Usually I try to avoid bad movies or just movies that I’ve heard about and think “yeah I’m not gonna go see that anytime soon, if at all”. When I went and saw movies like Fan4stic, Point Break 2015, 50 Shades of Grey, Bad Santa 2, and others, it’s mostly out of morbid curiosity, to see if they could be as bad as I think they are. Also they can be a good way to kill time, but then sometimes it ends up being time I could’ve spent doing anything else considering what wastes they were. Out of the bad movies I’ve seen this year, Transformers 5 was like that, but The Mummy, on the other hand, is probably that other kind of bad movie, the hilariously bad kind, and it might just be the most hilariously bad movie I’ve seen this year so far. It’s so hilariously bad that for Tom Cruise, I don’t think even the Church of Scientology can keep this UNDER WRAPS lol.
Before getting into this, let’s go over something here. Actually, this might factor into the movie itself, considering how it shoves this particular thing so much into it (giggity). Ever since Marvel got their cinematic universe up and running with their characters and stories portrayed in film and TV, other studios and companies want to cash in on the trend (to be fair, cinematic universes are nothing new, they’ve been done before, heck the original Universal Monsters is one of the earliest examples of this). DC has tried it several times with their stuff to mixed results before finally settling on doing a multiverse (DCEU, Arrowverse, Gothamverse, and whatever else), Legendary and Warner Bros. along with Toho got their MonsterVerse up and running with the new Godzilla and King Kong movies, Fox and Sony are trying to literally have their Marvel cake and eat it too with what Marvel stuff they still have rights to (Fox, stop trying to do Fantastic Four and give it back to Marvel, as well as X-Men, and Sony, what are you doing with the Spider-Man stuff, I thought you worked it out already?) and now it’s Universal tackling this trend by reviving their Universal Monsters, consisting of Dracula, Frankenstein, Gill-man, The Wolf Man, and others, calling it “Dark Universe” for some reason (wasn’t that gonna be the title for the potential live-action Justice League Dark movie?).
This isn’t exactly the first time Universal has tried to revive their monster flicks. There were The Mummy movies with Brendan Fraser that were pretty good, though I never saw the third one and I heard that’s crap. Van Helsing is a guilty pleasure at best but it’s still a pretty silly movie. The Wolf Man remake in 2010 was ok despite being kinda boring, though if I hadn’t seen that I wouldn’t have gotten interested in werewolves and gone out to see An American Werewolf in London, which is my favorite movie of all time. And then there’s Dracula Untold, which despite its cliches and some obvious attempts at starting a cinematic universe, Luke Evans was awesome as the title character and the overall story was more self-contained in comparison than whatever this movie has, and yet for some reason the people doing the Dark Universe don’t exactly consider it “canon”? Is it because this movie has Tom Cruise that it’s now the “first installment”? Idk.
It also doesn’t help that this movie had several writers attached to it. Last I checked, there were at least SIX WRITERS credited for this. Heck, several directors were attached to this at different points before Alex Kurtzman got onboard, and given how this movie is, I wouldn’t be surprised he just stepped in at the last minute just to get this movie done and meet a release date or something. Granted, having several writers attached to a film or series is nothing new, but considering how this movie panned out, it’s just exemplary of how all over the place this movie is at times, especially in the movie’s settings, locations, tone, and storytelling in general. It’s like several drafts of the script were just melded into one and the results were, well, what this movie turned out to be, which is a disjointed mess, yet a hilarious one at that. First the movie is set in ancient times with narration explaining shit, then it’s set in the Middle East with some modern war stuff going on, then it’s in the UK where shenanigans ensue and more exposition and cinematic universe stuff happen, and then whatever else. This movie has no consistency, other than consistently boring and/or hilarity, not to mention action scenes taking place at nighttime where you can barely see anything happen, because we all love that kind of stuff, right?
