I’ve mentioned before how the movie industry has really dived deep into the phenomena of the ‘remake’. I’m not sure what exactly is happening with the decision to constantly release a stream of rehashed, non-original content, but it seems that this practice is not going away anytime soon. I bring this up because of my recent viewing of “The Mummy” which is a 2017 reboot of “The Mummy” mythos. This outing is produced by Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman and directed by the latter.
I think this is the first movie I’ve seen directed by him and it definitely wasn’t a bad outing. Lord knows those two guys have enough experience behind them in show running and movie production to have developed the skills to direct any project. If you’re not familiar with those two names, just think “Alias” or “Lost” or even “Star Trek” 2009 and “Star Trek: Discovery” amongst other franchises. If that’s not enough then you may be impressed by their long time collaboration with J.J. Abrams who has been recently charged with rescuing the “Star Wars” universe or else.
Back to “The Mummy”. This franchise is certainly not new for the first release was the original back in 1932 and starring Boris Karloff one of the original masters of horror film. I’ll say this right off…the original movie was dead serious in its portrayal of an undead monster returned from the depths of hell to the point of wreaking havoc on the unsuspecting living who just can’t seem to ever leave well enough alone. I figured when I saw the 1999 version of it, there would be that same sense of dread and despair that would have moviegoers on the edge of their seats for a couple of hours. But of course that wasn’t the case in the sense that the 1999 remake of “The Mummy” was a little more on the melodramatic and comedic side if anything. The characters were opposite in every sense where you have the bad guys totally serious and hell bent on taking over the world while the antagonists were doing everything they could to keep you cracking up. I had seen Brendan Fraser in “School Ties”, which I thoroughly enjoyed as a drama, turn into comedic hero in this movie and it totally worked. I found myself laughing the entire movie but still couldn’t help but think that they better get serious real quick cause evil is on its way.
Whatever the case, the latest 2017 version seems to be seeking a middle ground between the previous two films. That is to say, we get a somewhat comedic Tom Cruise who seems to realize his dire circumstances a little bit sooner than Fraser’s character. The film is not bad in and of itself and is what I would call a popcorn movie, not to be taken too seriously but good enough to pick up for a watch for sure. I know many folks are Tom Cruise fans as is myself and he performs as his usual charming action hero self in this one as well. Russell Crowe is in it as well as Courtney B. Vance, both of which are under utilized in my opinion. I think the filmmakers kept the focus well enough on the main characters which is a good thing. The supporting characters were in it long enough to do what they needed to and then were out.
The main plot is that there’s this Egyptian princess who is slated to be the next ruler of Egypt but is usurped for that position by the birth of her brand new baby half brother who would pass her up in the promotion process. This essentially pisses her off and she proceeds to wipe out the competition and make a deal with the devil that turns out to be bad for everyone. She’s of course subdued and imprisoned in a tomb that is discovered thousands of years later by our unsuspecting heroes. They very irresponsibly release her and the mayhem begins.
Not too new of a story right? Don’t get me wrong, despite what the bored folks may say, more of same ain’t necessarily bad. In this case, the filmmakers worked to put their spin on things even though I didn’t think it panned out as well as it could have. For example, they start the film out with a whole scene based on some knights from the Crusades. I couldn’t help but be excited at the prospect of them tying it all together in a neat little connecting story package that never really came to fruition for me. It turned out to be a plot device that almost seemed unnecessary and could’ve been accomplished with something more relevant. Furthermore, Crowe’s character is interestingly enough named Dr. Henry Jekyll… yep, that Dr. Jekyll. Again I thought “Ooh, where’s this headed?” to which I got no really fun conclusion. Definitely a lost opportunity for a more in depth plot. To be fair to the movie though, they did switch it up a little by having Egyptian princess Ahmanet play the titular character. She is beautiful, ambitious and totally obsessed with power and Sofia Boutella does a brilliant job of portraying her. This characterization is a departure from the traditional Imhotep character from the previous versions of the films. I think this was actually a good idea as there’s nothing quite as cool as a female big bad, something they could’ve done with the recent Disney Star Wars films (can you say Asajj Ventress)…sigh.
Anywho, the good is that it’s a decent film that had a few missed opportunities at being a really good film but they definitely set things up to redeem themselves in future films and the cultivation of a new franchise. What do you guys think? Have you seen the film and what do you think of all the remakes and reboot philosophy of the film industry. Comment below.
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Alex Kurtzman|
|Music by||Brian Tyler|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
|Running time||110 minutes|
|Box office||$409.2 million|