Dracula Untold didn’t do so well in launching the Dark Universe so Universal Pictures tries again with The Mummy reboot. The studio is about to learn that you shouldn’t stir the dust off Brendan Fraser’s career.
Casting Tom Cruise as the lead is a profitable decision. But when you’re building a connected universe, movie star appeal doesn’t matter. In the game of franchises, the movie is the star. More importantly, The Mummy is already a beloved franchise (except for the 3rd movie).
When you watch this reboot, it becomes more obvious why it’s not going to work – it’s a Cruise controlled star vehicle.
Cruise still plays an American soldier, but now he’s also a thief with a sidekick. There’s a British woman here, but now she’s tied to a secret organization. They unintentionally free a mummy with unfinished business, who ends up to be Nick Morton, who is of course played by Tom Cruise.
The plot takes every chance it gets to dump exposition and get the backstory out of the way so Cruise can do his thing. The action set pieces are not as crazy nor inventive as his Mission Impossible stunts, but he cheats death aplenty. There’s a car chase, an airplane sequence, a shot of him of running, and a fight scene where he nearly gets beaten to death.
The characters are forgettable blips on the screen written to serve his plotline in the story. Wooden Annabelle Wallis is there to convince the viewers that the actor she shares no on-screen chemistry with plays a redeemable jerk. Underused Jake Johnson exists as his guide. Wasted Sofia Boutella appears mostly to give him more screen time.
The script never bothers to do anything interesting with its recycled premise. In fact, its supposed story about an ambitious princess is steered into the story of Nick Morton as he becomes a monster and used as a prologue for the Dark Universe. This would’ve made sense if the movie isn’t about The Mummy and advertised itself as a reboot of the 1999 original.
The action scenes provide some distraction because Tom Cruise sells it. When the movie is not using flat CGI and rehashing the source material, it borrows from other better horror movies.
The result is a lifeless movie that marches to the generic beats of blockbuster fanfare, a disjointed story, and an ill-advised decision to launch a cinematic universe with a misguided reboot.
The Mummy 2017 strips off everything that made the 1999 original a campy yet fun adventure yarn with old school horror. It neither has the romantic nor group chemistry to make it engaging too. It is a Mission Impossible episode with a mummy.
The Mummy (2017)
The Mummy is a lifeless mediocre CGI-driven reboot and a badly executed attempt to launch Dark Universe.