Movie Review – The Mummy

The Mummy

The Mummy

Starring: Tom Cruise, Russell Crowe, Annabelle Wallis, Sofia Boutella, Jake Johnson, Courtney B. Vance, Marwan Kenzari, Simon Atherton, and more.

Directed by: Alex Kurtzman Screenplay by: David Koepp, Christopher McQuarrie, and Dylan Kussman Screen Story by: Jon Spaihts, Alex Kurtzman, and Jenny Lumet Cinematography by: Ben Seresin Music by: Brian Tyler

Premise: A relic hunter stumbles onto a hidden chamber in Iraq. Rushed for time, he inadvertently loosens an imprisoned force. A woman with a mission she’s been trying to complete for five thousand years. Nick is the one she’s decided will replace the receptacle for Set stolen from her so many years ago. No one better stand in her way. (Rated PG-13)

Review:

1) Acting – Total Thumbs Up: While we have some great acting powerhouses in this film, there is so much action,  little time is left for actual acting. Still, Tom Cruise does a nice job as Nick – relic hunter, thief, adventurer. Annabelle Wallis as Jenny got the biggest range to play with as she dealt with her feelings, her attractions, and her job. She did it well. Sofia Boutella made a nice sultry mummy. Jake Johnson was a ton of fun as Nick’s sidekick Chris Vail. Russell Crowe’s character was a rather big surprise once the two men meet and introductions are made. (He could still take some lessons from James Nesbitt’s superb performance of the same character though. 🙂 )

2) Special Effects – Total Thumbs Up: There was a ton to love about the special effects in this film. Watching the credits, they used a ton of different companies. They come up with some superb images.

Ahmanet’s prison and the other chambers attached to it were very cool! The Crusaders’ tomb when they first find it with the tunnel maker and other sections of the place were well done!

Several special effect parts used weird spiders, tons of rats, black birds and other crawling things. They looked great.

When Ahmanet first shows herself, and the transformation after her first feedings, were enthralling. The change on those she fed on also were fantastic. When she has them rise, and the bones and joints pop and snap – creepy!

Cool sand storms, walking and swimming dead, and all the cool bits using mercury. The look and feel of the base beneath London’s Natural  History Museum were great. The all important dagger was a wicked looking thing!

Lots and lots of lovely effects!

3) Plot/Story – Neutral: I go up and down on how I feel about the story. A big part of my issue with it is the presentation. While they didn’t give everything away in the previews, they gave away a lot. So there was little there to give a feeling of discovery or mystery in what was going on.

They also didn’t do themselves any favors by having Henry tell us all about Ahmanet at the very beginning – especially when the information got repeated all over again later as Nick has visions of the past. They could have easily found the Crusaders’ tomb and the wall carvings and left it at that. Thus tantalizing the viewers to discover how the Crusaders and Ahmanet might be related. But no. We got spoonfed the information instead.

A couple of scenes, while cool, didn’t make a lot of sense. Ahmanet wants her new Chosen to willingly submit to the ritual. So, how was giving him nightmares of rats and monsters was supposed to do that? Other images made sense for that, but some others did not.

Also, Nick’s choice in the final room I saw coming ten minutes before he made it. DUH!

There’s tons of action, and they move at breakneck speeds. There’s even a quick wink/homage to Brendan Fraser’s “The Mummy” in the form of the Book of Life showing up at one point. But character development is pushed way back to the background.

4) Stunts – Total Thumbs Up: The whole ‘gag’ in the airplane was fantastic! I felt sorry for them all. lol. The fun chase scene in the Iraqi city with bullets and grenades being used all over the place kept the stunt people quite busy and looked great. Lots of good work from the team.

5) Locations/Cinematography – Total Thumbs Up: Tons of great and real places! Waverley Abbey in the UK, London, the Natural History Museum, the Namib Desert in the country of Namibia in Africa. These great locations added lots of visual flavor to the scenes.