Despite my misgivings about Tom Cruise being in this, he’s pretty great. He’s got some charisma of course, but he’s a bit more humorous and kind of an asshole than he is in other movies I’ve seen him in, which I think helps to differentiate from his other roles. He’s got some funny lines that do land and seeing him get into the shenanigans that partake in this movie are alright. Also, thanks to his screaming in the plane crash scene, I think we might have the first ever live-action attempt at doing the Garzey’s Wing scream, and it’s just as hilarious as you can imagine if you know what I’m talking about. Heck it’s been shown on the trailers for this movie so there’s that. Russell Crowe was also another great part of this movie and seeing him and Cruise interacting with each other was nice and just a showcase of two really big actors coming together.
While I don’t think a lot of focus was given to her character, Sofia Boutella is fantastic as the titular monster of this flick. I’ve only seen her in Star Trek Beyond and she was great in that, so I definitely wanna check out other movies she’s been in like Kingsman: The Secret Service and Atomic Blonde. Seeing as how the mummy in this movie is a girl now and there’s been a wave of “woman power” stuff going on lately, especially with Wonder Woman being out and all, I don’t think this movie exactly plays on that type of stuff. Sure, it might be touched on at times, like how she feels her birthright was taken from her due to a son being born, but other than that not much else. She comes off as more of a big budget version of one of those “creepy girl” types seen in movies like The Ring or Evil Dead 2013 than a scary monster. And for trying to differentiate from previous Mummy movies, in particular the Brendan Fraser ones, it doesn’t help that she summons up sandstorms with her face on them. Oh, and just like those movies, there’s narration at the beginning just to explain some shit to the audience about who she is, what happened to her, and what she’s become. Yes, Universal, we know those other movies existed and you did them, can you do something new here? Otherwise, I’ll go watch them instead.
The characters played by Annabelle Wallis and Jake Johnson were probably some of the most annoying characters I’ve seen in a movie for a quite a while, or at least just this year. Basically, Wallis plays the know-it-all, bitchy, expository, hot-looking, British professor (because of course she has to be British, can’t make it different than the previous movies, and I guess Rachel Weisz or even Maria Bello weren’t available) and Johnson is the comic relief. Since a lot of entertainment has been about “female power” in the past couple years, or at least a bigger emphasis on it, Wallis’s character Jenny doesn’t help in this case. She’s needing to be saved, serves up a bunch of exposition, is a total bitch at times, constantly tries to show off how smart she is and is smug about it, and is just plain annoying. So annoying that I laughed out of relief when her character died, but of course she had to come back to life somehow cause the movie says so. At one point when they encounter the mummy, she tells Cruise to “kick her ass”, which of course backfires because what else do you expect when trying to fight a creature like that instead of trying to get away as far as possible and maybe come up with a plan? While I do like Jake Johnson in most stuff I’ve seen him in, I don’t understand the point of his character here. He’s just the comic relief and not even a good one at that. He gets bitten by weird spiders which somehow gets him possessed and die, then he’s sort of a ghost to Tom Cruise who warns him about the mummy and other stuff going on with little to no explanation as to why that is, and then he gets resurrected for no reason other than the movie says so. I guess he’s like Griffin Dunne’s character Jack Goodman in An American Werewolf in London, only at least that movie provided a much better explanation and was just overall better than this piece of shit.
I do like movies that can either be thought-provoking and intriguing and or just simple, fun, and entertaining in general. The Mummy 2017 kinda fits in the latter category, but with the constant back and forth shifts between exposition scenes, action scenes, trying to establish some kind of cinematic universe, and just trying to be a standalone film in general, it’s kind of hard to try to find any enjoyment out of it other than laughing at how ridiculous it is in its attempts to tackle all those things at once and just being its own movie. Dracula Untold may have been a mixed bag as well at this, but it at least knew what kind of story it wanted to tell better than this movie. Say what you will about Marvel/Disney, but there’s a reason why the MCU works for them. It took DC a while to get the DCEU to finally work, but that’s mostly because they at least tried to learn from past mistakes and just do their own thing. If Universal plans to keep this Dark Universe going, then I think they need to work on it a bit better. Otherwise, I’d say they should just call it quits and say “that’s a WRAP” (get it?) after this movie. And then of course they’ll try to start it up again and I might go see the horror that awaits. Not an actual good horror movie, but just the horror of it being just as bad if not worse than this thing.