Show me the mummy!
Universal’s Dark Universe—an interconnected series of movies populated by all of its classic movie monsters—starts with a summer popcorn movie that is less big-bang and more no-big-deal. Kudos for the out-of-the-box decision to toss Tom Cruise into this world of movie monsters; I’d pay to see him fight Dracula or the Creature From the Black Lagoon or woo the Bride of Frankenstein. Unfortunately, his Mummy entry cannot top the matinee serial-action adventure of the 1999 Mummy starring Brendan Fraser as a Diet Indiana Jones.
Cruise’s Nick Morton is barely a stone’s throw from Fraser’s Rick O’Connell, but the deft camp tone of Stephen Sommers is sorely missing as Cruise battles/woos the more-than-impressive evil Egyptian princess Ahmanet, played by Sofia Boutella. Russell Crowe’s decision to channel Ricky Gervais for both his Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde may be the movie’s most questionable choice. Ultimately, the DNA is too much Cruise and not enough Mummy, though Jake Johnson’s talking corpse à la An American Werewolf in London makes great use of the wisecracking perma-sidekick.