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The Mummy 2017: Dark Universe's Launch Is A Stillborn.

Written by Scary Cleve on Tuesday, June 20 2017 and posted in Reviews

The Mummy 2017: Dark Universe's Launch Is A Stillborn.

Like the Mummy, this movie is deader than dead.



Nick Morton 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, 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.

--A description I found on Google 'cause I don't care enough to make up my own summary.

The Mummy (2017) stars Tom Cruise, Sofia Boutella, Russell Crowe, yet another blonde, white actress, and actors that needed rent money. It is the launch of a planned shared universe by Universal Studios, dubbed the Dark Universe, starring their iconic classic B-movie monsters. Well, actually, this is a second go round after the spectacular failure of Dracula Untold (2014). So, how does this re-relaunch work out?

About as well as if Jesus Christ had been a stillborn.

WARNING: Spoilers ahead, but really who gives a fuck about spoiling this maggot-infested turd?

Here's my review in a nutshell:

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Still want more? Well, come on down, you masochist.

Before even seeing the movie, there were several warning signs. Not the trailer even though that is pretty bad. No, the trouble started when I learned Tom Cruise was going to be the protagonist. Cruise always brings an air of smugness to his roles. No matter the character, 80% are the same overconfident alpha male. This is why I consider Cruise to be overrated as an actor, except for Edge of Tomorrow (2014) where his archetype is exposed as a cowardly schmuck and Emily Blunt shoots him in the ass multiple times.

And then there is the choice of director.

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Aside from looking like the geeky wankers from your D&D group that spend half the session lecturing about random nerd crap to make themselves look cool and not pathetic basement dwellers, these two are Alex Kurtzman and Robert Orci, the genius screenwriters behind such classics as Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen (2009) and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014). Kurtzman, on the left, is the director, and proves just as incompetent here.

I was told there might be some hope because of one of the writers, Christopher McQuarrie. I've looked him up, and he does have impressive credentials, including the writer of The Usual Suspects (1995) and co-writer of Edge of Tomorrow (2014). But he didn't write it alone, and despite having co-writers with decent credentials themselves, The Mummy is still horseshit. I'm going to assume they did not give a fuck and decided to write this between handjobs. I know that sounds petty, but I wasted my money on this goddamn travesty, and I will have my revenge.

The first mistake is the editing. In fact, it cripples the movie. Having written for Michael Bay, I guess Kurtzman wanted to beat him in the competition of causing eyes to melt out of their sockets. Rarely, is there a shot that lasts longer than three seconds. I can barely see what the fuck's going on! It deflates the dramatic impact of each scene, not to mention overloads your brain so much that plot becomes incomprehensible. I once read from a filmmaker that we should be thankful because this editing allegedly safes scenes from horrible choreography. If that's the case, then change how they're made! I am not obligated to show empathy for mediocrity. Either 1) Fire hacks to replace them with competent talent, or 2) Kidnap their pets and hold them hostage until the owners improve.

Angel-Kitty-from-Toy-Story-that-time-forgot-lookalike

Learn to make a scene last longer than .5 seconds, or you will never see Snowflake again.

Not like the film looks good. It's a typical, ugly blockbuster. Have you noticed how gray they've gotten? It's probably some industry standard going on right now. Okay, maybe ugly and gray isn't the right choice of words. Corporate and boring is better. It has no personality, nothing aesthetically that stands out. There are the flashback scenes of Ahmanet in ancient Egypt. Those seemed to actually have thought put into them with costume and domestic design. Too bad the next scenes are stereotypical dessert proceeded by stereotypical English countryside proceeded by stereotypical secret laboratory proceeded by forgettable sewers and arriving back at stereotypical dessert. The true monster of this film is visual blandness and its ability to consume creativity like the gaping maw of a whale shark.

The story is just as bland. It's serviceable on paper, but oh does it have holes. So many holes you could raise a colony of gophers in them. Ahmanet's tomb is not in Egypt but somewhere in the middle of Iraq. The distance is over 10 hours just by plane. Imagine walking there! I could have still bought it if it didn't have decorative statues, a weight device to keep the coffin door sealed, and self-recycling stream of mercury (imprisons bad spirits or something). Sweet Jesus jumping on fire how do you take the time to build a tomb that intricate? The resources and manpower needed could take months, years even!

There's a McGuffin in this movie that's a big knife allowing Ahmanet to summon Set to the real world once she has chosen a "betrothed" and shank him. The "betrothed" as far as I can tell is whatever man is making Ahmanet horny t that time. And yes, Tom Cruise is that man. Many a dream sequence shows sexual tension between the two and Ahmanet doing the femme fatale thing of tempting him with great sex and greater cheese if he just let Set wear his skin. Great movie, make this badass monster lady movie about her chasing after egotistical white man dick.

One part of this artifact is buried with Ahmanet, the other conveniently in an Oxford church. The plan transporting her sarcophagus and the main cast conveniently flies over and crashes nearby. Another piece is, yet again, conveniently nearby in the sewers of London. There's an explanation that a group of crusader knights brought a piece of the artifact with them, but that leaves a lot of questions. How did they get their hands on it? How did they learn about Ahmanet? Why take a piece? Why keep it buried below London and not a more secrete location? Hey, stop thinking about it!

Yeah, I'm sure there are explanations that I'm forgetting. TOO BAD THE FUCKING EDITING MADE FOCUSING AND REMEMBER IMPOSSIBLE!!!

