Logically speaking, I understand that at some point during pre-production, a group of producers and studio executives sat around a large table - probably nursing a heavily Irished up coffee - and decided that a dark and edgy blockbuster reboot of the classic Universal monster movies, re-imagined as a Marvel-level shared universe was a billion dollar idea. Someone must have delivered one hell of a pitch to get this off the ground, and have the entire thing planned before the first movie even made it to theatres. But now, with reviews of The Mummy out in the world revealing what seemed obvious from the beginning - it’s crap - you have to wonder how this even got made.
The “Dark Universe” - a name that still inspires groans of derision - may very well become a wild success and change the face of the film world. Universal are certainly hoping its combination of rebooted horror classics and major A-List stars will bring in the crowds. They certainly went through a lot to get the film finished, including losing two directors before settling on Alex Kurtzman, one of the architects of this universe. Whatever the case, the studio may be wishing that they’d kept the reviews embargo in place a few days longer. With a current Metacritic score of 39 - putting it below King Arthur: Legend of the Sword and equal with the latest Pirates of the Caribbean film, things don’t look great for Tom Cruise’s latest folly, at least in the domestic market (it’s set to be thoroughly spanked at the box office by Wonder Woman). But with an election ongoing in my home nation and the perpetual fear of the apocalypse on the horizon, rest assured that I will be seeing this film and taking full advantage of my local cinema’s bar. For now, please entertain yourselves with some of the best lines from the most scathing reviews of The Mummy.
“Inheriting a production that was abandoned by “Underworld” mastermind Len Wiseman but still feels embalmed by the soulless CG and dank blue pallor that defines his movies, Kurtzman steps behind the camera like a man trying to drive a train that has already derailed… It’s one thing to excavate the iconography of old Hollywood, it’s another to exploit it. This isn’t filmmaking, it’s tomb-raiding.”
“You can’t fault ambition but, unfortunately for the studio, their confidence that you’ll love the film and want future monster movie installments is only matched by a total unawareness that the picture is a dreadful, tonally incoherent, and often unintentionally funny mess. It’s a deadly combination that’s both cynical in its mercenary view of franchise assumptions and clueless about its worth.”
“I never thought I’d miss Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz’s wide-eyed facility with droll camp quite so much. I liked two things about “The Mummy.” The design idea and digital execution of the mummy’s eyes, both sporting two separate pupils, works nicely. And the way Crowe pronounces the phrase “the past,” which goes past “the past” all the way into “the pust,” really is stunning. Now that’s an upper-crust dialect! The rest of the movie is a pain in the sarcophagus. I fear that it will anger the gods.”
“Russell Crowe is an Academy Award winner. Tom Cruise has had arguably the longest run in movie history as a successful action star. These guys know what they’re doing. Yet when these two big-screen champions face off in an “epic” battle deep into this movie, the sequence is so poorly edited, the acting is so bad and the purpose of the scene is so insanely muddled, it feels as if Crowe and Cruise are doing it as some kind of cinematic community service sentence.”
Village Voice (Bilge Ebiri):
“…as far as I can tell, The Mummy is the first Cruise-starring picture in decades in which his part seems like it could have been played by anybody. It could be Steve Zahn up there. Or Kenan Thompson. Or, hell, Brendan Fraser. That wouldn’t be a problem if the movie surrounding Cruise were in any way worth it. But alas, The Mummy turns out to be a drab, nonsensical affair that squanders its potential for humor, atmosphere, and sweep — qualities that the much-maligned, Fraser-starring 1999 Mummy had in droves.”
Movies that are better than The Mummy:— Rebecca Pahle (@RebeccaPahle) June 7, 2017
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
Batman v Superman
The Mummy made me so angry at how it treats women that I nearly ripped my notebook in half so… yeah.— Clarisse Loughrey (@clarisselou) June 7, 2017