Film Review: The Mummy

by Gordon Elgart on June 9, 2017

It’s a tale full of idiots, told with sound and fury, signifying nothing

There’s a scene in The Mummy, Universal Pictures’s latest movie with this much-used title, where zombie Knights Templar are swimming furiously at Tom Cruise. If this sounds like the kind of movie you would like, you might like this one. You would, however, not be me. This scene, like most of what occurs in this film, is utter nonsense.

Tom Cruise stars as Nick, a soldier who spends his time in the military looting antiquities and selling them on the black market. We’re introduced to him as he’s convincing Vail (Jake Johnson) to accompany him on a search for treasure, using a map we soon find out he stole from Jenny (Annabelle Wallis) after a one night stand in Baghdad. Soon, before we know it, he has happened upon the tomb of an Egyptian … princess(??) … that turns out to be Ahmanet, who wasn’t entombed here, but imprisoned, because she has the power of the God of Death, Seth, I think.

Now Nick is a total dick, yet we’re supposed to root for him to not be killed, perhaps, or maybe we want him to die? But he has good in him, says Annabelle, because he saved her life before he died, but was brought back to life because now he’s the chosen one, but then he’s seeing visions of Egypt and having conversations with dead people, and then Russell Crowe is in here as another famous monster for some reason.

And The Mummy (Sofia Boutella) kisses guys and turns them into zombies that obey her, and the kiss also sucks out their life force as if she were a Succubus or maybe the space vampire from Lifeforce (which is much better than this), all of which are powers I didn’t know mummies were supposed to have, but I guess are needed in order to have fights with zombies (fast, in case you were wondering), because zombies are so in right now, or maybe they were when one of the six scriptwriters took their turn at this drivel.

Tom Cruise is an exceptional actor, and is great at action beats. His running skills are well known, but when crazy things are happening to him, like he’s about to crash in a plane, you totally buy it. Typically, his characters are smarter than his nemeses, but, in this role, his character is a complete dummy. There are decisions the character makes that are so ludicrously foolish, it’s a wonder he ever stole a single antiquity successfully. Let’s just call this The Dummy and get it over with. 

This one definitely does not pass the Bechdel Test. The women in the movie are totally wasted. Annabelle Wallis has three jobs in this movie — have pretty eyes, look good wet, and scream “Nick!” a lot. Sofia Boutella is mainly obscured by weird makeup and bad effects, and is almost completely defined as a character by her quest to find a man to be her chosen one. It’s gonna take a while before the success of Wonder Woman influences women’s roles in action films.

And the last reason this movie is disappointing may be that the purpose of the film was not to tell this one story, but to set up yet another franchise. This time, they’re calling it the Dark Universe, and they intend to create a team of monsters that has to team up to fight an even greater evil. Just stop. Stop. Stop! Make a movie, and if the movie is good and people respond, then decide if you want to make a sequel. The point of a movie should not be to set up a sequel, but to tell a complete, satisfying story. There’s no attempt to do that here. The Mummy (2017) is a great excuse to stay home and watch The Mummy from 1999, 1959, or especially the Boris Karloff classic from 1932. 


The Mummy opens in Bay Area theaters today. This was screened in IMAX 3-D. While the presentation was excellent, the 3-D conversion isn’t essential.


Gordon Elgart

A music nerd who probably uses that term too much. I have a deep love for bombastic, quirky and dynamic music.

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