By Jeri Jacquin with Vince Munn
Coming this week from director Alex Kurtzman and Universal Pictures is the rise of evil with “The Mummy.”
Nick Morton (Tom Cruise) is in the middle of the desert with sidekick Chris (Jake Johnson) looking for antiquities. With the help of Col. Greenway (Courtney B. Vance) and a well place bomb that has unearthed something huge, Jenny Halsey (Annabelle Wallis) sweeps in to take over.
Down in a cavern they find signs of an Egyptian tomb with something evil that is being protected. Nick jumps right in and with one bullet a sarcophagus rises out of a pit of mercury and the mummy of Princess Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella) resides inside.
Taking the find to London, Jenny knows only one person who knows what to do. Dr. Jekyll (Russell Crowe) is a collector of all things malevolent. The princess has other plans when the plan carrying them all comes down mysteriously.
Discovering that the dark force is looking for a knife with a special stone, Jenny and Nick (with the help of a weirdly decomposing Chris) must stop the princess from completing a ritual that started hundreds of years ago.
Unfortunately Nick is part of that ritual that changes everything that is to come!
Jeri Jacquin: So, I once again invited my friend Vince to weigh in on “The Mummy.” I do so because although I started out giving the film a chance not wanting to be grouchy, I once again should have trusted my initial instincts. Am I right Vince?
Vince Munn: Sadly, while the film starts with great promise, it trips over the bandages of its title character on their way to the conclusion. Universal is following in the footsteps of Disney and Warner Bros, making a connected universe of characters that they own.
JJ: So for readers who don’t like spoilers and I try not to do it normally, I feel I have to on this one. Seriously? Egypt, Iraq, the Templar’s and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde? Are you kidding me? Now you know I became totally disconnected when the last was brought into this film – none of these things are connected and I checked out of the film.
VM: Unfortunately the characters they are using really seem to have no reason to share a connected universe. Taking the classic Universal Monsters by bringing them in to the modern world and connecting them with a secret society of scientists and monster hunters is a ridiculous idea.
JJ: If this is how the studios see the “Dark Universe” then we have a problem going forward. This was supposed to be an intro into the concept and it is totally a hot mess. I don’t care if you put Tom Cruise in the lead, and he doesn’t do a horrible job, it’s just a horrible script.
VM: Tom Cruise is getting older. “Mission Impossible” aside, he doesn’t need to be doing this film. I am just glad that for now it’s not the “Van Helsing” reboot we were threatened with. The rest of the cast (Annabelle Wallis, Jake Johnson, Sofia Boutella, and Russell Crowe) do a serviceable if not forgettable job.
JJ: Don’t put evil in the air talking about a “Van Helsing” reboot! I think Crowe as Jekyll/Hyde is not right for this role at all. I can’t even imagine what they were thinking. Then again I didn’t care one wit for the character and actually tried to finish the film not thinking about him again.
VM: Had he been cast as anyone else aside from Dr Jekyll I would be more at ease. He comes off too thuggish and tough as tough Hyde is the dominant mind much like Bud White in LA Confidential.
JJ: What I came away with after the torture of watching “The Mummy” is that Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz are safe in my heart and mind of being the coolest version of “The Mummy”. The time period is fantastic and I immediately care about the characters and feel like I’m on a fun trip with tons of craziness. Going home to my DVD of the 1999 “The Mummy”, Rick and Evie made it all better.
VM: Had this been set in the same period as the 1999 reboot, this would be a better film. If you want good popcorn fodder and escapism at its minimum, this is one for you.
JJ: Well, go to http://www.darkuniverse.com and see what the Dark Universe is. Notice there is nothing modern in this piece and yet watching every piece of this clip is just fantastic. It can not be duplicated and I wish they would stop trying. I’d rather see these films once again in theatres than any ridiculous remake, reimaging, rethinking or retelling (all words for ‘hey, lets waste millions on nothing’).
VM: I wanted more and am now nervous about what is to come in this Dark Universe.
That last statement says it all! Nervousness is being kind as I truly don’t think those in charge of creating this Dark Universe know what they are doing. Fans love their Gods & Monsters but when you mash them up and change their look – you’ve slapped fans in the face. “The Mummy” may be spectacular with its special effects and double-iris evil but it is not enough – at least not for me.
I want story, I want to care about the characters enough to cheer for them and throwing a gold book for 2.5 seconds on a library floor expecting me to be happy just don’t do it. Thanks Vince for sharing popcorn with me on this one!
In the end — ancient evil returns without Rick and Evie to save us all!