A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Mummy is a monster movie reboot starting Tom Cruise. It has very little to do with either the 1932 Boris Karloff version or the 1999 Brendan Fraser take on the story. Rather, it's the first in Universal's new "Dark Universe" series, which is planned to be an interconnected franchise much like the DC and Marvel superhero movies. Expect fairly strong, very loud fantasy/action violence, with some blood spatters, guns and shooting, stabbings, fighting and punching, crashes and explosions, jump scares, zombies, and a lab full of gross things. There are several mildly suggestive sexual references, too, including partly naked and/or obscured male and female bodies, kissing, a couple shown in bed together, and sensuality. Language is infrequent but includes "a--hole" and "son of a bitch," as well as "hell" and "damn." The main character, who's presented as a hard drinker, quickly downs several glasses of liquor in more than one scene, with no effect. This film marks the first Universal Mummy movie to have the central monster played by a woman.
What's the story?
In THE MUMMY, Nick Morton (Tom Cruise) and Chris Vail (Jake Johnson) are military recon men who use their positions to hunt treasure in the Middle East and sell it on the black market. During one explosive mission, they discover an Egyptian tomb with a most unusual sarcophagus inside, heavily protected by a pool of mercury. Archeologist Jenny Halsey (Annabelle Wallis) and the two men liberate it. But a sandstorm arises, and a flock of birds smashes into their plane. Nick wakes up, miraculously alive but now cursed. He's now the "chosen one" of the mummy, a banished princess called Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella). She's bent on obtaining a special knife and gemstone to carry out a terrifying ritual, at the possible cost of Nick's life. Only Dr. Henry Jekyll (Russell Crowe) can help!
Is it any good?
The first entry in Universal's Dark Universe monster series gets things off to a so-so start; it tries to be a crowd-pleaser, but it seems its makers never decided exactly what kind of movie it is. Like the 1999 movie of the same name, The Mummy is an action movie above all. It casts Nick as a lovable scoundrel, and it makes many attempts at snappy humor between him and the other characters. There's also at least one clever fight scene. But aside from a couple of simple jump-scares and references to other monsters, it's not really a horror movie or a monster movie (it doesn't really care about the monster), and it probably won't warrant repeat viewings at Halloween time.
Director Alex Kurtzman has worked as a screenwriter on plenty of big, loud action movies (including two Transformers entries), but he's only helmed one other movie, the sentimental drama People Like Us. Though the FX department on The Mummy provided him with great-looking sandstorms, spiders, rats, undead soldiers, and other nifty things, he can't seem to balance the humor with the action or the action with the monsters. Some of it is confusing, dull, or both. Much of it is entertaining in separate chunks, but they don't add up to very much.
Talk to your kids about ...
Is the movie scary? What's the appeal of scary movies/monster movies?
Did you think about the fact that this was the first time the mummy has been played by a woman? What impact does that have on the story? The character?
Is the main character likable even though he's a thief? Why or why not? How do movies and TV shows make scoundrels sympathetic?
- In theaters: June 9, 2017
- On DVD or streaming: September 12, 2017
- Cast: Tom Cruise, Russell Crowe, Annabelle Wallis, Sofia Boutella
- Director: Alex Kurtzman
- Studio: Universal Pictures
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- Run time: 107 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: violence, action and scary images, and for some suggestive content and partial nudity
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