The Mummy Blu-ray Review

  • Actors: Tom Cruise, Annabelle Wallis, Sofia Boutella, Jake Johnson, Courtney B. Vance
  • Director: Alex Kurtzman
  • Writers: David Koepp, Christopher McQuarrie, Dylan Kussman
  • Producers: Alex Kurtzman, Chris Morgan, Sean Daniel, Sarah Bradshaw
  • Format: NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (DTS 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (DTS 5.1)
  • Subtitles: French, Spanish
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region A/1
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Studio: Universal Studios Home Entertainment
  • Release Date: September 12, 2017
  • Digital Copy Expiration Date: May 2, 2018

        Despite the horrible response by audiences and critics alike, I didn’t think The Mummy was a complete trainwreck. There was much about it that didn’t work, and very little that was as successful as it needed to be, but the biggest problem with the film is its inability to carry the weight of the cinematic universe that is meant to follow. As a standalone film, audiences probably would have dismissed The Mummy as an inconsequential summer film, without the high level of scrutiny it received as the first entry into the Dark Universe franchise. And this seems to be a trend, as each effort made by Universal to revive their once thriving cinematic horror department to the quality of the past has met similar failure. We saw it with Dracula Untold (2014) as well as The Wolfman (2010), and now The Mummy’s failure is likely giving the studio pause about their plans to revive countless other iconic monsters.

        Tom Cruise is the most surprising part of The Mummy, and apparently his involvement greatly changed the direction of the project. On one hand, this may have resulted in some of the action-oriented sequences that work a great deal better than some of the horror. On the other hand, this may disappoint fans that specifically watched this movie because it was supposed to be the beginning of a horror cinematic universe. Either way, the result is a film that has as many failures (if not more) than it does successes. Aside from a brief prologue, the film actually starts out as more of a straight-up buddy action film than anything resembling horror, and I would have preferred the entire film stay that way, especially with the chemistry between Cruise and Johnson.

        After the bit of period context narrated by Dr. Henry Jekyll (Russell Crowe), we jump to modern times as U.S. soldier/mercenary Nick Morton (Cruise) and his partner/friend Chris Vail (Jake Johnson) use the war in Iraq to hunt down valuable treasures to sell for profit. After calling in an air strike on a village overrun by insurgents, Nick and Christ end up uncovering the tomb of Princess Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella), who sold her soul for power. Joined by archaeologist Jenny Halsey (Annabelle Wallis), Nick uncovers the tomb and exposes the long-hidden evil. Before long, the spirit of Ahmanet arises to cause havoc and destruction.

        In an unexplained (or simply illogical) coincidence, Nick is chosen by Ahmanet to be her partner, sparing his life from a devastating plane crash only to spend a majority of the film hunting him down. Nick, on the other hand, spends much of the film trying to protect Jenny, who he had a brief fling with. Despite building him up as an immoral thief, it inevitably turns out that Nick is a pretty decent guy. This will become more important if the plans to connect all of the horror films and monsters ever come into fruition. The beginnings of this can be seen in seemingly unrelated sequences that show Dr. Jekyll’s tendency to transform into a beast when he doesn’t take the proper medication. If this is any indication of what a Jekyll and Hyde film may look like, there is no rush to give him a standalone movie.

        Much of this film is too heavily reliant on bad CGI, despite a mildly impressive plane sequence that used practical effects and an actual zero gravity plane to film. The scope of the movie is massive, but somehow never impressive. Like with many of the superhero films that this cinematic universe is imitating, the use of bad CGI doesn’t help ground the movie in realism enough to believe the absurdity of the story onscreen. Fans looking forward to a horror franchise like the ones created for superheroes would be better off anticipating the continuation of Godzilla and King Kong and their integration into the same universe instead.

        The Blu-ray release of The Mummy comes with a DVD and a Digital HD copy of the film, along with plenty of special features for the few people who actually enjoyed the film. I found it to be far less offensive than the reviews had me expecting, but I still had little interest in many of the extras. The first among these is a collection of deleted/extended scenes, just in case the film didn’t feel too long already. There is also a feature commentary track with director Alex Kurtzman and cast members Sofia Boutella, Annabelle Wallis, and Jake Johnson. Separately, there is a featurette with an in-depth conversation between Kurtzman and Cruise about the film. There are also seven brief featurettes about the production, ranging from brief promotional features about the characters to examinations of the special effects used in various sequences. Both the CGI used for Jekyll’s evil counterpart and the practical effects used in the plane crash are examined. The last extra is a few minutes of an animated graphic novel telling Ahmanet’s story. 

Entertainment Value: 6.5/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 6/10
Historical Significance:  6/10
Special Features: 7.5/10

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