2017-06-15 / Arts & Entertainment News

‘The Mummy’


“The past cannot remain buried forever,” Russell Crowe’s Dr. Henry Jekyll tells treasure hunter Nick Morton (Tom Cruise) in “The Mummy.”

And darn if that doesn’t come true.

This is a reboot that feels different from its predecessors (a 1932 original and a 1999 remake), and as a result has a freshness that allows for maximum effectiveness.

Princess Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella) was mummified and buried alive in Ancient Egypt. That’s okay, she did bad things. In the present, greedy soldier of fortune Nick, along with his cohort Chris (Jake Johnson) and archaeologist Jenny (Annabelle Wallis), happen upon the princess’ thoroughly buried tomb and think it’s a good idea to transport it to London. Apparently the six statue “watchers,” three chains surrounding the tomb and the fact that Ahmanet is buried in mercury weren’t enough to convince them to leave it alone, even though Jenny at one point calls the burial “a prison.”

>> The tagline for “The Mummy” — “A new world of Gods and Monsters” — is taken from a line in the original “Bride of Frankenstein” (1935). >> The tagline for “The Mummy” — “A new world of Gods and Monsters” — is taken from a line in the original “Bride of Frankenstein” (1935). So sure, it’s one of those movies in which smart people do dumb things for the sake of the plot. There are worse things, right?

On the way to London, the plane crashes (the film’s best and coolest action sequence), and Nick and Chris die. Ahmanet has risen. Then Nick wakes up in the morgue, surprised to learn he’s become Ahmanet’s “Chosen One” to help her take over the world. It becomes an internal struggle for Nick as he tries to protect Jenny while being lured to join evil.

Admittedly, the story’s a bit thin and Ahmanet could use a bit more malice. But there’s a sense of playfulness about it that works.

The screenplay by David Koepp, Christopher McQuarrie and Dylan Kussman treats it as the lighthearted horror flick it is, and credit to Mr. Cruise for conveying timely humor at moments that otherwise feel too serious. Overall, the action is decent, the story is easy to follow and it’s an amusing time at the movies. Isn’t that exactly what you’re looking for when you buy your ticket?

You likely recognize the name of Mr. Crowe’s character, Dr. Henry Jekyll. Yes, at one point he becomes Mr. Hyde. Why Dr. Jekyll would be in charge of Prodigium, the organization that tracks and eliminates monsters around the world, is anyone’s guess. Rest assured, though, that director Alex Kurtzman doesn’t cram too much into one movie. In fact, this is the first installment of a planned “Dark Universe” that Universal Pictures is launching; the next film is director Bill Condon’s “Bride of Frankenstein,” coming Feb. 14, 2019. No doubt Dr. Jekyll — and Mr. Hyde — will appear again. Future installments of the “Dark Universe” will star Javier Bardem as Frankenstein’s Monster and Johnny Depp as the Invisible Man.

As for “The Mummy,” it’s respectable. It might not get this hopeful franchise off to a flying start, but it’s certainly off to a decent enough one to warrant a follow-up. ¦

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