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Movie Review: ‘The Mummy’ Shuffles and Stumbles with Monsters and Adventure

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The Mummy 2017 Movie Review MovieSpoon.com

[dropcap]U[/dropcap]niversal makes it very clear in their new CGI opening that The Mummy is the first picture in the Dark Universe, a franchise that will showcase all their classic movie monsters for the 21st century. Their first entry is perhaps the trickiest. How do you sell a mummy as a terrifying monster? Even when overlooking the cartoonish mutations of a bandaged corpse limping with its arms outstretched, it still seems like a rather bland villain. But in a Tom Cruise action movie by Alex Kurtzman, the monster will have to be more physical when dealing with a hero that can sprint long distances and survive the most dangerous of stunts. Lurking in the shadows is so 1930s.

The Mummy 2017 Movie Review MovieSpoon.com

Tom Cruise and Annabelle Wallis star in the new Mummy remake.

The titular monster this time is the female Princess Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella), a once beautiful woman of ancient Egypt that made a deal with the god Set to attain more power. She was well on her way with a few blood sacrifices, but was stopped at the most crucial moment by guards and buried alive in a sarcophagus. Present day, her tomb is discovered, her restrictions released and she’s back on track for that old ultimate power. She’s more dirty now and thin as a corpse, but a little soul sucking of men will give her enough power to get back on her feet and make her nimble once more.

The discovery of Ahmanet is made by Nick, a dashing rogue played by Tom Cruise about as well as Tom Cruise is in any action role. He’s a soldier that specializes in swiping treasures from ancient relics to sell on the black market. He could just be a thief, but then there wouldn’t be much of an explanation as to why he’d be in Iraq, risking his life for treasure amid gun-toting terrorists.

The Mummy 2017 Movie Review MovieSpoon.com

The new mummy, played by Sofia Boutella.

Once he stumbles onto a tomb, he explores it with archeologist Jenny (Annabelle Wallis), a woman who has such a traditional love-hate relationship with our hero that she quickly greets him with a slap. Romantic chemistry afoot? Depends if you consider the constant talk about sexual inadequacy to be real character development.

It’s implied that Nick has a long history with Jenny, but Ahmanet instills a quick and artificial attraction towards him after he releases her from her tomb. In order to become more powerful and attain eternal life, I assume, she needs a cursed male to stab with a magical dagger. Nick happens to be that male and she goes straight on the offensive to make this him a part of her plan. There could be a strange love triangle going on here, but it never goes anywhere past a silly scene where a shirtless Nick being straddled by Ahmanet has to explain to Jenny this isn’t what it looks like. Is it really that embarrassing that a mummy is trying to stab you in the chest with a magical dagger? Surely he’s been caught doing far worse.

The Mummy 2017 Movie Review MovieSpoon.com

That’s definitely not normal.

Scenes like that are supposed to be funny, but come off as uneven quips in between the movie’s horror elements, never finding a proper balance of scares and adventure. Nick has a traveling companion that is the first victim of the mummy and continues to haunt Nick, but he pops up more for artificial humor, commenting that a chase is intense and that Nick has stumbled into a female restroom. The mummy should be scary, which she can be in moments where gunfire does nothing and her skills in martial arts are solid, but most of her abilities seem too easy to overcome. She gains power by sucking the souls out of men through their mouths. After the 10th death by kiss, wouldn’t it make sense to cover your mouth with something?

Every body she rips a soul from turns into an undead zombie, but the most brittle of zombies that can easily be turned to dust with a mere shove. And, yet, they’re still able to kill everyone besides Cruise who dispatches them with ease. At least her army makes for easy clean up, as in a scene where they voluntarily turn to dust to leave Ahmanet. I’m surprised a vacuum cleaner never came in handy for these scenes.

Read more for the rest of the movie review of The Mummy:

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“Captain Marvel” Retains Top Slot at the Box Office

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It’s no surprise that in its second weekend, the first Marvel Cinematic Universe of 2019 is still riding high. Captain Marvel, the latest in the MCU with Brie Larson starring as the lead, generated another $69 million over the weekend, placing its domestic total at $266 million. Tallying up the international box office, the film’s global total to date is $760 million. Despite the online controversy, the film is looking to be another strong box office smash for Disney and Marvel.

As for the premieres for the weekend, and there were plenty, they were all over the map. Just below Captain Marvel was the animated adventure Wonder Park, bringing in $16 million, another film with controversy when the director’s name was removed from the picture after sexual harassment charges. Five Feet Apart, the dying teen drama about a romance amid cystic fibrosis, only came in at #3 with a weekend gross of $13 million. And debuting the lowest in the top 10 for debuts was Captive State, a sci-fi dystopian tale, only making $3 million. The film debuted so low the little film No Manches Frida 2 was able to sneak about it at #6 with a gross of $3.8 million.

Drops were fairly low all around for the returning films, mostly because Captain Marvel was dominating the previous weekend. The only milestone worth noting is that The LEGO Movie 2, after six weeks at the box office, finally cracked $100 million. And the sun is now setting on Green Book’s post-Oscar run by coming in at #10 for the final weekend of its top 10 run over the past few weeks.

View the full top ten weekend box office results below:

Captain Marvel ($69,318,000)

Wonder Park ($16,000,000)

Five Feet Apart ($13,150,000)

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World ($9,345,000)

Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral ($8,085,000)

No Manches Frida 2 ($3,894,000)

Captive State ($3,163,000)

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part ($2,135,000)

Alita: Battle Angel ($1,900,000)

Green Book ($1,277,000)

Next weekend, Captain Marvel may very well have some competition when Jordan Peele’s new horror film Us hits over 3,600 theaters.

