Hi, I’m the Man on the Silver Mountain. Your Librarian’s out this week so as I was down finding something in the library to keep me entertained whilst I wait for more people to visit me on the peak so as The Mummy has just come out in cinemas and as I’m more of a fan of the old Universal monster movies than the Librarian is she asked me if I’d tell you guys a little about it. So far it’s gotten some bad press as well which I don’t think it deserves.
To do this justice I feel like we have to go back to the beginning, not just of the movie itself but where this movie has come from. Right back to 1932 where Boris Karloff took on the role of our undead title character.
There is a few spoilers within this review (but most of them are just from the trailer).
Boris Karloff looking severe as Imhotep in The Mummy in 1932 – The Mummy, Universal Studios, 1932
That movie had adventurous archaeologist Sir. Joseph Whemple and his associate Dr. Muller find the mummified remains of the priest Imhotep (the same character found in the Brendan Fraser Mummy movie from 1999). Imhotep had been mummified alive as he had committed acts of sacrilege by attempting to resurrect his dead lover who happened to be a princess by using an artefact called the Scroll of Thoth. Thanks to one of Sir. Whemple’s assistants reading the Scroll aloud the Imhotep is revived and flees with the Scroll and disappears. Time passes until Imhotep, now passing as a modern Egyptian helps other archaeologists (one of which is Sir. Whemple’s son) to find the Princess’ tomb, around which time he also encounters Helen Grosvenor, a woman that seems to him to be the reincarnation of his long lost love. He decides to kill her, mummify her and resurrect her so that she can be his bride and the two can be together forever. During his attempt at this, Helen remembers her past life as the Princess and cries out to the goddess Isis for help, the goddess hearing her and incinerating the Scroll of Thoth – in turn destroying the source of Imhotep’s power and causing him to crumble into dust whilst Helen returns to the world with the assistance of Sir. Whemple and Dr. Muller.
Sofia Boutella raising hell as Princess Ahmanet in The Mummy 2017 – The Mummy, Perfect World Pictures, 2017
The new movie starring Tom Cruise and Sofia Boutella has many of the same elements but have been reworked not just for a modern audience but also as the start of Universal Studio’s Dark Universe Cinematic Universe (DUCU). In this film we find Nick Morton (Tom Cruise) and his friend Chris Vail in the middle of Iraq and searching for trouble. Finding themselves in over their heads they uncover the tomb of an ancient Egyptian princess, Ahmanet (Sophia Boutella), that had been removed from history and mummified alive due to her attempts to use an artefact called the Dagger of Set to draw Set, god of chaos into a physical body to be her immortal lover and ruler. As a result of removing Ahmanet’s sarcophagus from its tomb she wakes up and chooses the one who released her as a worthy host for Set to inhabit. Nick dies in a plane crash as Ahmanet sets herself free, sacrificing himself to save Jenny Halsey, the archaeologist that he found out about the tomb from. Nick wakes up in a mortuary without a scratch on him, revived by the curse Ahmanet has placed on his to keep him alive until she is able to use the dagger to draw Set into his body. Ahmanet hunts Nick down, plaguing his thoughts with waking nightmares and continuing to draw him towards her. Just as it looks like Ahmanet has got her way Prodigium turns up, a shadowy organisation directed by Dr. Henry Jekyll (Russell Crowe), who capture Ahmanet and bring her back with them to their base where they look to permanently end her, and find a way to help Nick with his curse problem.
Now, as I was asked to avoid spoilers, I’ll round this up quickly; Ahmanet breaks loose, Mr. Edward Hyde shows up, bad stuff happens and Nick ends up having to come to terms with being cursed to fight back against Ahmanet… and save Jenny.
As you can see from the two plots we’ve got most of the common elements here; a Mummy character entombed alive for some form of sacrilege, the Mummy in the modern age searches for a vessel to either resurrect or possess via use of an artefact with a god’s name attached to it, and our heroes have to confront the new reality the Mummy shows them in order to fight back. The differences between the two mostly being in the gender of the Mummy and the nature of the rebirth they seek.
All-in-all, I felt that this was all handled pretty well turning what was quite a slow plot in the 1930s into a superhero-esque action-horror movie in 2017. The highlights for me were Russell Crowe’s performance as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and the fact that this movie was a pretty good mirror to the older film that it had taken as inspiration.
My only negative remark is that there is a lot of exposition, sometimes rehashing the same piece of information two or three times for no reason which did slow things downs at times when it didn’t seem to need to.
Final thoughts – it’s a good start for the DUCU in my opinion; a good movie that was a lot of fun, paid homage to where it had come from and was looking to plant seeds for the rest of this new cinematic universe to grow from but not in a way that took over the whole film.
Catch the trailer here!
Thanks for reading guys and for more from me you can find me on YouTube at Man on the Silver Mountain
What did you think of the NEW Mummy? Should they stopped at the Brendan Fraiser runs, or are you like The Man on the Silver Mountain and loved the new one? Looking forward to the new Dark Universe? Leave a comment down below!
(Header Image: The Mummy, Perfect World Pictures, 2017)