Sound Off! The Mummy

Welcome back to Sound Off!, a semi-regular column where members of Speculative Chic gather together to chat about the latest BIG THING in entertainment. This time, brush the sand out of your hair and discuss The Mummy, which premiered in the United States on Friday, June 9, 2017.

Sound Off! is meant to be a reaction, but not necessarily a review. After all, while we are all individuals, even mutual love of something (or hate) can come from different places: you may find everything from critique to fangirling to maybe even hate-watching.

Now, join J.L. Gribble as she talks about The Mummy! [Note: A polite, critical review happens first, then she gets a bit ranty after the big red letters.]


J.L.: Before this movie came out, I was excited about two things.

  1. A shared-universe series of movies set in modern day inspired by Universal Studios’ original pantheon of monster movies.
  2. A gender-bent female mummy.

And I got both of these things. Technically.

I love terrible speculative fiction action movies, so this is probably the nicest critical review you’ll read, actually. There were some great surprises, but most of the film was a whopping disappointment overall, with much “are we really seeing this?” laughter from the audience. I saw it Thursday night and I’m writing this Friday afternoon, but I won’t be shocked to learn that Wonder Woman out-performs The Mummy during its second weekend. My husband, who has a much more refined movie palate, refused to see this with me, so I conned my little sister into joining me instead. Honestly, she sums it up best. When the credits rolled, she turned to me and said, “Now I know why Bach didn’t want to see this movie with you.”

My husband might have actually walked out of the movie’s opening, with its ridiculous portrayal of American military long-range reconnaissance soldiers. Even I know that’s not how an air strike is called in! But I continued to suspend my disbelief through a lot of contrived coincidences and kept on going for the ridiculous ride.

Pretty much the only pleasant surprise actually shows up quite early in the film. For various reasons, most of the new Tom Cruise movies I’ve seen over the past few years have been his Mission: Impossible installments, so I was prepared for another suave, alpha-male hero. Instead, Nick Morton is a self-centered asshole, which was both refreshing, made for some of the movie’s best comedic moments, and ends up relevant to the movie’s plot as a whole. I couldn’t even equate him to the jerk Cruise plays in the beginning of Edge of Tomorrow because that character goes “hero” very quickly, and there is a difference between coward and selfish.

As for the things I was excited about, the shared-universe thing is set up with lots of cheesy potential. Russell Crowe (man, has that dude aged since Gladiator) was quite delightful as a the weird head of a society that researches evil (with the worst hidden lair ever), and I’d love to see the movie about him as Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde. So many unanswered questions there! Unfortunately, all the hoopla about a female mummy flew out the window when she still needed a man in order to accomplish anything. And after seeing Wonder Woman a week before and becoming much more aware of “the male gaze” in film, I spent a lot of time mentally screaming, “Why are you naked right now! There’s no reason for you to be naked!”

That being said, Sofia Boutella rocked the creepy tattooed nakedness, and more importantly, the eerie physicality that her role demanded (regardless of whether she was naked, wearing probably historically inaccurate white robes, or sporting strategically placed mummy bandages), and it will always be awesome to see a woman of color get such high billing in a major action film (though heaven forbid anyone else’s name but Tom’s be on any of the posters or other visual marketing).

The visuals and special effects were stunning. The plane crash scene featured so heavily in the trailers had me on the edge of my seat, and even a sandstorm in London didn’t seem too wonky.

But I think I’ve run out of things to be polite about.

MAJOR SPOILERS for all parts of the film ahead, because I have opinions.

Have an awesome picture of a not-naked Ahmanet in the meantime. (See what I mean about the strategically placed bandages, though?)

*deep breath*

Medieval Crusader zombies? SERIOUSLY?

There were an unusual number of zombies in this movie to start with, for a movie that’s supposed to be about MUMMIES, but I bought the first few. Okay, Ahmanet is sucking out their life force to refill her own, and takes them under her thrall. But I lost it when the Crusaders came back to “life,” because they were never fighting for her in the first place. How would she have any power over them? What about the rest of the dead bodies under London, which are mentioned during the news announcements at the beginning of the film? Gah!

And I am terrified of zombies. So it says a lot about a supposedly “serious action movie” when I’m giggling through the zombie scenes rather than stressed out or nervous.

Also, remember how all of Ahmanet’s story line still revolved around a man? Well, Morton’s story line certainly didn’t revolve around Ahmanet. I’m getting really tired of having to link to the fridging trope in my Sound Off reviews.

The next movie in the series better be about Dr. Jekyll turning into a giant rage monster…

Oh, wait.

We’re getting that movie in November, and I already know it will be a million times better.

5 Comments

  • Nicole Taft June 13, 2017 at 2:58 pm

    *rolls on into Rotten Tomatoes out of sheer curiosity*

    Ooooh….it’s, uh, it’s not good, Mav. Not good.

    Reply
  • Lane Robins June 13, 2017 at 3:25 pm

    This is so sad! I really wanted to see this, and I was excited about a Dark Universe kind of supernatural action adventures series. And okay, I thought The Mummy was underdressed on the trailers, but she also looked cool enough to forgive the random bandaging. Then the reviews started rolling in, and the spoilers started rolling out and my hopes died. Especially once I learned the ending.

    And I was actually thinking about the Mummy compared to Wonder Woman the other day because we’d been talking about the minimal marketing for Wondy. Then I saw “articles” talking about how many times Sofia Boutella had to lick Tom Cruise for the movie and thought, you know, there are worse things than little to no marketing….

    Reply
    • J.L. Gribble June 13, 2017 at 8:14 pm

      I had successfully blocked the licking from my brain. THANKS. 😛

      Reply
  • Carey Ballard June 14, 2017 at 12:56 am

    This poor film. I didn’t think it would do well at all. The previews were uninspiring. I too liked the idea of a gender-bent Mummy, but I’m allergic to Tom Cruise. I watched Edge of Tomorrow, but overall I get the impression that his recent franchise choices have been fairly mediocre. So I didn’t expect The Mummy to stand out.

    Confession: I did watch Jack Reacher: Never Go Back on DVD, but mostly to see Cobie Smulders outside the Marvel Universe.

    Reply
  • davidbrawley June 15, 2017 at 9:19 pm

    Thank you for seeing this so I don’t have to.

    Reply

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