“The Mummy is a terrible movie in a multitude of ways.”
Title: The Mummy
Director: Alex Kurtzman 👨🏼🇺🇸
Writers: Story by Jon Spaihts 👨🏼🇺🇸, Alex Kurtzman 👨🏼🇺🇸, and Jenny Lumet 👩🏽🇺🇸, and screenplay by David Koepp 👨🏼🇺🇸, Christopher McQuarrie 👨🏼🇺🇸, and Dylan Kussman 👨🏼🇺🇸
Reviewed by Li 👩🏻🇺🇸
The Mummy is a mess. It’s confused about its genre; it’s confused about what tone to strike; and it’s completely confused about why it exists, other than to establish a knockoff Marvel Cinematic Universe in the hopes of producing the next cash cow. The outcome of this picked-apart, corporate project? It’s BORING. The only reason to give it above a flatline score on technical merit is my continued love of Sofia Boutella (who plays Ahmanet, the mummy) despite her perpetually flat characters, as well as some cool visual effects.
Does it pass the Bechdel Test? NOPE
Prior to watching the film I’d hoped that Ahmanet would play a large role, considering how the film is named after her and plastered her across all its marketing materials. Unfortunately, she’s a “lead” in name only. Ahmanet is utterly contrived; she’s a sexy murderess who spends her backstory flashbacks writhing on her ancient Egyptian lover, while spending her afterlife in strategically-placed bandages. She also spends much of the film trussed up in bondage-type chains at the mercy of Nick Morton (Tom Cruise) and Dr. Jekyll (Russell Crowe) which, ew.
The other female character is almost purposefully retrograde. Jenny Halsey (Annabelle Wallis) is a forgettable blonde who stumbles into trope after trope—she’s an archaeologist but is effectively a long-suffering mother figure to the male lead; she literally needs to be saved by Morton in the third act; and of course, she has a prior sexual history with him, because why include a female character otherwise?
Not happy about the first death being a black guy, because seriously, Movie, learn your tropes. That said, a handful of non-white characters fill the supporting ranks, mainly of black or mixed-race white and Middle Eastern descent. This category also gets a bump by having Jenny Lumet as part of the writing team, who is biracial black and white. And of course, you can't ignore the film’s casting of Boutella in a major role—Boutella is biracial Algerian and French.
At the end of the day, however, the hero is a straight white male who gets paired with a white woman with a posh English accent as the romantic interest. Like the film itself, nothing about its approach to race is interesting or new.
Mediaversity Grade: F 1.67/5
The Mummy is a terrible movie in a multitude of ways, including dated views on women, people of color, and the continued erasure of LGBTQ or other marginalized groups from the silver screen.