Tom Cruise as Nick Morton; Russell Crowe as Dr. Henry Jekyll; Annabelle Wallis as Jenny Halsey; Sofia Boutella as Ahmanet; Jake Johnson as Chris Vail
June 9, 2017
Man, those ancient Egyptians sure make a big deal out of one teensy-weensy murder spree.
Some might say Ahmanet had every right to be peeved. (Well, Ahmanet would say so, at any rate.) She was next in line to be the queen of Egypt, after all. That’s right, queen—a gig that comes with perks, like servants to feed you grapes, statues that look like you and all the sand you could ever want.
But then the current Pharaoh fathered a son—a wholly inconsiderate act on his part—which left Ahmanet with just two options. One, to swallow the disappointment and content herself with being a well-fed, well-heeled member of Egyptian royalty; or two, make an unholy pact with ultimate evil and paint the palace red with her family’s blood.
Naturally, Ahmanet chooses the latter.
She kills the Pharaoh, his wife and their son. But she’s not done yet. To finalize her deal with Set, the Egyptian god of death, she has to kill her lover, too—freeing the guy’s body for Set to, um, set up shop in it. Then he and Ahmanet can partner up and plunge the world into darkness and death.
But before Ahmanet can strike that final blow, Egyptian guards capture her. Death, they decide, is too good for her. And given the fact that her deal with Set turned her into a tatted-up half-demon-thing, they figure some extra precautions are in order.
First, they mummify her alive. Then they throw her in a heavy metal sarcophagus and ship her to Mesopotamia a thousand miles away. They dig a huuuge hole for her, fill her tomb with mercury (said to weaken demonic power) and then cover the whole works in dirt, hoping no one will ever find it again.
Talk about overkill.
Well, clearly, Ahmanet’s in a pickle. It’s hard to plunge the world into darkness and death when you’re stuck in a—
Wait, wait just a minute. What’s that? Did Ahmanet just hear a huge explosion above her? Has it been 5,000 years already?
Hey, look: daylight. Oh, and wow: Three people are rapelling into Ahmanet’s uber-creepy tomb?!
Surely, when they notice all the mercury, they’ll put on gas masks, right? No? Well, perhaps when the lone archeologist in the bunch reads all the warning signs—like, literally, signs posted everywhere warning people not to disturb this terrible, terrible tomb—these folks’ll take some additional precautions. Or maybe the legions of giant, biting spiders might deter them.
No? Well, at least they won’t dare to loose those ancient ropes and—oh, never mind. One of the explorers just loosed them.
They say that patience is a virtue. And it seems that Ahmanet’s 5,000 years of patience is just about to pay off. Great.
Great for her, that is. Everyone else … not so much.
Nick Morton is Ahmanet’s official rope-looser. The mummy appreciates the gesture so much that she selects Nick as her next “beloved”—that is, the guy she’s going to kill to introduce Set to the world. And because of Ahmanet’s ability to weasel into his mind, Nick sometimes seems just fine with that. He’s described as a perfect vessel for Set, given his lack of morals and his dearth of consideration for anyone but himself.
But Jenny, the archaeologist, believes that underneath his rough exterior, Nick’s an OK guy. “I knew there was more to you than money,” she says.
No, no, sorry. That’s Princess Leia in Star Wars. (Wrong notes.) No, Jennysays, “Somewhere, fighting to get out, is a good man.” And turns out, she’s right: Nick turns from a selfish treasure-hunter into a self-sacrificing do-gooder. And he eventually shows a willingness to sacrifice pretty much everything—body, soul and spirit—for Jenny when the Egyptian chips are down.
There are a few others who’d like to prevent the end of the world, too, if possible. Dr. Henry Jekyll is especially keen to do so, even though he knows it means making some uncomfortable sacrifices himself.
Take a load off and set a spell, while I talk about Set and spells.
Set, as mentioned, is the Egyptian god of death. (Or god of the desert, war, storms, chaos, wind, war, darkness, disorder, violence, etc., etc., depending on which source you look at.) Jekyll calls him out as evil and says that Christians call the very same guy Satan and Lucifer. But rather than follow the Christian idea that Satan and evil are already actively influencing our world, Jekyll characterizes evil as lurking just outside it, looking for a way to come in.
Set has found a way into this realm through Ahmanet, who prays to the god and performs rites in his honor, and is thus rewarded with supernatural power. Her body is magically riddled with black, unreadable glyphs, and she’s apparently granted immortality as well (though the years do take a toll on her eventually). Some animals (birds, rats, spiders) seem to do her bidding, and she has the ability to control certain minds (sometimes through spider bites). She’s also able to call on the sand itself—including, apparently, sand grains of it that have been melted into glass. But perhaps her most fearsome ability is her knack for raising folks from the dead, who subsequently serve her as her shambling, zombie-like minions.
We also learn that hundreds of years earlier, some Christian Crusaders found Ahmanet’s crypt and spirited away her magic dagger (given to her by Set), hiding the blade in the statue of an angel (called a reliquary by Jenny) and a magic gem from its pommel in a Crusader grave. We assume that the Crusaders did this because they understood Ahmenet’s nature and wanted to keep a critical source of her power away from her.
