At The Movies: The Mummy

It’s hard to believe that a summer action movie starring Tom Cruise and Russell Crowe would pale in comparison to a similar film starring Brendan Fraser, but that’s “The Mummy” for you.

This latest take on the ancient Egyptian creature feature has decent special effects but lacks everything else that made Fraser’s 1999 version memorable — like humor, fun, likable characters and an interesting story.

Cruise stars as soldier/tomb raider Nick Morton. With his partner Chris (Jake Johnson), Nick is on a tour of duty in war-torn Iraq, making time to make off with whatever antiquities he can steal. One day they accidentally uncover the buried tomb of Princess Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella).

the-mummy-poster-2-988842Thousands of years earlier, the princess was in line to be Pharoah of Egypt. When her mother gives birth to a baby boy, a jealous Ahmanet makes a deal with the death god Set. She murders dad and brother and is about to give Set life by murdering her lover when the authorities arrive. They haul the princess off to Mesopotamia, wrap her up and bury her alive, where she stays safely imprisoned until Nick sets her loose.

Chris is killed in the process but comes back as a zombie to give Nick advice. This bit was lifted from “An American Werewolf in London” and probably many other horror movies I can’t remember or haven’t seen.

Archaeologist and potential love interest Jenny Halsey (Annabelle Wallis) takes Nick and the mummy to London to be examined by her boss, Dr. Henry Jelkyll (Russell Crowe), head of a secret organization that hunts monsters and evil. Yes, that Dr. Jelkyll.

If being entombed for centuries isn’t going to keep Ahmanet down, neither are Jelkyll’s chains. Since he set her free, Nick is now the mummy’s “chosen one,” which means she can get in his head and make him do things for her. But what she really wants is to reclaim her magic dagger so she can kill Nick and let Set free.

“The Mummy” is a perfectly average horror/action movie but perfectly average really doesn’t cut it in this day and age. There’s nothing original here, the story is thin and just plods along — it’s a very lackluster affair. The special effects are OK but nothing memorable.

This is the second week in a row where a summer movie opens with a woman in the title role, but “The Mummy” is no “Wonder Woman.” If Universal is hoping to kick off a big monster movie franchise with this film, they need to do a lot better next time.

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