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painful attempt

The Mummy.

It’s Universal’s desperate and painful attempt at setting up their own franchise by digging up old monster films. They’ve tried it before.

It is boring yet at least watchable – but the studio’s intention behind the whole idea makes me dislike the film more than it deserves. It’s so blatant that it felt like a long advertisement. It even says “The Dark Universe” in the opening, of which The Mummy is going to be the official start. Let’s see how embarrassing it’s going to be in a few years.

The movie carefully explains everything verbally including the story and Tom Cruise’s character (e.g. his love interest says to him that he has a bad habit but has a good heart, so that the audience understands it), so there is not an ounce of subtlety. The film is written to make sure everyone, especially non-English speakers, understands what is going on.

And Tom Cruise, who would be completely buried if this was his first film. He is terribly miscast for the sake of foreign box office success. He is a genuinely hateful character who forcefully turns good at the last moment because the script says so.

Also making a mummy film that takes place in the modern era seems terribly insensitive. Tom Cruise character fights against Islamic fundamentalists who destroy historical objects, so that he can sell those at the black market. He also works for the US Army and calls an airstrike to destroy the opposition. And the reason why mummy as horror character exists (past generation’s misunderstanding of Egyptian burial culture inspired them to create a monster) is inherently insensitive, so it is probably better to set it up in a similar time frame, which the previous Mummy franchise did with Brendan Fraser.

Despite the obvious marketing ploy by Universal, this movie was made by a big studio with fair amount of budget; the production quality is solid which makes the film watchable, so it at least deserves a 5. It’s fine, but I recommend you avoid it. Or if you’re like me and you enjoy watching bad films and discussing why they didn’t work, then I recommend it.

And as a side note, I often look at how much detail films try to get right. The Mummy rates pretty low here too. There’s a secret organisation in London which is directly underneath the Southbank Centre, but once you go upstairs, it’s the Natural History Museum in South Kensington. From there, the main duo runs away from the mummy, at least to Oxford Circus, on foot. How the studio thought they could get away with such a blatant inconsistency in one of the most famous cities is baffling. To be fair, this doesn’t normally happen in more Britain-focused films such as 007.

—toshi omagari

Flommist Toshi Omagari fights many things, most recent of which is the auto-correction of his title to florist. Copyright © 2017 Toshi Omagari. The sign (above) says ‘Livestock gate,’ it seems.

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Der Tung
Wed 5 Jul 2017

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