Movie Review: The Mummy

A half-naked woman was bending over an equally half-naked man, ready to slit open his abdomen with a dagger in order to make him god.

That was probably one of the most memorable scenes as it was displayed over and over again throughout the movie.

The woman, called Ahmanet, was the one who made the deal with Set, the god of death, to claim the throne which should have been inherited by her if her half-brother hadn’t been born. My question is, why didn’t she slit open her own body with the dagger to give Set the physical form? Ahmanet is a coward princess, through and through. Which way is more cowardly than killing someone while they’re asleep, i.e. her father, step-mother, and half-brother? A frontal combat will be more dignified. Some trivial facts, Set is the Egyptian god of storms, desert, chaos, evil, and war, and Anubis is the god of death. The scriptwriters perhaps intentionally overlooked these facts for story development purpose. But you can Google almost everything nowadays and knowing that the movie chose the wrong god to portray death is a bit annoying.

Ahmanet was then detained, mummified alive, buried in a place faraway from Egypt, and her name was erased from the history. After her resurrection, she was on the quest to find the dagger which would bring Set back to this world to take revenge on human kinds. No explanation was offered on what the human kinds did Set wrong that he was very vengeful toward them. She chose Nick (Tom Cruise) to be the body for Set because she locked eyes with him when Nick and his friends found her tomb. Ahmanet’s mummy was then determined to find the lost dagger and the story was then mixed with the stories of English crusader knights. The dagger was apparently disassembled and one of the crusader knights was buried with the ruby from the dagger. For what reason? No explanation was offered.

I had expected Tom Cruise to make the movie more interesting and believable than the previous franchise, and I was disappointed. In terms of stunts, he delivered the best he possibly could. It’s like seeing Ethan Hunt from the Mission Impossible on a different setting with different goals. He looked awesome riding his horse in the dessert, avoiding shots in a wrecked city, going thumb wheeling in a zero-gravity airplane, and driving through a forest. Tom Cruise delivered the actions like no other, and maybe he took on the role just for the sake of it. In terms of story lines and drama, this movie is like another million of Hollywood movies with similar or exactly the same theme. Tom Cruise didn’t upgrade the thrill or give the class the movie should have had, like what he always did in his other movies. He did well in the drama/romantic part when he had changed into a monster after killing Ahmanet. His farewell speech to Jenny character was melancholy, a little bit reminded me of the final scene he had with Renee Zellweger in the movie “Jerry Maguire”.

Russell Crowe was cast as Henry Jekyll/Edward Hyde. I grew up reading the book Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson, and I found it absurd to have this character added to the movie as a third party, a secret organization who wanted to detain Ahmanet’s mummy in order to contain and eventually destroy the evil she brought with her.  The original story of Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was about ambiguity in a person’s personality and moral choices and how he sides with good and evil from time to time. In this movie Russell Crowe was mostly Dr Jekyll until one time he didn’t get his serum in time (the real story indeed talks about a serum to make the change from Dr Jekyll to Mr. Hyde, and vice versa), changed into Mr. Hyde, and started to fight with Tom Cruise. Russell Crowe is just awesome whenever he’s playing a father/authoritative figure (in Superman movies, for instance) , but in this movie he sucked in portraying a character with split personalities, one who’s willing to save the world and another who’s willing to destroy it.

Typical things for a movie like The Mummy are:

  1. The antagonist is sucking life out of his object by planting a kiss on the object’s mouth. Duh, as if there is no other way to gain energy from another person/object.
  2. Insects, e.g. spiders and bugs, and rats are the best to make us have goose bumps. Seeing them crawling over the surfaces on the movie was very disturbing. CGI or not, they looked pretty real to me.

One unexpected thing about this movie was the humor. Jenny character was all convinced that Nick character would put her above everything else, that he would sacrifice his life to save her by giving her the only parachute in the falling plane. Nick character’s answer was priceless, “I thought there’s another one (parachute).” So he never thought about saving only her. He also wanted to save himself, but unfortunately they’re lacking parachute and he got to die because the plane crashed. Moral of the story is, never think you’re as important to other people as they are to you. And another funny scene was when Nick was going to be split open by Ahmanet. He was lying on the altar with her on top of him and ready to stab him, and suddenly Jenny appeared from nowhere and caught them red-handed. The comic expression on the actors’ faces on this scene was enough to make me laugh.

The title of the movie should be The Mummy and The Lost Dagger, to differentiate it with The Mummy Trilogy, most notable for having Brendan Fraser and Dwayne Johnson in them. After Fast Furious 8, Transformers, and now The Mummy, I’ve become more convinced that Hollywood movies are starting to lose their appeal. Two out of 5 stars from me for The Mummy, merely because Tom Cruise was in it.

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