So then, what happens when a movie studio aims to kickstart a money-spinning franchise with Tom Cruise driving it and Russell Crowe riding shotgun?
Well, a complete drubbing from the critics first off, but that was pretty much inevitable.
The Mummy is Universal’s first outing for its Dark Universe series, and if we listened to the aforementioned critics then only die-hard Cruise fans should probably see it. Well, I think Tom Cruise makes good action movies that don’t overreach themselves, and The Mummy hasn’t strayed too far from that familiar path. It’s a shade under two hours long, dips into the standby bag of familiar action characters (ruggedly flawed hero: check; beautiful and hyper-intelligent love interest: check; slightly sinister and even more intelligent boss: check; comedy sidekick: check. Okay, everyone’s here, let’s crack on…), and packs in as many car chases, plane crashes and fight scenes into the shortest film space possible.
And you know what? It’s not half-bad. It blazes along without pausing for any meaningful exploration of character or motivation, and that, oddly enough, seems to work. The plot hangs together very well, but given the depth, that shouldn’t have been too difficult. The special effects were top-notch, and though there wasn’t much chemistry between the two protagonists, they did manage the occasional comedy moment that actually made me laugh … well, okay maybe not laugh, but I definitely smiled because I could feel my cheeks aching. The ending was weak and fairly predictable, but it was tidy at least, and opened the door nicely for the next movie, which should be better, if they listen carefully to the audience for this one.
Make no mistake, this film will not change your life or provide you with the answers to the universal questions that plague your every waking moment, but it is a shade-under-two-hours of harmless entertainment. Nothing earth-shattering, but a decent first outing for the Dark Universe nonetheless.
Six out of ten.