starring Tom Cruise, Sofia Boutella, Annabelle Wallis, Jake Johnson, Courtney B. Vance and Russell Crowe
screenplay by David Koepp, Christopher McQuarrie and Dylan Kussman
directed by Alex Kurtzman
When I think of The Mummy I think of the Brendan Fraser, Rachel Weisz movie (1999, directed by Stephen Sommers), not any of the classic Mummy movies like The Mummy (1932 with Boris Karloff), The Mummy’s Hand (1940, with Tom Tyler), The Mummy’s Tomb, The Mummy’s Ghost (1942), or The Mummy’s Curse (1944, all with Lon Chaney, Jr.), or even Abbott and Costello Me the Mummy (1955). Okay, there’s a long history of Mummy movies. As a kid I watched most of those old movies.
This new one with Tom Cruise features Cruise as Nick Morton, a U.S. Army sergeant who, together with his buddy Vail (Jake Johnson), is going around Iraq during the Iraq war looting antiquities. This time, though, they hit the Big Time with no clue what it is they’ve found. The Egyptian mummy sarcophagus they stumble upon in Iraq is the ultimate ancient find, the worst of ancient curses, and they haven’t a clue what it is or what their danger is. Archaeologist Jennifer Halsey (Annabelle Wallis) understands what it is and spends the whole movie running interference for Nick. Nick is so clueless about history, antiquities and archaeology that he basically spends the entire movie asking “What?” “What did you say?” “What’s that?” I liked Brendan Fraser’s character Rick O’Connell (1999) better, because Rick knew his history.
Strangely, Jennifer works for reclusive and secretive Dr. Jekyll in London (Russell Crowe). That’s the Dr. Jekyll of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde fame. I don’t know what Dr. Jekyll has to do with this story. Something about hunting, chasing and destroying Evil in the world. But if you read Robert Louis Stevenson’s gothic novel The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886) you know that Dr. Jekyll turns into the evil Mr. Hyde because of drug abuse - specifically, heroin - not because of the influence of metaphysical, spiritual Evil. I thought Russell Crowe was completely unnecessary to the story, even confusing. Dr. Jekyll is the weakest part of this film.