MUMMY, THE (2017)
Nick Morton (Tom Cruise) is a soldier of fortune who plunders conflict sites for valuable artifacts, which he sells to the highest bidder. British officer of Cultural Heritage Jenny Halsey (Annabelle Wallis) enlists Nick and his offsider Chris Vail (Jake Johnson) to unearth the tomb of an Egyptian pharaoh known as Ahmanet. When Princess Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella) is inadvertently set free, little do they know that she was entombed for eternity for good reason and is now after revenge. Dr Henry Jekyll (Russell Crowe), who heads Prodigium, a secret organisation that protects monsters from the world, becomes involved.
Review by Louise Keller:
It’s a spectacle all right, in which the dead, the undead and the living collide high in the sky, on the ground and deep underwater. Beyond the splendid visual effects and extravagant locations, the fun lies in watching Tom Cruise with his boyish charm intact, being seduced by evil in the curvaceous form of a ruthless Egyptian princess intent on revenge after having been condemned to ‘eternal darkness’. Christopher McQuarrie (Jack Reacher, The Usual Suspects) and Jon Spaihts (Doctor Strange) have penned a clever screenplay in which good and evil tread a precarious tightrope in the midst of the onslaught of action, humour and romance. The film might tread a well-worn path, but it feels fresh with its appealing energy and is good entertainment.
After an introductory segment in which the history of Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella) is revealed, we learn that jealousy and fury prompts her to make a pact with the God of Death. From the depths of darkness, we are transported into bright desert light in modern day Iraq, where we meet Nick (Cruise) and his accomplice (Jake Johnson), scallywag treasure hunters who call themselves ‘liberators of precious antiquities’. A gunshot in a pressurized aircraft is the start of a thrilling sky-high sequence, followed by the humorous morgue scene in which the cursed exotic Mummy, Ahmanet comes to life. We can smell the stench of death.
Russell Crowe is a nice surprise as Dr Jekyll who tries to conceal his ‘other’ side as he talks about the need for a sacrifice for greater good. Crowe balances the comic and dramatic elements disarmingly well, while Annabelle Wallis is nicely cast as Nick’s glamorous love interest. Ahmanet is an exotic creation with twin irises in each eye and skin covered with hieroglyphics.
There is no shortage of action: glass smashes, buildings crumble and dust storms create havoc amid flocks of birds, crawling scarabs, giant spiders and hoards of rats. At times I was not sure exactly what was happening, but there is never a dull moment. Cruise is in top form and carries the film with his energy and charisma. Delivering everything you may expect and more, the action speeds along at full pace. Don’t forget the popcorn.
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MUMMY, THE (2017) (M)
CAST: Tom Cruise, Russell Crowe, Sofia Boutella, Annabelle Wallis
PRODUCER: Sean Daniel, Alex Kurtzman, Chris Morgan, Roberto Orci
DIRECTOR: Alex Kurtzman
SCRIPT: Jon Spaihts, Christopher McQuarrie
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Ben Seresin
EDITOR: Gina Hirsch, Paul Hirsch
MUSIC: Brian Tyler
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Jon Hutman, Dominic Watkins
RUNNING TIME: 107 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Universal
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: June 8, 2017