I’ll be honest, the 1999 version of The Mummy is one of my guilty pleasures.
Headlined by Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz, it mixed a solid cast with a dark story that never really took itself too seriously.
In short, it’s the sort of film that you’d find on ITV2 at 10pm and watch for the tenth time for reasons you can’t really explain.
This re-booted version, which serves as the opening film in Universal’s all-new ‘Dark Universe’, doesn’t really follow the plot of the 1999 offering in any way.
Indeed, we barely even get a whiff of Egypt in the two-hour long action offering.
That’s right, the majority of The Mummy plays out in a modern England, which at least helps it stand out from the most recent version.
Leading the way this time is the legendary Tom Cruise, who plays Nick Morton – a US soldier with somewhat questionable morals.
He and fellow soldier Chris Vail (Jake Johnson) stumble across a cursed grave as part of a quest to loot treasure, having pinched a map from archaeologist Jenny Halsey (Annabelle Wallis).
Having found the tomb in a war-torn part of the world, Jenny has the US army remove the sarcophagus from the site, something that (of course) proves to be a rookie mistake.
That’s right, the sarcophagus contains the mummy of Princess Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella), an individual so monstrous the Egyptians had erased her very existence from history.
However, monster hunter Dr Jekyll (Russell Crowe) is very much aware of her and ensures that his mysterious organisation are on hand to take Ahmanet in when she inevitably begins to wage war on the modern world.
There’s not really much more of the story I could reveal without wandering into spoiler territory, but you get the idea; an ancient villain with supernatural powers is always likely to make compelling viewing alongside the charisma of Cruise and Crowe.
The problem is, however, that there is so much going on. None of the characters are really fleshed out to acceptable levels, meaning that it’s hard to feel anything for them.
Cruise’s Nick is a rogue that never really becomes loveable, while Crowe’s version of Dr Jekyll is intriguing but underused.
It’s also a shame that Boutella’s Ahmanet has a pretty rubbish backstory that never really gives the viewer any reason to feel an ounce of sympathy for her. Her reprehensible actions merited the severe punishment handed out by the ancient Egyptians, making her far less likeable than (for example) Imhotep in the 1999 version.
She does look menacing, mind you, especially with two pupils in each eye. The destruction she brings, although visually impressive, isn’t all that original, either.
That being said, The Mummy does boast a string of break-neck action sequences, with the pick of them taking place in a plane.
You also have to accept that a new ‘Dark Universe’ is being built here, so there are annoying loose ends and questions that upcoming films will no doubt answer.
Indeed, I was hoping for some kind of Marvel-style post-credits teaser to set up Universal’s next offering, but for some reason there isn’t one (saved you 15 minutes).
In short, The Mummy has a lot of interesting ideas and exciting action that are enough to make it a decent popcorn fare at the cinema.
But I can’t help but feel they missed a few tricks by failing to develop the talented cast.
That makes for a relatively timid start to the Dark Universe, which is set to include such intriguing monsters as Dracula, Creature from the Black Lagoon, Phantom of the Opera, Hunchback of Notre Dame and the Invisible Man in the coming years.
Voice Verdict: 6.5/10
+ Great action
+ Interesting ideas
+ Strong cast…
–…which is sadly squandered
– The Mummy herself isn’t great
Boston’s West End Cinema (Fri, June 16 to Thurs, June 22)
**TRANSFORMERS: THE LAST KNIGHT (12A)
2D – 8pm (Thurs)
3D – 4.45pm (Thurs)
THE MUMMY (15)
2D – 1pm (Sat/Sun/Wed), 6pm (daily), 8.40pm (daily) 3D – 3.30pm (daily)
MY COUSIN RACHEL (12A)
12.30pm (Wed), 3.40pm (daily), 6pm (not Mon/Thurs), 8.20pm (not Mon/Thurs)
DIARY OF A WIMPY KID: THE LONG HAUL (U)
10am (Sat/Sun), noon (Sat/Sun), 2pm (Sat/Sun), 4pm (daily)
WONDER WOMAN (12A)
2D –2.20pm (Sat/Sun/Wed), 8.20pm (not Thu), 8.30pm (Thurs)
3D – 11.20am (Sat/Sun), 5.20pm (not Thurs)
6pm (not Mon/Tue/Thurs), 8.40pm (daily)
PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: SALAZAR’S REVENGE (12A)
2D – 11am (Sat/Sun), 2pm (Sat/Sun/Wed), 5.15pm (daily), 8.15pm (not Thu)
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY: VOLUME 2 (12A)
2D – 12.45pm (Sat/Sun)
Sat/Sun 10.15am – Beauty and the Beast 2D (PG) & The Smurfs (U)
Wed 11.30am –Baywatch (15)
Tuesday 6pm – The Mummy (15)
**FREE LIST SUSPENDED