We went to see The Mummy yesterday and, to no one’s surprise, three out of three people in our crowd disliked it, including the person who wanted to see it most. For me, the biggest fails came through the multiple times my suspension of disbelief was tested. As screenwriter Blake Snyder says in Save the Cat: The Last Book On Screenwriting That You’ll Ever Need, “…audiences will only accept one piece of magic per movie.” (Emphasis in the original.)
There were way more than that in The Mummy.
The original premise is, of course, that the Hero Nick Morton wakes up an ancient Egyptian mummy. Everyone walks into the movie understanding this. It’s the movie’s one piece of magic.
Almost right off the bat, moviegoers are asked to believe another piece of magic: That Tom Cruise is young enough to play a soldier in an action movie. Ok, that’s not magic, but I promise you, it cracks my suspension of disbelief. At 54, Cruise is entirely too old to be playing a sergeant in the Army. The character was meant for a late-’20s, early-’30s guy, and while Cruise almost manages to pull off the look, those of us who watched him in Legend, Risky Business, and the like (way back in the ’80s!) know better.
Not long after the mummy’s sarcophagus is found, Cruise’s comedic sidekick Chris Vail is turned into a zombie controlled by the Villain, Ahmanet. This isn’t too much of a stretch. We later learn that Ahmanet can control the dead, which falls neatly in line with previous iterations of the character.
But wait! There’s more!
When our Valiant Hero and his Love Interest make it back to London, he’s introduced to Dr. Henry Jekyll. Yes, that Jekyll. And, of course, we get to see Jekyll’s alter ego, Eddie Hyde.
This strained my patience no end, but it wasn’t the kicker. What really blew it for me was when Morton (aka Cruise) was turned into a god.
So in this one movie, we have at least five pieces of magic, four past what audiences are willing to tolerate without having their suspension of disbelief completely broken. By the end of the movie and the obligatory setup for Movies Yet To Come, I was more than ready to go home.
The ending, by the way, felt more like a superhero, League of Legends type ending, where Dr. Jekyll and Love Interest are going to form a team of evil fighters around Cruise the God.
There’s a telling metaphor in there somewhere, I’m sure.
All in all, this is not a movie I can recommend, even to diehard fans of previous Mummy movies. See it at your own risk, but don’t forget I told you so.