Prepare to cast plausibility aside because even for a film about resurrected mummies, this one is pretty farfetched.
Princess Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella) sells her soul to the god Set after learning she will no longer inherit her father’s kingdom. As part of the deal, she must stab her lover (the ‘Chosen’) with a magical dagger that has the power to invoke Set. Before she is able to do so, she is restrained by priests who bury her alive and entomb her deep in the Mesopotamian desert. Ahmanet is erased from history, never to be unearthed.
Enter impulsive ex-military officer, Nick Morton (Tom Cruise) and his stereotypical sidekick Vail (Jake Johnson). They’re in Iraq ‘liberating precious antiquities’ when a well-timed explosion reveals Ahmanet’s 5000 year old tomb. Hot on their heels is Egyptologist, Jenny Halsey (Annabelle Wallis) and the trio immediately descend into the tomb. Nick’s actions result in Ahmanet’s sarcophagus being winched up from a pool of mercury and he becomes plagued with visions of Ahmanet, who has decided Nick will be her new ‘Chosen’. She relentlessly pursues him, sucking the life out of anyone in her path and turning them into half-creepy, half-comical mummified zombies.
Directed by Alex Kurtzman, The Mummy struggles to combine the horror of the Boris Karloff original with the rollicking adventure of the 1999 same name film starring Brendan Fraser.
Both previous movie mummies were driven by a desire to find their lost love, but there’s no sympathy for Ahmanet, who is evil incarnate wrapped up in her quest for power. There’s lots of unnecessary narration, particularly from the character of Vail – a persistent presence who exists only to state the obvious. But there’s a few decent laughs, and lots of impressive special effects including a scene where hundreds of crows propel themselves into a plane and cause it to crash.
While Tom Cruise is a veteran of playing the action hero, the best performance comes from Russell Crowe as Dr Henry Jekyll / Mr Edward Hyde, head of a secret underground agency full of monster artefacts, who plays both sides of the fabled character with aplomb.
The Mummy is the first in a series of ‘Dark Universe’ movies with Bride of Frankenstein next in line. However, the future of the franchise may depend on the success of this film. Only time will tell if the curse of The Mummy will keep them under wraps.