The Mummy15¦ 3D Blu-ray, Blu-ray, DVD
No doubt due to the incredible success of Marvel's Multiverse, with its myriad of superheroes and interlocking storylines, everyone wants a similar money-making franchise.
Universal Pictures must have been kicking themselves, sitting as they have been, on some classic iconic characters, for a number of years. Marvel's success has clearly made one of the studio heads bolt upright in his coffin from his sleepy daze, and remember that with one magic word -re-boot- they could resurrect a whole rota of fantastical characters. First making its tentative steps from what the studio are calling their Dark Universe series is this bandaged effort, which they no doubt want to show them the 'mummy'.
While tunnelling deep under the streets of London for a new train link service, a forgotten tomb is discovered. This curious find is linked to some time earlier in history, in Mesopotamia, where Princess Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella) is looking forward to taking her father's place, being next in line to the throne. Unfortunately for her, her father has another child, and this time it's a son. Being career driven as she is however, she doesn't stop a small thing like that from stopping her. To put a spanner in the works, she decides to embrace darkness and see where that leads her. As it turns out, wrapped up in bandages and mummified for eternity.
Meanwhile, back in present day, Nick Morton (Tom Cruise) and his buddy Chris (Jake Johnson), two US soldiers on long range reconnaissance, are on a hunt for treasure in war-torn Iraq. It's there they discover a tomb, where a sarcophagus is chained in a pool. With Nick's curiosity getting the better of him, he frees it from its watery prison and the army decide to take it with them.
On the flight back, things don't quite go as planned, and the plane crashes under mysterious circumstances. Strangely Nick somehow survives, and what follows next gets stranger still, culminating in the bandaged princess making a come back.
When it comes to being an action adventure flick, The Mummy ticks a lot of the boxes. Tom Cruise is in it for starters, and he always gives it his all. Director Alex Kurtzman keeps the pace up throughout, with some truly impressive set pieces. And there's some nice interaction between Cruise, New Girl's Johnson, and the love interest Jenny, played by Annabelle Wallis.
Where the box with the heavy cross in it comes from is in the film's lack of originality. A better title for the film would have been Raiders of Raiders of the Lost Ark, as it blatantly steals from this franchise, as well as others. It's a cinematic memory quilt that sews elements from lots of other films, making it a patch worked whole. In doing so, the film's own identity ends up being on the blurry side.
This doesn't help the story which has a narrative that downright refuses to stay on track. This is no surprise considering not only Kurtzman's limited film directing experience - having directed only one other feature, 2012's People Like Us - but also his day job of being a exec producer on multiple TV shows, including the excellent, albeit mind-bending Fringe.
If you just accept it for what it is though, and that's a muddled, blockbusting thrill ride, it entertains more than it disappoints.
So if you've heard bad things about it, it may not totally be the MILF (Mummy I'd Like to Forget) experience you were expecting.
Let's hope that further entries in the Dark Universe series, and there are a lot of them (possibly including films about the invisible man, Dracula, the bride of Dracula, Van Helsing and Frankenstein) aren't as wrapped up in themselves as this one.