There have been a number of mediocre films this summer. For instance, ‘King Arthur’ was pretty cool, but a total mess of a story. “Pirates” was heavily produced, but lazily acted and poorly written. Yet, despite their flaws, there was some fun to be had in them. I wouldn’t pay to see them in theaters, but I didn’t have a bad time watching them. ‘The Mummy’ is a totally different deal. It is also a movie with its moments, but I could have lived without them at home or in theaters. Maybe I’d watch it again passively on cable.
This is not because the film is terrible. It’s just bland. It’s easy to say that the reason I’m dismissing a movie is because it’s cheesy or filled with gaping plot holes. These were not really the issues with ‘The Mummy’. In fact, I think if the characters had worked better then I could have given a pass to the lazy writing and action sequence. It’s just mostly the fact that I didn’t care at all about Tom Cruise or Annabelle Wallis. They are both fine enough actors, but the screenplay lets them both down and Wallis seems entirely miscast.
The only actor that seems to fit his roles is Russell Crowe as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. He just has one of those classic voices and his embodiment of this character seems appropriate for a new generation. So, at least his place as the connecting tissue between these Dark Universe movies (Universal’s answer to Marvel) seems to work. Everything else is a mess.
The movie starts out decently enough. We begin by meeting a couple thieves that are trying to steal some gold from a small town in Iraq. Those thieves are aptly played by Tom Cruise and Jake Johnson. The dialogue between them isn’t great, but there is some fun to be had by them running around getting shot at in the desert. Then they find the Mummy and it’s all downhill from there.
The rest of the movie consists of a series of bland action sequences, bland characters, a bland romance, and a pretty bland introduction to the future world that Universal is hoping to build. None of it is terrible, but it all has a very exercised feel to it. Cruise does his best with the poor material. However, you can only play up something this weak so much before it feels like you are flailing in the wind of your own movie. Which is probably why I struggled so much to stay awake. It doesn’t help that the score was as generic as they come.
I’m not dismissing the new universe that Universal is trying to get rolling, but they are off to a rough start.