Thursday, July 13, 2017

'The Mummy' Is a Monstrous, Bankrupt Cash-Grab

The latest reboot of The Mummy franchise is meant as the first installment of the “Dark Universe”, a.k.a. Universal’s attempt to replicate the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe by creating its own shared universe for its classic monster film properties.

The movie stars Tom Cruise as Nick Morton, a soldier-of-fortune who accidentally unearths the tomb of Ahmanet, a vengeful Egyptian princess who had sold her soul to the god of evil Set and who was mummified and buried alive by the Pharaoh’s priests as punishment for her crimes.  Free after thousands of years of being entombed, Ahmanet intends to unleash evil into the world.  But standing on her way are Nick and Prodigium, a secret society dedicated to contain, study, and destroy monsters and which is led by Dr. Henry Jekyll (Russell Crowe), who himself is harboring an evil inside.
I’ve been quite fond of The Mummy films starring Brendan Fraser.  They aren’t necessarily classics.  In fact, they are pretty campy.  And the third one is actually cheap and terrible.  But they are extremely entertaining.  Especially the first one (the only one of the three I got to watch in a theater), which is one of my all-time favorite films to re-watch.

On the other hand, I probably won’t watch this year’s The Mummy reboot again.  It’s monstrously bankrupt of substance and justification for existing; it doesn’t offer anything remotely rewarding.  It’s devoid of the campy, humorous, adventure fun of the Fraser movies as well as the thrills of an adequate monster movie.  It has a few cool moments and ideas, and the presence of Tom Cruise in a movie is always a positive, but these are far outweighed by a poorly-thought-out, exposition-heavy, stupid, uninspired script full of crappy dialogue and bland characters making tons of dumb decisions.
If this movie is any indication, the “Dark Universe” franchise isn’t worth getting excited about, even with its star power (aside from Cruise and Crowe, Johnny Depp and Javier Bardem have been cast for future films).  The lack of effort to make this “Dark Universe” worthwhile is an indication of lack of vision.  It’s the worst kind of cash-grab.

Ironically, it didn’t make that much cash in the box office.

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