Here we are at the beginning of another planned movie universe. The stars this time: the Universal monsters. The name: Dark Universe. Beginning here, with a reboot of ‘The Mummy‘. The original trilogy was poorly plotted, poorly acted, not very exciting and rarely funny at all. This film? It’s more of the same sadly…
Tom Cruise plays Nick Morton, a bit of a scoundrel who steals archaeological finds and sells them off for his own gain. He, his partner Vail (Jake Johnson) and the woman he stole a map off of Jennifer (Annabelle Wallis) come upon the tomb of Princess Ahmanet, a pretty evil ancient Egyptian played by Sofia Boutella who wants to unleash some dark forces on the world. Standard Mummy type story really. But this is the beginning of a shared universe so of course it has to shoehorn in a load of references that may be used in the future right? Right! There’s Russell Crowe as Dr. Jekyll (and Mr. Hyde), plot twists and set ups for further down the line and a whole building full of possible Easter eggs and references. But shoehorned really is the word. None of it feels particularly organic.
The film is a bit of a mess, not just with plotting, but with pacing and tone too. It tries to be funny but it isn’t, it tiptoes the line between attempt at horror and a Tom Cruise action movie and plods between each little action scene much like the previous trilogy did. The only real improvement is the special effects and some of the acting. Not much of the acting though. Boutella is suitably creepy as the mummy, but really only gets some arm waving and screaming to do when you boil it down. Cruise is good, but not great. Johnson is a bit annoying and not as funny as the script would have you believe, Crowe is like a cartoon character thrown in with the others and Wallis is largely uninteresting.
The ‘horror’ in this film shows signs of being good, but never really capitalises on them. There’s some tension and some creepy parts, but it’s all ruined for cheap jump scares that aren’t even all that scary. The action scenes aren’t all that exciting, except for the plane crash seen in the trailers. That scene probably steals the movie and is another great example of Cruise doing some crazy stunts. The rest are pretty boring and uneventful, especially the climactic scene. I didn’t even realise it was the end it was so plain. The film is bogged down heavily by exposition, including one particularly monotone and dire opening monologue by Crowe.
It’s a poor first entry it what could have been a promising new franchise. Too much added fluff and not enough focus on just producing a good, coherent story. This film should have been so much better but instead falls into the same pitfalls as the previous trilogy, acting as just a modern update of them. It’s a shame, but when you look at all these new attempts to start a new universe too soon, it’s not all that much of a surprising one.
JACK’S SCORE: 2/5