FILM UNFILTERED - Cruise can't carry remake of ‘The Mummy’

FILM UNFILTERED - Cruise can't carry remake of ‘The Mummy’


I’m beginning to think audiences are either bored with continued reboots or tiring of once popular actors attempting to extend their careers. This week, Universal is hefting its new incarnation of “The Mummy” on theater goers in the hopes it will rekindle interest in their stable of classic movie monsters. This film is poised to launch new iterations of the Invisible Man, Wolfman and Frankenstein. I think it’s fairly safe to say that basing the future of those properties on this film was not a good idea.

Viewers are also likely to be confused since Brendan Fraser starred in three highly profitable “Mummy” films starting in 1999 and the last most recently as 2008. But since studios take greater interest in profits over solid storytelling they keep going back to the well rather than digging a new one.

This time around, the usually bankable Tom Cruise is on board as Nick Morton, an adventurous treasure hunter. He comes across a hidden tomb that holds an evil princess named Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella) and before long she is unearthed and strange things start happening. His companion Jenny (Annabelle Wallis) thinks it’s all a bad idea and advises against it. But since this film is so predictable, her warnings go unheeded. It’s hard to tell what’s more unbelievable, the budding relationship between Nick and Jenny or some of the other implausible story developments.

Cruise has been for many years a reliable action star, but here he just seems like a parody of himself, an amalgam of previous characters. But it isn’t just Cruise, there’s plenty of other problems. I don’t know if the writers are just trying to dumb down the movie-going experience and take away surprise or plot development, but you get the impression they are less interested in entertaining and eager to show off unimpressive CGI scenes.

This film just cannot get out of its own way, it’s a mess from the start and sputters repeatedly throughout.

Boutella is completely wasted here and left to wither in the wind. Her talents are suffocated under an insufferable plot with more holes than a termite infested piece of firewood. Cruise is unremarkable and utterly boring for great lengths of time. He may be entertaining in the “Mission Impossible” films but playing that same character in other films with slight variations is not much of a stretch.

The special effects are standard stuff and the outcomes are all obviously predictable from 30 minutes out. Russell Crowe is shoe horned in as Dr. Jekyll and he is as insufferably dull as Cruise is.

If Universal had any credibility they’d cut bait now and give up on trying to resurrect these 1940s era characters. If they’re not compelling or interesting enough to someone like me who loved “The Creature from the Black Lagoon” growing up, then millennials who don’t know (nor care) of their history aren’t going to be any more curious. If Universal has any hopes of resuscitating these classic characters they are going to need to create far more worthwhile tales.

Director Alex Kurtzman has a lengthy resume as a writer and producer but far shorter repertoire behind the lens and calling the shots. I also think there may have been too many cooks in the kitchen on the screenplay and story.

Rated PG13.

Sofia Boutella stars as the evil princess, Ahmanet, in the 2017 adaption of “The Mummy.”