The Mummy (2017) Recap

Jamie

Second BMT Live! of the year and we got a good jump on the new Dark Universe franchise. Not as sexy, embarrassing, or unintentionally hilarious as Fifty Shades Darker, but still got some things to say. Let’s go!

What?! Nick Morton is a thief, liar, and total badass. He’s treasure hunting in war-torn Iraq (natch) when he accidentally uncovers an Egyptian mummy, Ahmanet. Instantly cursed to be Set’s human vessel in Ahmanet’s dastardly plan, Morton must join forces with Dr. Jekyll and his monster hunters to stop her. Can she be stopped before it’s too late? Find out in… The Mummy!

How?! Alright, so like a million years ago Ahmanet was all set to rule Egypt as the one and only heir to the throne. That is until her daddio knocks up one of his servants and a son is born. Infuriated, Ahmanet make a deal with the devil (Set), kills her whole family, and attempts to bring death and despair to the world. Fortunately she is stopped and buried alive far from Egypt. Millenia later our hero Nick Morton inadvertently uncovers her tomb while treasure hunting/defending America in Iraq. When a sexy archaeologist (with whom Morton has has had prior relations, natch) attempts to bring the sarcophagus back to London for study, the mummy’s curse brings the plane down. Miraculously, Nick awakens unscathed from the crash revealing that he has been cursed to be Set’s human vessel in Ahmanet’s plan (and can’t die… yet). From there a bunch of origin story bullshit happens with Dr. Jekyll, Ahmanet is captured and then not captured, and Nick Morton drops some sweet one-liners. This culminates in Ahmanet’s plan almost working only to have Nick embrace the mummy’s curse to defeat her. Now part good and part evil he is left to roam the world fighting monsters trying to find a cure for his curse. Phew.

Why?! Uh… good question. Ahmanet is fueled by rage (obvs. She’s a monster). Nick Morton is mostly out to get money (and slay the ladies), but once he becomes Ahmanet’s chosen one he kind of loses any motivation for his actions. In fact this is a device used in the film, where Nick will suddenly stare into space, flashback to Ancient Egypt, and then awaken in a new place without explanation (other than that the plot needed him to be there). Only at the end do they allow that he may have grander, more virtuous motivations in stopping Ahmanet.

Who?! We have to talk about Jake Johnson, our resident comic relief and as close as we’ve gotten to a Planchet in a while. He was… not good. Weirdly miscast and misused. He only rarely had anything to say and even more rarely was actually funny. I’m not sure what happened exactly but perhaps through rewriting the script his character was lost a little and became more of a plot device than an actually person. Otherwise we’d just have to chalk it up to a bad script. Here’s to hoping he gets a better showing next time around.

Where?! Nice settings game here. The opening flashback takes place mostly in Egypt. Then we flash forward to Iraq, where the mummy is unearthed and loaded on a cargo plane back to London. From there we get a wonderful array of London establishing shots, English bobbies, and pubs. Almost an A, but I’ll leave it at a B+. Not quite indispensable.

When?! I swear to god there is a scene at the very beginning of the film where a full date is flashed on the screen as part of a video recorder perspective shot. Unfortunately, one of the side effects of a BMT Live is my inability to go ask the projectionist to quickly rewind the film so I could see it better. I’ll give this an Incomplete as a grade. Likely a B- at best. Probably a C. Could be an F if I was mistaken.

There is no way for me to make the argument that this film is actually good. It is not. It’s like if you took just the very beginning or very end of Iron Man and stretched it to feature length. Just not a lot there but origin story and franchise building (and that’s pretty lame). But it definitely was more horror than I thought it would (which was a pleasant surprise) and it’s probably better than a Transformers film… definitely shorter. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! The Mummy?! More like Just Crummy?! Ayyyyyyyyooooooooooooo. Take that The Mummy starring Tom Cruise, about time someone took you down a peg. So you want to make a movie universe to print Marvel like money, here’s a little checklist: (1) Get a movie star (check, Tom Cruise, killing it), (2) find some sweet IP that you own and serves a lucrative niche audience (nostalgia for Universal’s monster universe, the general boom of monster films, sounds good to me, check), (3) literally just make a Marvel movie … uh let’s get into it.

The Good (BMT Dream Journal) – I dug the bits that came across as spooky scary. The mummy sucking the life out of bobbies in jolly ole England creating a creepy zombie army? Digging it. I even could kind of get into the Dr. Jekyll as the head honcho of the Monster killers thing. Everything was there to set up a universe I cared about. I can’t really do any of these guys because, well … there is going to be a sequel, and this is a remake. So how about a little BMT Dream Journal of what I hope for this franchise moving forward: stop making these action films. They worked perfectly fine as a kind of pop-horror franchise and served a kind of cool idea: Big budget films which take the horror formula to general audience appeal. I dig it.

The Bad (Seven Deadly Sklogs) – Yikes. This film is hacked to pieces. It is written by like twenty people and it shows. Jake Johnson feels so out of place (I love him, but whenever he pops up it is like I’m in a different movie). It is 95% exposition and flashback. And you often feel like they kind of get bored with what they are doing so they trigger a Tom-Cruise-Is-In-A-Dream sequence and throw you in a totally new place without explanation. It is not a good movie. The sin is Greed. They wanted the Dark Universe so badly they couldn’t step back and make sure things were done right when the directors started dropping out. The result is a mess, but …

The BMT: Legacy – Here I’ll mention that I don’t think this film was irrecoverably bad. People are discussing it as if this is somehow a death knell for the Dark Universe. It is the second attempt at a start after Dracula Untold (which immediately became non-canon after it bombed), and while I haven’t seen that one, this was a promising enough start I don’t think it is an issue it bombed. It is like the DC Cinematic Universe, it takes a bit to start a universe out of nothing it seems. It isn’t a death knell, but it does put the universe on red alert. It needs to find its Wonder Woman soon, figure out the tone it will use throughout the attached films, and move into a place where a film a year is possible. We’ll see. I have hope. And I hope the legacy of The Mummy in BMT is that it was a weird footnote in a decent pop-Horror franchise, but I now like horror films, and the idea of pop-horror is cool to me.

Close with a little BMT Homework Assignment. I watched the original 1932 Mummy film with Boris Karloff. The film itself is brilliant, with a very cool story involving Imhotep being resurrected and then attempting to resurrect his lover Ankh-es-en-amon with a backdrop of British colonialism / archeology in 1930s Egypt. I would have said this story would have made much more sense for 2017’s The Mummy … but apparently that is the plot of 1999s The Mummy with Brendan Fraser … so yeah can’t really do that again. Cheerios and back to you Jamie.

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