★★ – “Sofia Boutella stands out in the unfortunate first entry to the Dark Universe.”

The Mummy is directed by Alex Kurtzman and stars Tom Cruise, Russell Crowe, Annabelle Wallis, Sofia Boutella, Jake Johnson and Courtney B. Vance.

An ancient princess is awakened from her crypt beneath the desert, bringing with her malevolence grown over millennia, and terrors that defy human comprehension. (15 cert; 110 mins)

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When a studio such as Universal plans to kick-off a new Dark Universe, revisiting the classic monsters and gods, you’d expect the introduction to be a powerful and intense experience. With Alex Kurtzman’s The Mummy, all we’re given is the foundation for future instalments. It’s unfortunate to say that; although featuring some great talent and awesome effects, this film is rather boring.

Firstly, Sofia Boutella owns this role. She is Ahmanet. With previous work she has proven to be a great talent, grasping each character and delivering the very best. Her most predominant role – Jaylah in last year’s Star Trek Beyond – was one of my favourite film characters from 2016. Here, she is criminally underused. That said, every scene she features in is improved tenfold.

Tom Cruise plays Nick Morton; a private contractor who was resurrected by Ahmanet after dying in a plane crash. He performs well, providing brilliant stunt work in top-notch action sequences. However, some of his scenes feel mildly inappropriate and the comedic one-liners become tiresome and outright distracting. Annabelle Wallis presents a suitably average act as Jenny, who is essentially a love-interest for Nick. It’s interesting that I left the cinema having only rooted for the villain. None of the characters are as exciting as Boutella’s Ahmanet.

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The make-up department have done some excellent work here; Boutella looks stunning yet fierce as the Mummy. She adapts to the costume and truly becomes the character, and it’s clear throughout her performance. All of the sets and locations are fitting enough and although filled with corpses, they’re visually full of life.

Director Alex Kurtzman fails to engross viewers, mainly due to a poor screenplay and uneventful story. Nothing feels emotionally weighted, there’s very little to care for when watching this film. The final act is the greatest moment, but inadequately executed. It ultimately becomes the set-up for future instalments in the Dark Universe and nothing more, which is a shame.

Brian Tyler delves into the world of The Mummy by writing over 2 hours of haunting original music – some of which doesn’t make it into the film – but it’s all very intense. The main theme that plays over the discovery of Ahmanet is beautiful, but there’s a darkness lurking underneath that evolves as the film progresses. I recommend buying the full soundtrack and listening through every piece, it’s a brilliant score. Brian deserved a better film, but at least his art was something to take away from it.

Verdict; Kurtzman’s The Mummy is a disappointing start to Universal’s Dark Universe, and though Boutella’s intricate performance and Tyler’s textured score are both wonderful, it’s not enough to keep the film’s corpse from rotting.

The Mummy★★ (4/10)

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