The Mummy DVD Review

The first entry in Universal's Dark Universe monster series, The Mummy gets a make over by way of gender-swap, but its not the fresh story that it tries to make itself out to be. It's chalk full of action, and tries for crowd pleasing, but ultimately falls just short of giving fans the movie they actually want.

Nick Morton (Tom Cruise) is a soldier of fortune who plunders ancient sites for timeless artifacts and sells them to the highest bidder. When Nick and his partner come under attack in the Middle East, the ensuing battle accidentally unearths Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella), a betrayed Egyptian princess who was entombed under the desert for thousands of years. With her powers constantly evolving, Morton must now stop the resurrected monster as she embarks on a furious rampage through the streets of London.

Ahmanet is the only child of the Egyptian Pharaoh, honed and trained to be as deadly as she is beautiful, until her father's wife had a son, and he was given her destiny. Unwilling to accept her new place, she makes a deal with the god of death, Set, bringing evil into herself, and the world. Before her plan can be completed, and Set released into human form, she is mummified alive. Had this part of the story been expanded and the film be about the actual mummy, rather than her trying to complete a masterplan, it would have been a more watchable film. Boutella as Ahmanet is entrancing, her presence oozes off the screen, and not just because of her lack of clothing. Sure she exudes sexuality, but her fearlessness borderlines on maniacal. There is power in her movements, and as the titular character she is capable of invoking fear, but she isn't allowed to play into that. Instead, the forgotten princess is reduced to a bit player in a film essentially about her.

Instead the film follows army reconnaissance sergeant Nick Morton (Tom Cruise), who's busy stuffing his pockets with ancient artifacts and selling them on the black market, with his best friend and comic relief Chris Vail (Jake Johnson) by his side. Cruise is the same cocky character he is in every action movie. He's too suave and too smart for anything to be a threat. The ladies want him, the men want to be chummy with him. He'd be perfect in an 80's or 90's action film, but frankly more is expected. Johnson plays comic relief perfectly, bringing levity to scenes that would otherwise drag on.

When one of their little treasure hunting missions goes awry, they accidentally uncover the ancient tomb of Ahmanet. Anthropologist Jenny Halsey (Annabelle Wallis), the archetypal damsel in distress and the love interest, Nick and Vail explore the tomb, but as time runs out before they have to leave the area, precautions are thrown out the window, and the sarcophagus of Ahmanet is discovered. That discovery sets off a chain of events that leads to doom and death.

Ahmanet breaks free of the bounds that held her trapped, and brings on destruction at every turn. One of the most head scratching inclusion is Prodigium, a group Jenny is employed by and is led by Dr. Henry Jekyll (Russell Crowe). The black-opesque group is dedicated to discovering and defeating evil, and one the weakest point of the movie. Besides linking the movies together, ala Nick Fury, there was really no point in Prodigium showing up, besides introducing characters we'll need to know in the future.

The Mummy is positioned as the true launch of Universal’s classic movie monster shared universe. One that was previously held by Dracula: Untold until it received a negative response. The Mummy may not be receiving much love, but with its Dark Universe connections it's a much stronger foundation. On its surface, The Mummy is a decent action/adventure movie, with some horror elements thanks to Ahmanet and the resurrected creatures she raises. For the most part, the movie works well as both a standalone, and as a launching pad. Where it ultimately fails is how heavily it leans on Cruise, and some very cliché lines that are laughable. It's a popcorn flick, that isn't the best that Hollywood has to offer, but it's certainly fun enough to watch on DVD a few times.
What's on the DVD

Deleted and Exended Scenes:
Beautiful Cunning and Ruthless: Extends out the fight scene in Ahmanet's backstory, adding in a few long looks, but a huge difference between what we got.
Your Friend Is Alive: Nick is still alive, still nude. He dances around in the background as he tries to get dressed and Jenny berates one of the coroners.
Sand In My Mouth: And extended scene of Nick chatting with Vail before he enters Prodigium. Here he's given the idea that he can bring back his fallen friend.
She's Escaped: Probably the longest of the section, which takes place in Prodigium after Ahmanet has escaped, gives a little bit extra of Hyde's team jumping into action, and him admitting he's losing control.

Cruise and Kurtman: A Conversation. The actor and the director pat eachother on the back about bring the Mummy to life on scene.

Rooted In Reality: The story of bringing the supernatural and the real world together in a way that was believable. It was a three year process to find the proper tone to make it the perfect mix of creepy and grounded.

Life in Zero-G: Creating the Plane Crash. It was Tom's idea to use Zero-G, and they brought it to life. What Tom wants, he gets.

Meet Ahmanet: The girl who became a monster. She's terrifying and yet her pain is palpable, and makes it hard not to root for her.

Cruise In Action: More praise for Tom Cruise.

Becoming Jekyll and Hyde: Sometimes a monster is needed to fight a monster. Hyde was planned from the get go, and Crowe was their dream cast. Everyone was excited to see the character brought to life with Crowe.

Choreographed Chaos: There are many many action scenes, all that are enhanced by CGI.

Nick Morton: In Search of A Soul. The backstory of making a man with no soul, a monster within his own rights, the hero of the film.

Ahmanet Reborn Animated Graphic Novel: One of the shorter features on the blu-ray, its also probably the worst. It adds little to the story except beautiful artwork. Boutella narrates the tale of Ahmanet losing her birthright, and her feelings as she summons Set to reclaim it.

There's also feature commentary for those who are interested in that. The film is really stunning. The Egyptian scenes are so ornate and beautiful. They shot on location when possible, like in the Natural History Museum, which is stunning on blu ray. The night time shots have true blacks and vivid color making them easy to see. Even the underwater shots are well lit making them a feast for the eyes.

The Mummy hits DVD and blu-ray tomorrow September 12th. It is 110 minutes long and is rated PG-13 for violence, action and scary images, and for some suggestive content and partial nudity.


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