Elsewhere, presumably Islamic fighters shoot up and deface ancient artifacts, mimicking the destruction we’ve seen from ISIS fighters. We hear that pharaohs were worshiped as “living gods.” Some scenes take place in old Christian churches and tombs. There’s talk about “angering the gods.”[Spoiler Warning] Nick eventually gets stabbed by Ahmanet’s magical dagger, which infects him with the spirit of Set. His human side seems to keep the Set side of him at bay while still allowing Nick to use Set’s powers, including resurrecting a couple of people close to him.
Back in ancient Egypt, Ahmanet prays to Set naked: We see her nude form from the back and side in a handful of flashbacks. Even when she wears clothes back then, the robes are fairly gauzy and revealing. A lot of her skin (and sometimes bone and muscle) is visible after she’s mummified, too: When she looks like her younger self, the bandages are wrapped tightly around her in strategic areas, accentuating her figure rather than hiding it. She sometimes straddles her lovers/victims, running her hands down their chests suggestively. She both kisses and licks men.
Nick wakes up in a morgue, naked. (We see him from the side, but his genitals are obscured either by his hands or strategically placed tables.) Nick and Jenny also have a history. They banter suggestively about a the details of a one-night-stand they had in Bagdad. When Jenny accidentally reveals her midriff, Nick ogles her.
Ahmanet wasn’t a gentle woman even when she was just a mortal woman. We see her skirmish with others in the Egyptian desert, knocking men down painfully with poles. She holds a knife to the Pharaoh’s throat (though we don’t see her make the cut that comes next). A baby dies by her hand, too: Again, we don’t see the deed itself, but dark blood sprays tellingly across her contorted face. She’s just about to plunge a dagger into her lover when she’s caught; several darts puncture her neck, and hooks connected to cords pierce her body (though not in a particularly bloody fashion).
Once freed from her coffin, Ahmanet rejuvenates by pressing her lips to the mouths of innocents and literally sucking the life out of them. Her victims morph into mummy-like husks, which then rise and follow her. These creatures—as well as other dead bodies that Ahmanet raises—battle Nick and others. They fling themselves through car windows and swim after folks in water. They’re stubborn opponents, and even dismembering them doesn’t stop their attack. Nick sometimes thwacks off arms or heads or most of their bodies, and they still come. Nick sometimes kicks through their bodies or crushes their heads into billowing dust.
Ahmanet still rumbles, too. Blessed (cursed?) with superhuman strength, she can literally throw people around and smash massive tree limbs into splinters. At one point, she practically breaks Nick’s leg, too. (Nick, perhaps through supernatural means, seems physically fine afterwards.)
A plane crashes. Several people are either sucked out or die in the crash, and we see their bodies in a morgue later. Someone’s stabbed to death. Another man gets shot three times. Still another character, perhaps in an hallucigenic state, is attacked by writhing hordes of rats that cover his body. Someone drowns. Nick has an extended melee with another character.
Dr. Jekyll imprisons Ahmanet for a time: She’s again darted with hooks attached to cords and chained in a large room, where workers apparently inject her body with freezing mercury. “It hurts!” she complains loudly.
Soldiers shoot Ahmanet without effect. Nick and his friend Chris get pinned down during a gunfight. A sandstorm sends cars and busses flying and people scurrying for safety. Explosions go boom. Birds crash through plane windows; one leaves a bloody mark.
CRUDE OR PROFANE LANGUAGE
One s-word and a few other profanities, including “a–,” “b–ch,” “b–tard,” “d–n,” “h—,” “p-ss” and the British profanity “bloody.” God’s name is misused seven times.
DRUG AND ALCOHOL CONTENT
Jenny and Nick spend time in a pub. Nick downs shots and chases them with beer. Other folks are shown drinking beer and other alcoholic beverages.
OTHER NEGATIVE ELEMENTS
Nick and Chris are not archaeologists, but treasure hunters who raid ancient tombs and sell what they find there on the black market. Nick learns about Ahmanet’s tomb, actually, only after stealing a letter from Jenny.
Ahmanet vomits mercury.
On one level, you could say that The Mummy is about Nick—a wayward, moral-free treasure hunter who finds, in the end, a certain level of compassion, humanity, love and redemption. He’s asked to make sacrifices. And in time, he develops a willingness to answer that call.
And that’s all great … as far as it goes.
On another level, though—and this is really the level that counts—The Mummy is a mindless exercise in CGI wonder and PG-13 horror. It delivers action sequences strung together with just the barest thread of a plot or even reason. While it presents itself as a standard summer blockbuster (and, indeed, Universal has planned The Mummy as the first of a new franchise of classic monster reboots), it’s both surprisingly sexual and surprisingly frightening. The movie’s muddy spirituality should give many families pause, as well.
Mostly, though, this movie just felt confused. Its internal logic is inconsistent. Scenes show up for really no real reason at all—feeling about as stuffed in there as a walrus in spandex.
There’s no compelling reason why The Mummy should exist at all, really, other than to line Universal’s pockets. Sure, the same could be said for lots of would-be blockbusters, but most still want to tell a reasonably good, or at least sensible, story. You’ll find precious little sense in this flick. Perhaps it should’ve been kept under wraps.
Copyright 2016 Focus On The Family and www.Pluggedin.com
Bob Waliszewski’s List of Family-Friendly-Movies!
Beyond the Mask
The Book Thief
The Drop Box
Far from the Madding Crowd
God’s Not Dead
The Good Lie