The Mummy, the latest remake of the classic monster movie, opens in theaters this weekend. Should you take the kids? Should you see it at all? Read on to find out.
1. What’s it about?
This newest version follows the same basic formula as every other retelling of the story: an adventurer stumbles upon an Egyptian tomb and awakens the evil mummy buried there, who then proceeds to unleash death and destruction on the modern world.
In this particular incarnation, the adventurer is Nick (Tom Cruise), a US soldier in Iraq who likes to go off on his own to find rare artifacts that he can sell on the black market, who finds the burial site of Ahmanet, and Egyptian princess who got upset when her dad, the Pharaoh, got remarried and had a new kid with the new wife. Ahmanet’s response, of course, was to go over to the Dark Side, calling on the power of Set to turn into an evil… something. But, of course, the Pharaoh’s people caught her before she could finish the ceremony and, rather than just kill her (because then you only have a 10-minute movie), they embalmed her alive and tossed her in a hole 1000 miles away. (All of this, by the way, is related in a pre-credits scene, so I don’t think it’s spoilery.)
Anyway, Nick finds the tomb and calls in Jenny (Annabelle Wallis), an archaeologist. Together, they take Ahmanet back to England, where lots of bad things happen.
Besides Cruise and Wallis, the movie stars Russel Crowe as Dr. Henry Jekyll, Jurassic World’s Jake Johnson as Cruise’s sidekick, and Sofia Boutella as Ahmanet. Our readers will perhaps recognize Boutella from her role in Kingsman, or at least her name from Star Trek Beyond–she played the alien that helps Kirk and Co. on the planet. Later this summer, she’s co-starring with Charlize Theron in Atomic Blonde.
2. How does it compare to the 1999 version of the film?
From the trailers, I thought that this movie was going to fully commit to being a horror film, so I was pleasantly surprised that they kept a lot of the light-hearted humor that made the Brendan Fraser version worth watching. Cruise doesn’t quite have Fraser’s charm, but he can do the slightly bumbling hero thing when he wants to, and he really pulls out all the stops here. All in all, I think this version holds up quite nicely to the last one.
3. So it’s good?
Yeah, it actually is. I mean, it’s not going to be nominated for Best Picture or anything, but it doesn’t try to pretend to be anything that it isn’t. I found the movie to be perfectly entertaining. If you go in thinking you’re going to see a masterpiece, then you’ll be disappointed, but I’d urge you to ask yourself why you thought it would be that in the first place. If, on the other hand, you want to just sit in a theater for a little over an hour and a half and be entertained, then I don’t think you’ll regret seeing this movie.
4. What’s it rated? Why?
The movie is rated PG-13 for “violence, action and scary images, and for some suggestive content and partial nudity.”
The “violence, action and scary images” is obvious if you’ve seen the trailers. Once Ahmanet wakes up, she starts killing people to suck their life essence to rejuvenate herself, and then turns those folks into zombies that do her bidding. So the body count in the movie is pretty high. None of the deaths are particularly gory, though, and there’s almost no blood. And as I mentioned above, they didn’t really play too heavily on the horror aspects. There’s only one jump scare, and it’s pretty blatantly broadcast, so unless you have a particular fear of crows, rats, or bugs, this movie shouldn’t scare you too much.
By “suggestive content,” I assume they’re referring to Nick and Jenny’s discussions about the night they spent together in Baghdad before the movie opens. It’s normal PG banter.
On nudity: Boufella is naked or next-to-naked in most of the flashback scenes to her life in ancient Egypt, but most of what you see is her back. There is one very, very brief shot of her bare breast, but it’s blink-and-you’ll-miss-it brief.
5. Will the kids like it?
It’s likely too intense for younger kids, but older pre-teens and teens probably will enjoy it. It’s a fun, fast-paced action film that doesn’t let itself get bogged down by origin stories or too much exposition.
6. How are the effects?
As you’d expect from a big-budget film that’s meant to kick off a new franchise, the effects are exceptional. Ahmanet, in particular, is extremely well done.
7. So this is trying to start a franchise?
Oh, yes. I basically assumed that from the start, but I was surprised at the revelation in the movie as to just which franchise the movie is launching. Perhaps having learned their lesson from the progressively stupid Fraser Mummy sequels, it’s clear that’s not really the intent here. I don’t want to give too much away, but Crowe’s character’s name, which is listed on IMDb so I’m guessing isn’t meant to really be a secret, is a big clue.
8. Is it worth seeing in 3D?
I’d guess not. I wasn’t expecting to enjoy the movie nearly as much as I did, so I decided to not spend the money to see it in 3D. I thought it was perfectly fine in 2D. I’m guessing a few scenes, like the one in the trailer where the birds take down the airplane, would have been neat in 3D, but I definitely don’t feel I missed anything seeing it the way I did.
9. When I can sneak out to pee?
The movie is 1 hour, 50 minutes, with 10 minutes of closing credits, so if you can last through 100 minutes you should try to. Once the movie gets going it never really slows down. That said, there is a scene in Jekyll’s lab where Nick and Jenny are sitting on a balcony talking that’s just over the half-way point and gives you a couple of minutes to slip out. Just don’t be gone too long.
10. Anything after the credits?
For such an obvious franchise-starter, I was a little surprised by this, but no. As soon as the credits roll, you can take off.