REVIEW | In ‘The Mummy,’ the true curse is that the film is rather disappointing

June 10, 2017 - 7:41 PM
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Tom Cruise in 'The Mummy.'

Tom Cruise is actually a very consistent movie star.

In his most recent outings, he has been making enjoyable blockbuster films by surrounding himself with good directors like Doug Liman (“Edge of Tomorrow”), Christopher McQuarrie (“Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation,” “Jack Reacher”), and Joseph Kosinski (“Oblivion”).

You know exactly what you’re going to get from a Tom Cruise movie: compelling stories, the best stunts and special effects, and a general fun time at the cinema.

Cruise is not even afraid to share the limelight and give great moments to his co-stars, like giving Emily Blunt her due in “Edge of Tomorrow” and Rebecca Ferguson in “Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation.” So after coming from a string of good blockbuster movies, “The Mummy” reboot with director Alex Kurtzman is such a disappointment because the movie is repetitive and uninspired.

Tom Cruise plays Nick Morton, who appears to be a part of the army but he somehow manages to deal in treasure hunting and that’s how he finds himself in a tomb of an ancient Egyptian princess that has been written out of history because of her connection to the Egyptian god of death, Set.

From the Persian gulf to London, Nick Morton is now cursed and is the key to stopping the Egyptian mummy with the powers of Set (played by Sofia Boutella).

In the mix is Russell Crowe playing the leader of an organization that battles evil but has a dark secret of his own and Annabelle Wallis (of “Peaky Blinders”), who plays Jenny Halsey, a woman who is probably an Egyptologist or an archeologist with ties to both men.

And if my synopsis seems very unsure, it’s due to the fact that the film doesn’t even attempt to set any sort of groundwork for the characters or the plot.

What makes the film so uninspired is that it is hell-bent in getting straight into the action and forgets to establish and develop the characters.

Nick Morton is a cad who slept with Jenny Halsey at some point before the movie and he stole a map from her, which leads us to the beginning of the film.

Throughout the film, there is a manufactured tension between Morton and Halsey but there’s not enough backstory to really push the love angle forward, nor is there chemistry, and it becomes problematic because it turns out to be an important plot point later on.

And Nick Morton himself is portrayed as an unreliable treasure hunter who only thinks about himself. At a crucial point, the story hinges on him being a good person inside but the film sort of forgot to show us any evidence of it. It’s as if the writers and the director were so focused on making these amazing set pieces and action sequences that they forgot to create moments that show us what motivates these people and who they are really.

Nick Morton is a character Tom Cruise can play in his sleep. He has done wonderfully with a similar character in “Edge of Tomorrow” but it seems he’s phoning it in in “The Mummy.” The comedic sequences fall short because either the joke isn’t funny or the delivery just doesn’t stick its landing. It’s a strange thing to watch a Tom Cruise movie and not enjoy yourself at all.

And at some point, the plot gets repetitive. Nick and Jenny just keep finding themselves in very sticky situations but you never feel like they are getting anywhere closer to a clear destination. You aren’t sure what they are running from or running towards and why.

At 110 minutes, its the shortest “Mummy” movie in comparison to the Brendan Fraser ones and I think they could have afforded an additional 15 minutes for character development and backstories.

“The Mummy” is supposed to be the beginning of a “monster universe” for Universal. A franchise that features all the classic horror films in the Universal catalogue — from the mummy, vampires, werewolves, the swamp thing, and all of the creatures of the night — but considering how uninspired this first outing is turning out to be, they might want to rethink the whole series.