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“Dragon” Continues To Soar, “Funeral” Close Behind, “Green Book” Back

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With little competition for the weekend, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, the third in the animated fantasy saga, was able to secure the box office once more. In its second weekend, the animated epic made $30 million to push its domestic total to $97 million. So far the film has done about the same as the previous film and is on track to stay in the top 10 for a few more weeks in March.

Debuts this weekend were small with one big exception. Tyler Perry’s latest Madea film, A Madea Family Funeral, naturally made a relatively big splash with its dedicated audience. Starting at #2, the film made $27 million for its first weekend. No word on the budget yet but it’s most likely on a budget as most Tyler Perry productions are, so it’s safe to call this a success, especially for debuting with a box office so close to Dragon.

The rest of the premieres were not as strong at all. Greta, the new thriller starring Chloe Moretz, debuted all the way down at #8 with $4.5 million box office. To be fair, however, the film was in a constant battle for its spot as three other films also reported earnings around $4 million for the weekend. Of note, Green Book, fresh off winning the Academy Award for Best Picture one weekend ago, splashed back into more theaters to arise even higher in the top 10 with its domestic total now sitting at $73 million. Don’t count on it remaining there long as bigger blockbusters will be swooping as we plow through the last remnants of winter movies.

Check out the full listing of the top 10 box office weekend results below:

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World ($30,046,000)

Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral ($27,050,000)

Alita: Battle Angel ($7,000,000)

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part ($6,615,000)

Green Book ($4,711,000)

Fighting With My Family ($4,691,284)

Isn’t it Romantic ($4,645,000)

Greta ($4,585,000)

What Men Want ($2,700,000)

Happy Death Day 2U ($2,516,000)

Next weekend is once again all about Marvel as their latest superhero solo film, Captain Marvel, will be appearing in 4,100 theaters.

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Review: “Captain Marvel” is a Solidly Sensational Sci-Fi Adventure

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Captain Marvel joins the ranks of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in a much different way. She slides into the MCU via a twisty sci-fi adventure of the 1990s, before the Avengers were formed. And though the film does serve as a strong bridge picture that answers a few more questions about the Marvel universe, the film quickly becomes its own thing and gives its hero a real identity as the powerful addition to the superhero ensemble.

Brie Larson plays Carol Danvers, a woman not sure if she’s a human pilot of Earth or a soldier of the Kree empire’s Starforce. There’s little time to explore these conflicting visions she’s having when there’s special energy powers to control and a war being waged against the shape-shifting Skrull alien creatures. A detour to 1990s Earth gives her a bit of time to find out more while also hunting down some more Skrulls, leading to some interesting scenarios when combatting aliens that could look like old ladies.

Marvel Studios’ CAPTAIN MARVEL..Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) ..Photo: Film Frame..©Marvel Studios 2019

Carol’s landing on Earth leads to treading down familiar Marvel timeline territory as well as evoking plenty of dated 1990s bits. What started drawing me into the picture was how the film holds itself back from the obvious. The 1990s setting is used for some gags of video stores and Windows 95, sure, but never goes the extra mile of becoming an aggravating reference fest, keeping a certain vibe the way Guardians of the Galaxy embraced the 1970s and 1980s. And just like that film, there’s a nostalgic soundtrack to boot, with choice tracks for just the right cue.

Samuel L. Jackson pops up in the film as a younger Nick Fury with his two eyes still intact. He teams up with Carol in her intergalactic spy adventure and thankfully never goes to the booming lengths he was known for that decade. And the filmmakers could have easily made this younger Fury go full Die Hard 3 or Pulp Fiction but he never does, always keeping that cool persona he has been known for in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Marvel Studios’ CAPTAIN MARVEL..L to R: Att-Lass (Algenis Perez Soto), Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) and Minn-Erva (Gemma Chan)..Photo: Film Frame..©Marvel Studios 2019

But the one aspect that is never shunned and built up grandly is the aspect of female empowerment. Danvers is established as a woman who doesn’t have a clear identity or mindful nature of galactic politics and has to build herself up when she realizes she may be a very powerful pawn in a big game of intergalactic chess. Her memories are that of always being told to back off from non-traditional activities for girls and, sure enough, she rises up to become the smirking and energy-shooting hero when the final piece of her character puzzle is pieced together. It’s just unfortunate that the film spends so much time doing the building amid a twisty sci-fi spy story that Brie never gets a moment to shine as brightly as she could, despite a very enthusiastic third-act closer.

If we’re being blunt, no, Captain Marvel doesn’t quite have the same gravity to be a cultural milestone of a comic book movie. Where others have pointed to Black Panther as not the first the most insightful and cultural of black-led superhero movies, I doubt many will look towards Captain Marvel as the grandest of female-led comic book movies, making its motives known with the power and subtlety of a supernova. But, in terms of what the film is aiming towards, it doesn’t have to prove anything to anyone and that’s perhaps the point. I just wish that Captain Marvel’s astounding powers to destroy starships and aliens had a much bigger punch for a picture that wants to obliterate the glass ceiling and merely cuts a narrow hole within the MCU. It’s a nice hole, mind you, and still weaves a capable and compelling sci-fi adventure with a surprisingly more engaging finale than most Marvel solos.

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