6) Costuming/Makeup – Total Thumbs Up: CGI mixed with real makeup gave some great looks to Ahmanet, Henry, and Vail. The writing on Ahmanet’s skin alone was dazzling. When we see her close to filled out but still with gaps in various places on her face and body, it added so much! Some great contrast too between Nick and Vale in the restroom scene.

Conclusion: The Mummy is a wild ride. Great special effects and stunts. A surprise here and there. Yet a little less telling up front would have made the film more mysterious and thus more enticing to the viewers.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 (Hubby’s Rating: Worth Full Price to See Again.)

Movie Review – Jack Reacher: Never Look Back

Jack Reacher: Never Look Back

Starring: Tom Cruise, Cobie Smulders, Danika Yarosh, Aldis Hodge, Patrick Heusinger, Holt McCallany, Madalyn Horcher, Robert Catrini, and more.

Directed by: Edward Zwick Screenplay by: Richard Wenk, Edward Zwick, and Marshall Herskovitz Based on the novel by: Lee Child Cinematography by: Oliver Wood Music by: Henry Jackman

Premise: Jack starts having phone conversations with Major Turner after a successful sting. He invites her to dinner and makes his way to D.C. to meet her face to face. When he gets there, however, he finds out she’s been removed from her post. She’s been placed in jail while waiting to be tried for treason. Something about this doesn’t seem right. Reacher becomes sure of it when he finds himself being tailed. (Rated PG-13)

Review:

1) Acting – Total Thumbs Up: Tom Cruise reprises his role as the loner, ex-military man, Jack Reacher. As always, he’s a lot of fun to watch. Love all his little telltale expressions. Getting caught between Turner and Samantha made for a lot of amusing scenes. Cobie Smulders as Turner had some nice back and forth chemistry with Tom. Both characters are quite set in their ways and are a bit like mixing oil and water. Making the mix even more chaotic is Danika Yarosh who plays Samantha. Her character reflects facets of both of the two as they all go on the run.

2) Special Effects – Total Thumbs Up: This is an action film, so bullets and explosions are pretty much a must. Great job by the special effects team on all of them. Especially memorable was the scene at the warf. A ton of lead flying everywhere!

3) Plot/Story – Thumbs Up: I’ve not read the Jack Reacher book the film is based on, so apologies for not being able to give any opinions between the two. I have read one of the other books and enjoyed it quite a bit! Just need to find time to read more. 🙂

For once the previews did not reveal all! There’s an added and unexpected element thrown into the plot they didn’t give away. This added a different dynamic which for ends up prodding Reacher out of his comfort zone. While this particular complication is not new in the plot world, it made for a nice surprise. Especially since sneakily kept it out of the previews. Yay!

Action films do tend to let a few things slide so things will work out how they want. So there are a couple of bits. Sticky details like stewardesses and airport security. But they blank them out in such a way you don’t realize it for the most part.

The pace is fast and slows down very little throughout.

Samantha is super street savvy yet also conveniently clueless. But it’s so much fun watching Jack having to deal with the unexpected situation that it’s easy to ignore the convenient manipulation.

4) Stunts – Total Thumbs Up: The film has lots of lovely hand to hand fights and on foot chase scenes. Major kudos for the kitchen fight scene. The rooftop chase/fight was painful and awesome!

5) Locations/Cinematography – Total Thumbs Up: Lots of nice cinematography. Loved the wide overhead shots of Turner and Reacher running in several scenes. New Orleans was a great venue for the last section of the film. Especially with the Halloween parade and fireworks. The closeup shots, especially during the last scenes, made them even more poignant.

Conclusion: Jack Reacher: Never Go Back is a fun ride. Full of mayhem and chaos, we get a lot of action scenes and close combat. Watching Jack squirm emotionally though? Priceless. 🙂

Rating: 3.75 out of 5 (Hubby’s Rating: Worth Full Price to See Again)