RATING: 2 out of 5
Before anything else, let me preface this review by saying that I am a Tom Cruise fan. Not a fan in the sense na may mga posters ako ni Tom Cruise sa kwarto ko na may mga drawing na “heart heart” but a fan only in the general sense that I enjoy almost anything that he’s in. A brief look into his IMDB page will show that Tom Cruise hasn’t had a major flop in the last 30 years of being an A-list celebrity and that’s very impressive. Brad Pitt has had flops, Will Smith has had flops, Johnny Depp has had MAAANY flops, but Tom just keeps on chugging on.
His latest movie is Universal’s “The Mummy” which intends to launch the “Dark Universe”, the studio’s answer to the Marvel and DC movies that have been earning far more than some third world countries do in a year. (Ayaw mo maniwala? Collectively, mas malaki pa ang kinita ng buong MCU at $4.5 billion kesa sa GDP ng mga bansang tulad ng Sierra Leone at Bhutan. Tindi diba?) So basically, isipin mo Avengers or Justice League but this time with monsters such Dr. Jekyll, Frankenstein, Invisible Man, Dracula, and all those scary figures from legend. Needless to say, a lot is riding on the critical and box-office success of “The Mummy”. That’s why it’s such a pity that “The Mummy” isn’t as good as it could have been.
“The Mummy” tells the story of how a roguish soldier Nick Morton (Tom Cruise) and archaelogist Jenny Halsey (Annabelle Wallis) discover the mummy (surprise surprise!) of an ancient Egyptian princess by the name of Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella). Siyempre hindi siya magiging nakakatakot na mummy kung mabait si Ahmanet diba? So obviously kupal tong si Ahmanet nung nabubuhay pa siya. We find out that Ahmanet made a pact with the Egyptian God of Death in exchange for power and in the process she kills the Pharaoh and her whole family. Needless to say, hindi siya papasang bagong Disney princess. And now that she’s out of her tomb, because some asshole freed her (gago tong si Tom Cruise e), she seeks to free the God of Death and raise hell on earth.
Whatever your opinion is on Tom Cruise the person, you have to admit that as an actor he’s one of the most likable the world has ever seen. But his character in “The Mummy” is probably the least likable character he’s ever played. And we’re talking about an actor who has played the role of a bald greaseball in “Tropic Thunder”. Nick Morton is like that friend of yours na lalandiin yung girlfriend mo pag di ka nakatingin tapos hindi maglalabas ng pera pag magbabayad na kayo kahit siya yung pinakamaraming nainom. Sarap sapakin nung ganun diba? In other words, he’s an asshole. While that in itself isn’t the problem, his character hardly works as an effective anti-hero because there’s too much going on in the movie that we don’t really get a chance to know who Nick Morton is.
In terms of his performance though, it can’t be said that Tom Cruise was bad. He still delivered like he always does but he’s not really given much to work with. Para siyang si LeBron James pag kalaban ang Golden State Warriors sa Finals: he’s still great but there’s only so much the man can do. But to his credit, hindi ko alam kung bampira si Tom Cruise pero parang hindi ako magugulat kung malaman kong oo. The guy just doesn’t seem to have aged all that much! Tingnan ko lang yung picture ko from last year kita ko agad na nagbago na itsura ko e, samantalang si Tom Cruise parang limang taon nang hindi tumatanda!
Sofia Boutella performance as “The Mummy” was commendable but the movie’s version of the mummy in its final form is hardly scary. In fact, I think that was a missed opportunity for “The Mummy” because it felt so much like a superhero origin story that it couldn’t capitalize on the novelty of its monsters. Yung mga “henchman” ni Ahmanet ay yung mga lalaki na hinigop niya yung buhay by kissing them and they behave the same way zombies in “The Walking Dead” do. Only this time, hindi naman sila nangangagat. So bakit tayo matatakot sa kanila? Para lang silang yung mga nakakasiksikan mo sa Divisoria pag nag-shoshopping ng mumurahing regalo kapag Pasko.
The movie works best when it tries to be scary but sadly those moments are few and far in-between. Instead it focuses on establishing the “monster universe” by introducing too many things at once. The idea of Dr. Jekyll (Russell Crowe) as the guy who operates an underground organization that deals with the supernatural is a nice setup for the future movies, but it distracts too much from the story of “The Mummy”. And the movie sometimes doesn’t make that much sense. For instance, when the military plane that was carrying the mummy crash lands in the middle of the English countryside, nobody investigates save for a couple of guys. When these guys go missing, they send out a couple more guys. E kung sa Pilipinas nangyari yan andyan na agad si Doris Bigornia tsaka si PNP Chief Bato na naka-full battle gear e!
That being said, the “Dark Universe” seems to have gotten off to a pretty shaky start. But even if it isn’t well loved by critics as its 23% rating on Rotten Tomatoes would suggest, I think we’ve learned from the recent success of a movie like Wonder Woman that all it takes is a solid entry to get the franchise back on the right track. So hopefully the next couple of entries (“Bride of Frankenstein” is slated to be released on February 2019), can improve on the areas where “The Mummy” failed. Not unless the movie fails at the box-office and breaks Tom Cruise’s 30-year record. Unlikely, but you never know. Nevertheless, his poster in my room stays up.
All photos courtesy of UNITED INTERNATIONAL PICTURES
The Mummy is now showing in cinemas nationwide.