane continues to soar towards the ground below, and for once, I thought that this blockbuster had promise. For years I have avoided this type of film – big budget, filled to the brim with CGI, mindless explosions, a predictable narrative – but something was telling me to give it a try this time, despite the poor reviews.

The film follows Nick Morton, a military officer who discovers the tomb of the ancient Egyptian Princess Ahmanet, along with archaeologist Jenny Halsey, and friend Sergeant Vail: a character who seems to serve as the exceedingly annoying sidekick, incessantly shouting useless information and cracking bad jokes when possible. Upon the discovery of her tomb, Princess Ahmanet is revived from death, in search for a dagger which will give her mortality and a long-awaited reunion with the Egyptian god Set. As evident, the film’s narrative is fairly simple – Ahmanet searches for her dagger, whilst Morton and Halsey try to stop her. However, the action was consistent throughout (something expected from modern-day blockbusters) and the film was successful in retaining my attention for a couple of hours. Yet despite this positive experience I took from the film, there were tiring aspects that I should have expected. For a 15 rated film, I found the humour quite immature, and the supporting characters giggling at how long Cruise’s character could last in bed seemed to bring down the dark, eerie tone that the film’s advertising campaign had created. Yet this tone was conveyed through the violence in the film, with one scene in particular showing the cracking of a character’s ribs (you could hear the majority of the cinema audience wincing – including me), and the groups of decomposing zombie-like creatures that serve as Ahmanet’s army. But despite this, the film felt misplaced – violent, yet laced with silly humour, almost as if it couldn’t quite work out who the audience was going to be.

As mentioned before, the film did receive poor reviews from many critics, and consequently did not do as well at the box office, compared to other films that director Alex Kurtzman also co-wrote – The Mummy received $377 million worldwide, whilst Transformers (2007) received $709 million, showing a clear contrast in success. Whilst the film is not a direct remake of the 1999 film The Mummy, starring Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz, it is possible that many audiences assumed it would be, and therefore avoided the idea of another failed remake – maybe they wanted to avoid disappointment? Or maybe audiences are starting to get fed up with the conventions associated with blockbusters, that I explained earlier– the predictable narratives, and the overused scenes of action that we feel like we’ve seen before.

However, there was one aspect of the film that I did thoroughly enjoy, and that was the Gothic references littered throughout the narrative. In one scene, Morton and Halsey race through a graveyard to stop Ahmanet’s trail of destruction, whilst clouds of fog swirl around the headstones, and the church’s silhouette can be seen in the mist – a landscape reminiscent of English Gothic novels. Also, the incorporation of Dr. Henry Jekyll as a character into the narrative referred back to Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic Gothic novella – an element which seemed quite random upon watching the film, but made sense upon reading about Universal’s new project entitled The Dark Universe. Much like the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Dark Universe is a cinematic universe incorporating classic movie monsters (such as Dracula, The Wolfman and The Invisible Man) into modern-day films – little did I know that The Mummy is the first film in this new collection of films, yet at least this incorporation of characters now makes more sense than before. With the next instalment in the franchise being Bride of Frankenstein (2019), I think the Dark Universe looks promising – bringing back classic movie monsters, and putting a new twist on blockbusters that otherwise would have been viewed as lacking originality and innovation.

Unfortunately, my experience of The Mummy hasn’t really changed my view on the modern blockbuster – it is clearly made for profit, with little sincerity or thoughtfulness to the narrative, but does serve its purpose to thrill and entertain, with consistent sequences of action and the usual cat-and-mouse chase between protagonist and antagonist. For a couple of hours of entertainment, it could be worth the watch, but the film doesn’t stand out as anything special in the year so far, and thus I’m yet to see a blockbuster that will blow me away.

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Lyndsay Townsend
@LyndsayT99
Freelance Contributor

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