Sometimes, cinema needs something fresh and original, a concept that will captivate an audience, inspiring a generation, but Universal couldn’t think of anything so they’ve remade The Mummy, again. They’ve sacked Brendon Fraser and instead recruited our favourite, grinning scientologist Tom Cruise, and exchanged the terrifying Mummy for a scarcely dressed Algerian/French dancer (Sofia Boutella) to add a bit of sex appeal.

Princess Ahmet (Boutella) was first in line to succeed her father Pharaoh Menehptre, until his second wife had a son, stripping the princess of her future power. She had the bright idea of killing her entire family and then summoning the evil God ‘Set’, only to be interrupted halfway through the ritual by being mummified alive and submerged into a pool of mercury for the next 4000 years. I did have some trouble processing the fact that they carried this evil monster 888 miles to be buried in Iraq, but they built the pyramids so who am I to judge?

The ageless Tom Cruise ditches his usual action-man hero role, for that of a naïve, thieving soldier-of-fortune, who stumbles upon the tomb and re-awakens the evil Princess.

They have replaced the infamous, skin burrowing scarab beetles for spiders, which still makes the skin crawl, but doesn’t really fit in with the Egyptian theme. However nothing is particularly Egyptian about this movie anyway, as the majority of it is set in England, featuring Oxfordshire, London and The Natural History Museum.

Russell Crowe has a fairly pivotal role in the movie as Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, which seemed a bit of a random character to throw into The Mummy. However Universal have jumped on the bandwagon, introducing this Marvel-style shared world called ‘The Dark Universe’, which has started with The Mummy. It will include Johnny Depp as ‘The Invisible Man’, and Javier Bardem as ‘Frankenstein’s Monster’ as well as many other stars playing famous monsters of the past. So, I presume the Jekyll/Hyde involvement is to begin the interlocking of this monster-mash of movies.

The plot is left open for the opportunity of sequels, because if there’s anything the world needs, it’s more movies of ‘The Mummy’.

★★★

 

First published in Marketplace Magazine, Bourne.

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