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Movie review: The Mummy

[Webmaster’s note 10/21/2018: This is old content from the previous version of the LexFA website. We’re reposting it here to make it searchable under the Movie Reviews category of posts, and under appropriate post tags.]

The MummyReviewed by R’ykandar Korra’ti

I saw The Mummy last Friday, the late showing at the local [Seattle WA] lameass multiplex. (“The Metro.” Which frankly kinda sucks. It’d be OK if the screens were better, which is, of course, completely missing the point of building a “theatre.” This is also as opposed to the not-as-local not-so-lameass multiplex that we’d have had to drive to reach, or the other walkable theatres which aren’t multiplexes but weren’t showing the film. They appear to be rennovating, which would be good if they fix their screens, but I bet they won’t. We’ll see.)

Anyway. Hm. It wasn’t a good film and I wouldn’t recommend it, yet… possibly because I went in with such low expectations… I really had a pretty good time. It’s a light, silly horror/monster film with very little feel of horror about it, except for a few incidents involving beatles which may and may not affect people in general as strongly as it affected me. The first half of the movie is honestly somewhat charming, and the opening is really visually gorgeous; the second half of the film has more funny lines, but while they were trying, a fair percentage of them we’ve heard before, and – more importantly from a film standpoint – they really broke the sense of period that they’d halfway managed to set up in the first half. (If you’ve heard anything about how big a set of twits Egypotologists tend to be, you’ll find that clicks very well with their handling in this movie. Part of what made the first half charming, I think.) The dialogue was, for the most part, generally too modern after the first hour.

The critical failure, though, is in the handling of the title creature, the mummy himself. He never evoked horror. His supporting minions did, once or twice, but he was just not making it happen. He was less threatening than, well… doofy – but in a somewhat dangerous sort of way. The actor also kept reminding me of… someone else. I can’t remember who. Someone soft and pudgy that would never, ever play a villian – particularly a supposedly major-league villian – like the mummy, except perhaps in a parody. So bad casting there, made worse by coincidence of memory. I have an assortment of garden-variety plot problems too, but I won’t mention them here because 1) hello, Universal Pictures Monster Horror Flick, Duh, and 2) spoilers. I’ll simply say that the mummy/heroine interaction was handled inconsistently enough that, even in a movie of the sort, it kept bothering me. It felt like the screenwriters were of differing minds about how it should be done (“it took three people to write this?”), and compromised – badly.

So why did I enjoy myself? Hm. Well, it’s pretty. In fact, it’s very pretty. In the second half, a couple of the people get very pretty too, which doesn’t hurt anything either. (No, not the mummy, you freaks. I mean, ew.) It’s not dull. It moves briskly along the whole way; while you may know what’s coming, it doesn’t waste film getting you there, so you don’t have much time to get impatient with it. It has a reasonable number of funny lines with a good works/clunks ratio. And it’s not too shy about killing people along the way, and having the intelligence to do it in occasionally very-old-fashioned off-screen/out-of-view ways. (Really, given the body count, I’m stunned at how little gore flew in this movie.) Further, I quite liked the heroine and her twit brother, and the hero wasn’t so bad either. So I guess I was wrong up top; I would recommend it, as long as you’re prepared for what you’re going to see, don’t expect too much, and go to the matinee showing on a Saturday. Which is really when it wants to be seen.