When the ancient, soul-sucking mummy of Princess Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella) is freed from her tomb in Iraq and unleashed in present-day England, the only people that stand in her way are treasure-hunting US soldier Nick Morton (Tom Cruise) and archaeologist Jennifer Halsey (Annabelle Wallis). But Ahmanet has her own plan for Nick, one that could release an even greater evil on the world…
The past couple of decades have seen Universal try again and again to revitalise its lineup of classic monsters for modern cinemagoers. Which is why this latest reboot of The Mummy is positioned as the first instalment in the 'Dark Universe', the studio's attempt at creating a shared cinematic world for its monsters to inhabit (the likes of Bride of Frankenstein, Creature from the Black Lagoon, Invisible Man and Van Helsing are all apparently waiting in the wings in various states of development).
However, there's a rather obvious flaw in Universal's grand plan – this latest version of The Mummy isn't very good.
While Sophia Boutella makes for a striking villain, she doesn't get all that much to do in a film that is far more concerned with giving Tom Cruise plenty of Mission: Impossible-style action beats, and laying the groundwork for its shared universe concept via the introduction of Henry Jekyll (Russell Crowe) and his top-secret monster hunting organisation Prodigium. The film is also hamstrung by a tonal imbalance that shifts uneasily from creepy horror to goofball action-adventure (which does not suit Cruise at all).
It all equates to a muddled blockbuster that seems to have no reason to exist beyond setting up further films. Those future flicks are going to have to be a lot better than this if Universal's Dark Universe isn't going to collapse.
Picture: Shot primarily on 35mm film, The Mummy's Full HD 2.40:1 transfer has an organic appearance that balances a light grained texture with meticulous levels of picture detail. Saturated colours abound, blacks are thrillingly inky and there are no technical imperfections to be seen. Excellent.
Picture rating: 5/5
Audio: The Dolby Atmos mix does just what you'd expect from a modern blockbuster. Directionality is pervasive, bass is powerful and big set-pieces like the air strike (Chapter 2), plane crash (Chapter 6) and sandstorm (Chapter 14) make strong use of the height channels to send information whizzing above your head.
Audio rating: 5/5
Extras: Cast members Boutella, Wallis and Jake Johnson join director Alex Kurtzman for a commentary on the film itself, while Tom Cruise sits down with the director for a surprisingly in-depth 20-minute chat. Also included are seven Making of… featurettes, four deleted scenes and an animated short.
Extras rating: 3.5/5
We say: Universal has put together an impressive hi-def package for this messy monster movie reboot.
The Mummy (2017), Universal Pictures, All-region BD, £25
HCC VERDICT: 3/5
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