Hi gang, I have returned from the depths of post-tonsillectomy suffering to bring you a probably (definitely) biased write up of the latest Mummy film! This cinema trip was my first real outing in two whole weeks thanks to electing to have my tonsils gouged out (by a professional, obviously) and boy was it a good one!
I love the Mummy franchise a LOT, except for maybe that weird dragon one they did to complete the ‘trilogy’ even though we all know Scorpion King is the real starting point, and I can remember the exact moment in my life when I got absorbed into this world of dark Egyptian magic and Brendan Fraser’s quippy one liners. I was eleven or twelve years old and visiting my cousins in Manchester, cousins who REALLY wanted to go and see this movie called The Scorpion King. The title alone made me a bit wary, as did the knowledge that it was a prequel to The Mummy which I had not yet seen because it looked far too terrifying.
This may be difficult to believe (not), but I was not a brave child. I never liked scary films or zombies or anything that would cause me to jump and shriek and subsequently over-analyse for hours afterwards. My imagination was far too active to be allowed access to so many things that would fuel its irrational conjuring of ghouls in the corners of rooms. I was convinced that The Scorpion King, being about mummies and all that, was going to freak the shit out of me and I entered the cinema screen with no small amount of trepidation and may or may not have been desperate to cling on to someone’s hand.
Fast forward an hour and a half later and I was a convert. Thinking back on it, this was probably also the start of my budding love for Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson but that’s a can of worms for another time.
Since then, I’ve watched all of the films dozens of times each and have a special place in my heart reserved for Rick O’Connell, so when good ol’ Tom Cruise appeared on the scene to take over the main role in a new movie, I was equal parts skeptical and intrigued. To put your minds at ease if you know nothing about the new one, it is not a reboot. Every character is new, the mummies are new, the special effects are quite a bit better, and overall the story is pretty original as much as it can be in the ‘mummy rises from the dead to wreak havoc’ genre.
It starts, of course, with the accidental uncovering of a sarcophagus and subsequent freeing of a very homicidal mummy but the magic we encounter this time around is a lot darker and much more mystical than in the original two. This lost princess of Egypt is Bad News, having aligned herself with Set the God of death to seize power over her kingdom, and she picks our friend Tom, aka Nick Morton, as her ‘Chosen’ – meaning that he is in a whole heap of trouble along with Grace Shelby from Peaky Blinders. I mean: renowned archaeologist Jenny Halsey played by Annabelle Wallis.
Aside from the usual ‘track down the artefact that is giving power to the bad guy/gal and destroy it’ storyline, this movie explores a lot more of the supernatural than I expected, which I am a sucker for. Enter Russell Crowe as the slightly mad doctor and expert on all things ‘evil’ to explain that “evil is a pathogen, and there could be a cure”, by which he means things and creatures are definitely in existence in this universe. I was also clued into this by the array of weird skulls he had on display in glass cases in his office. #supersleuth
What I will say, though, is that this film could probably be classed as more of a horror film than the previous Mummies – aside from the hint of Dark Universe creatures in crazy doc’s offfice, the various mummies and undead themselves are kinda gruesome and I’m not embarrassed to admit that there was more than one occasion where I hid inside my jumper. Picture them walking on broken limbs like a distorted spider, twitchy movements reminiscent of the Exorcist and lots of deadly silent build up for a big shock of someone/thing appearing behind you.
If you’re looking for a bit of fun and something that doesn’t require huge amounts of concentration, then I vote you give this a go. And if no one will see it with you, I will go again – but popcorn is on you.