Alright, let’s set it up. What does Rotten Tomatoes have to say…
Title: The Mummy (2017)
Starring: Tom Cruise, Russell Crowe, Annabelle Wallis, Sofia Boutella
Critics consensus: Lacking the campy fun of the franchise’s most recent entries and failing to deliver many monster-movie thrills, The Mummy suggests a speedy unraveling for the Dark Universe.
Ouch. Yep, better get the crap out of the way first.
CRAP THING #1:
The writing is phenomenally atrocious throughout. It’s like someone actually misremembered “show don’t tell” as “show and tell.” The exposition here verges on exhibitionist. Close that kimono right up, Russell Crowe, and figure out why you’re in this film in the first place.
CRAP THING #2:
The actors display the emotional depth of a teaspoon. Tom Cruise has never been anything but shallow, but I had much higher hopes for Annabelle Wallis — I’ve loved her since “Peaky Blinders,” and she’s even managed to rise above colossally shit writing in the past (“King Arthur: Legend of the Sword,” anyone?).
CRAP THING #3:
I’m sure there’s something horribly offensive in here, but I was so distracted by the lack of narrative arc that I couldn’t identify just what was throwing me o—OH WAIT THAT’S RIGHT THE WHITE PEOPLE ARE HERE TO SAVE THE MIDDLE EAST AGAIN AFTER FUCKING IT UP IN THE FIRST PLACE. Which is so strange, since Tom Cruise has such a great track record of never being culturally insensitive.
Well. Now that that’s out of the way, time for the fun part!
Despite it’s many, many (many) flaws, there were indeed some Silver Linings to be found in “The Mummy.” So let’s list them out.
SILVER LINING #1:
I laughed! I actually gave a little chuckle to myself! (Not to anyone else, since I went to see it by myself, because I didn’t want to invite someone to join me, because sure I’m weird but I’m not a monster.) Jake Johnson does a passable job at playing Cruise’s cursed, ghostly sidekick, and occasionally gets a zinger in there. Plus, towards the start of the film, there’s a series of titles that read:
MESOPOTAMIA, THE CRADLE OF CIVILIZATION
CURRENTLY KNOWN AS IRAQAnd then you see a bunch of ancient-looking shit getting blown to pieces by gunfire. Which I thought was a wry way to orient us Western cinema-goers.
SILVER LINING #2:
Jump scares. Who doesn’t love a few well-executed jump scares? Well, in fairness, not me. I’m completely hopeless with horror films precisely because I’m one of those idiots who puts my hands over my face whenever a scary bit comes about. But I made myself watch these! And I only weed a little! I thought they were well done! Even though my bar is lower than Donald Trump’s! (Too far?)
SILVER LINING #3:
It makes me sound like I’m a sad, 50-something philistine who’s been living under a rock when I say this, but I’ll say it anyway: the special effects are pretty dope. A plane goes down in epic fashion, all of London loses the glass from its windows, Sofia Boutella sucks the life out of people in a pretty realistic way… it’s legit eye candy.
SILVER LINING #4:
Tom Cruise continues to look not a day over 35. I know, I know: he seems like a super weird dude with strange religious affiliations and a laugh that has its own compilation on YouTube, but honestly, whatever he’s drinking? I’ll have some.
And with that, my friends, go forth! Believe that the glass is half-full! That Universal Studios won’t run itself into the ground on a flaming toboggan of mediocre monster movie reboots! That you, too, can stay forever young, just like Tom Cruise!
Until next time, this is Silver Linings, signing off.