All hail the new Dark Universe which launches with The Mummy – Universal Studio’s ambitious reboot of their classic monsters who will end up rubbing shoulders in one big shared cinematic crossover. Sounds exciting, huh?
Erm, alas you might want to lower your expectations based on The Mummy which follows recognisance expert soldier Nick Morton (Tom Cruise), a guy who is partial to hunting for some illicit treasure whilst running and gunning around Iraq. Nick finds himself caught up in the plans of the ‘ultimate evil’ after he inadvertently reawakens nasty Egyptian princess Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella) thanks to calling in a drone strike that reveals her tomb/prison.
The action kicks off with some nice set pieces but because you have Cruise in the lead role it does all feel a bit ‘sub-Mission Impossible’ and even ‘haven’t we seen this stuff before?’
It gets worse however once the writers start shoe-horning in characters such as Dr. Jekyll/Mr Hyde (Russell Crowe) who couldn’t be less scary if he tried. The transformation between Jekyll and Hyde comes across more like a straight-laced scientist morphing into cockney-tastic Danny Dyer ... there was laughter in the screening I was at and it wasn’t because of any of the limp jokes made but due to the sheer preposterousness of the plot.
Sofia Boutella, however, does all she can as the main baddie – and she looks the part thanks to the big budget effects - but even in her world destroying Mummy guise she never feels like a threat that can’t be beaten because it’s Tom Cruise up against her.
It’s tragic that a film with so much talent and budget can only deliver such average entertainment at best. The fact is that this feels poorly written and poorly thought through - or designed by a squabbling committee of execs - means that the end product lurches about from one unfeasible plot point to the next without making sense.
Also along the dispiriting ride are Jake Johnson who plays Nick’s soldier buddy Chris and Annabelle Wallis as Egyptologist Jenny Halsey who serves as an ex-love interest for Nick.
Review by Matt Adcock