The plus side is that these scenes allow Ahmanet to unleash hell. She has a series of cool powers, including mind control, sucking the life out of humans with a Kitana-style kiss of death, control over pests and the elements of nature. Actually, Ahmanet might be the one good thing in this mess. Sofia Boutella nails the role with a sinister yet alluring personality. She is strong, intelligent, crafty, and sexy. Despite her horrible crimes, including killing her infant brother, I felt strongly attached to her. It would have been great if the film made it Ahmanet's story. She didn't even need to be sympathetic, straight up villainy is fine.

Unfortunately, idiots decided to focus on Tom Cruise. He plays Nick Morton, a thieving, chauvinist pig accompanied by mannequins pretending to be human. Sergeant Vail played by Jake Johnson is Morton's spineless friend that tells him it's too dangerous but always helps out with theft. Jenny Halsey played by Annabelle Williams who exists solely as the love interest and exposition dumper. Not one of them function beyond advancing Tom Cruise's character arc, him learning to be less of a douche, I guess. The worse is how the movie straight up rips off An American Werewolf in London so Vail can come back as a ghost after he dies and warn Tom Cruise of the coming doom. Fuck you, movie. You don't get to do that. Besides, unlike the former that successfully combined B-monster tropes with a personal story, you're a worthless trash pile trying to get us to care for lame ass humans when all we want is Ahmanet!

Russell Crowe plays as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. No, really. Turns out he's the leader of a secret organization, also conveniently located in London, dedicated to studying, capturing, and in many cases eliminating supernatural evil. Gee, I haven't seen that in genre fiction eight billion times. No way. I guess if this universe is trying to mimic The Avengers, Jekyll's the Nick Fury of Dark Universe. There are interesting aspects of the character, such as his dedication to combating evil. He is so obsessed that it leads him to making morally dubious decisions.

At some point, Ahmanet develops a psychic connection with Morton, and Jekyll decides to have him killed. It seems rash, but at the same time he has a point that Ahmanet will never stop pursuing and manipulating Morton. The portrayal of Mr. Hyde is also great. When Jekyll changes, he doesn't go hairy and apeish like in other iterations. Instead, it's Jekyll but with grayish skin and sadistically unhinged. If this universe somehow crawls from the steaming wreckage of its launch title, he'll be one of the few parts worth watching.

I think what I hate most about this movie is the theme of reinforcing patriarchy. Ahmanet was the only born child and so raised to become the next pharaoh despite her gender. But once Mommy Dearest pops out a boy, her Dad's like "Lol, sorry! Gotta go with a male even though you are of age and highly trained." Ahmanet kills her entire family and is mummified for it. Years later, it's because of Nick Morton stealing from a woman that she is released. Now, I know you're thinking this isn't so bad. But oh my god, it gets worse! At one point, Ahmanet is captured by Jekyll's organization, tied up, clothed only by the rags of her mummification, and injected with mercury that causes her immense pain. This scene is a dominantly male perspective from those that either despise or find her fascinating the same way a child sociopath does while poking a dying animal with a stick. To be fair, Morton's psychic connection does temporarily allow him empathy for Ahmanet's pain. But in the end he still has to kill her off. Patriarchy will have its dead witch, damn it!

This movie goes so far out of its way to guarantee Morton's triumph that he ends up stabbing himself with the mystical blade. That's what Ahmanet wanted him to do in the first place but through the power of love for Annabelle, he's able to resist. Morton then kills Ahmanet with the same Kitana-style death kiss. I have seen folks criticizing this scene online as rapey. I won't go that far, but it is a questionable way for the male hero to defeat the female villain. Also, still reinforcing patriarchy which sucks!

God, I hate this movie. Honestly, I would've forgiven everything else if not for Tom Cruise's dominance in the plot. We didn't want him, nobody asked for him. In a monster movie, humans should be fodder unless in the hands of better storytellers. We wanna see some death and destruction. The movie would've been better if Ahmanet just straight up killed everyone including Tom Cruise. I mean, if you want to make this a shared universe where all the Universal monsters exist together, why the fuck would you kill off the Mummy and have her replaced by Tom Cruise? Fuck your horror movies where white guys get triumphant endings. Make way for the kind where badass villainesses slaughter a whole lot of men.

You know, I originally started writing this review thinking I would have a whole lot of rage and a whole lot of killer jokes. Well, I did but not nearly enough. Truth is, I'm tired than angry. I'm tired of projects as important to the genre as the Universal monster movies going to old insider hacks instead of fresh young talent with passion in their veins. This isn't even a horror movie. It's C-List action film with one jump scare. It's not what I want from the genre, and I'm sure plenty of fans feel the same way. As such, I suggest we don't give these motherfuckers any money and instead give more to the independents. And hey, it's not like there is no room for remakes of classic monsters. Robert Eggers, director of The VVitch (2016), will be doing his own take on Nosferatu (1929). Hopefully, that is enough of a low-key classic to let producers stay out of his way and do things right.

Cinematic horror is slowly making a comeback. It might not be a gold age now or even 10 years from now, but I can see more great films coming out increasingly. That revolution will not be found in Hollywood though, especially not in shit wrapped wit wet toilet paper.





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About the Author - Scary Cleve


All his life, Scary Cleve wanted to write gruesome stories in a grim Scottish castle while sipping whiskey and contemplating his existential angst. Instead, he ended up living in Florida, so he does all this with a tan. He's been a life long fan of comics and plans on writing some. Until that day, he writes and edits about comics over at PopOptiq under the guise of Ben Howard, and he's more than happy to spread his filth to the Outhouse. Other interests include horror movies, heavy metal, and writing screenplays and occasional short stories.
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