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Movie Night – ‘The Mummy’ brings more action than horror

By Bradley Griffith

“The Mummy” heralds the beginning of a new Dark Universe. It’s the first of many planned movies to create a new Dark Universe of horror films.  Possible films include Frankenstein, Dracula, and The Invisible Man.  “The Mummy” is a great beginning to the series, even if the bulk of the movie is more action and adventure than horror.

In ancient Egypt Princess Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella) was the sole heir to Pharaoh Menehptre and destined to take his throne and become a living god.  When her father sired a new child, this time a boy who would steal her throne, Ahmanet sold her soul to Set, the Egyptian god of death.  Ahmanet murdered her father and the new baby boy before she was captured and entombed for all eternity.

Fast-forward to present-day Iraq where a fortune hunting soldier, Nick Morton (Tom Cruise), and his partner, Chris Vail (Jake Johnson), are searching for buried treasure in a small village in the middle of nowhere.  The U.S. Army saves their lives as they are being overrun by dozens of enemy combatants.  When the dust clears there is a large hole in the ground to be explored.

Jenny Halsey (Annabelle Wallis), the archaeologist from whom Nick stole the map that led him to this village, quickly appears and declares the site a tomb and demands that it be protected while she explores the ruins, along with Nick and Chris.  The three explorers are debating how to proceed when Nick abruptly releases the sarcophagus from its lake of mercury.

Given no other choice, they remove the sarcophagus from the tomb and put it on a cargo plane to be taken to London and studied.  On the flight to London strange things start to happen and the plane takes a nosedive into the English countryside.  Ahmanet soon begins her resurrection and needs Nick to regain her full powers.

“The Mummy” is probably one-third horror movie and two-thirds action-adventure flick. It’s not scary at all, but most horror movies these days aren’t frightening.  There are some creepy scenes for sure, but nothing that even makes you jump in your seat.  The best thing about the movie is that it is filled with action and adventure from the beginning until the end.

The action and adventure parts of the movie are right up Tom Cruise’s alley, but being in a horror movie is a rare thing for him.  His only prior movie in the genre was “Interview With the Vampire” in 1994.  While his casting may have been a little unusual, Cruise is an expert at action-adventure movies and he fits in perfectly here.

The best part of the movie may be the Mummy herself.  Sofia Boutella is great as the evil and bewitching Ahmanet.  She is equal parts evil, powerful, and seductive.  She makes the movie work.  Annabelle Wallis and Jake Johnson are also very good in their supporting roles.  Johnson provides virtually all the humor in the movie.

The story of “The Mummy” is different enough to distinguish it from the mummy movies of the past.  While it’s well-known that this is the first in a line of new movies about monsters, the ending was still unexpected, if not exactly fulfilling.  Also, the movie is very well made, with no expense spared.  The special effects are excellent.

“The Mummy” is a rollicking and exciting adventure from ancient Egypt to modern day Iraq and London.  It may not be what you expect from a movie that claims to be in the horror genre, but it’s very entertaining and will leave you with a smile on your face.

Grade: A-

Rated PG-13 for violence, action and scary images, and for some suggestive content and partial nudity.