Second Sight: The Mummy & The Formula (2017)

Alex Kurtzman's ill-fated introduction to Universal's Dark Universe, The Mummy attempts to reimagine its subject matter with an uninspired combination of straight to DVD action sequences and lukewarm performances that enshroud a rehashed plot in a mire of half conceived ideas and unintentional humor.  

An evil mummy is awakened by a rogue military operative, plunging him into a global conspiracy that seeks to harness the power of beings beyond human comprehension.  The mummy, however, has plans of her own.  One of the most interesting aspects of the film is Tom Cruise's performance.  Rumors from set indicated that he overshadowed Kurtzman's direction and if they are to be believed, Cruise's undisciplined turn makes sense.  He never dips into true parody (sadly) and yet never embraces the role of a hero, leaving his scoundrel in interesting, but unlovable territory.  His chemistry with Annabelle Wallis' lazily placed love interest is non-existence, while his scenes with Sofia Boutella's villainous creature occasionally rise above milquetoast levels of paycheck acquisition.  Russell Crowe appears as a character meant to harmonize the fledgling cinematic universe, however, his abrupt delivery and awkward combat scenes only serve to further divide the one hundred and twenty-two ideas being attempted in a flurry of explosions and forgettable jump scares.  

This is the core issue with not only The Mummy, but blockbuster entertainment.  The entrenchment of the Marvel formula, mimicking The Hero's Journey in a three-color disguise has forever changed audience expectations.  In a year filled with unique, but albeit unusual offerings, expected crowd pleasures such as The Mummy and The Dark Tower failed while films such as Wonder Woman and Spiderman: Homecoming soared, despite the recycling of the basic format.  The Mummy attempts to break the formula with unexpected flourishes, but, due to Kurtzman's lack of command and a paper-thin script, the unique touches only manage to alienate the audience.  Balance is the key, and every time the film moves into an interesting action sequence or mysterious exposition, it once again retreats into CGI laden shlock fests in order to secure buy in without having a 10 plus film foundation to allow for repetitive displays of visual bravura.  

Available now for digital rental, The Mummy, is yet another big budget misfire that fails to not only capture the viewer's imagination, it also fails are understanding basic expectations for larger than life adventure.  There is nothing memorable in Kurtzman's bland wasteland of carboard colors and cardstock personalities; only the soulless reminder of the studio machine awaits you.