Edinburgh Cinema

Edinburgh’s cinemas have their own, different feel. When I visit them, I’ll be writing about both the film and the place, giving you the organic experience. Film critics on the big scale can’t really cater for this, so I hope my reviews bring something extra in this respect.

The Mummy


The Mummy 19.06.17

I can't say I wasn't warned. The reviews had been middling to terrible, not least Mark Kermode's, of The Mummy being made up of lots of bits of other movies that made you wish you were watching those instead.

I will be honest from the start, I'm going to include spoilers to this review with the justification that The Mummy is such a limp, lifeless lettuce of a movie – imagine, in fact, a limp, lifeless lettuce with Tom Cruise and a Mummy drawn onto it with a biro – that I really advise you, my reader, to save your money for something else.

And I desperately wanted to enjoy this film. I liked the Mummy trilogy starring Brendan Fraser, John Hannah and Rachel Weisz, thinking their adventures were cute and fun. I also loved the underrated Gothic adventure Van Helsing (2004), a monster mash-up that this new action-horror evidently tries to emulate.

But why does The Mummy fail so badly?

Partly, because it doesn't make sense. And I say this as someone who loves the Underworld franchise, in which vampires and werewolves battle against both each other as well as the sometimes dodgy story-telling. But what Underworld has in its favour is a dreamlike otherworld of night time shadows when the ordinary world is asleep, and where plot holes can be forgiven within the dream-like landscapes. The Mummy, on the other hand, sees its monster emerge in broad daylight, wreaking on London the kind of destruction that reminds you of ISIS-inspired terrorism and Grenfell Tower manslaughter. Call it bad timing, but as you watch the Londoners running in panic down day-lit streets in this movie, you can't help thinking: for this level of danger and death involved with fighting such creatures as the Mummy, wouldn't the powers-that-be have been more security-conscious, not least with their special anti-monster agency?

Speaking of which, the subplot/plot-hole that made least sense in this film, Russell Crowe's special chief-in-search-of-monsters, whom it turns out, is none other than Dr Jekyll/Mr Hyde, a fact his employers know about, but appear have turned a blind eye to, recruiting him to this hugely important and sensitive position nonetheless. For initially, we see Crowe's character as a debonair MI5 type, a spymaster and master of puppets, leading a special team with government orders into a forgotten crypt. Yet later, on discovery of his true identity, we see him wrestling with Tom Cruise's protagonist in an office with the windows and doors suddenly bolted shut to stop Mr Hyde from escaping, clearly a regular occurrence for those moments when his injections fail. It was at this point that my mind began to turn to how Crowe's Jekyll/Hyde got his job:

HR: Do we give it to Samantha with her double first at Cambridge and thirty years of highly decorated experience in the field, or do we give it to this nineteenth-century psychopath who keeps having to inject himself with some kind of dubiously effective antidote to stop him from turning into a murderous maniac?

So, they've put Dr Jekyll/Mr Hyde in charge of a 21st century intelligence agency trying to keep Britain safe.

This is simply the most ridiculous revelation of a film where nothing really comes together. Tom Cruise tries to riff on the theme of scoundrel-with-heroic-potential that worked well in the sci-fi Edge of Tomorrow but simply doesn't come off here. At the end, some kind of self-sacrifice happens which I simply didn't get. He is now doomed to a world of shadows. Except we then see him in Egypt on horseback with his dead friend. Is his friend resurrected? Or is Tom Cruise kind-of undead now? Why are they in Egypt? And on horseback? And where are they riding to? Wasn't Tom in London just a minute ago?

With these thoughts, as the film ended, my mind finally screamed: no, no, no! Didn't Tom, at any stage in the pre-film reading, ask about this confusing ending? Didn't Russell Crowe at some point query how the authorities know he's Jekyll/Hyde but they've put him in charge of a sensitive agency to stop monsters from destroying London and possibly the world? And didn't the fabulously beautiful but underused actress playing the Mummy, Sofia Boutella, complain about why she needed Tom Cruise's character to implement the final spell? Why not any other athletic, handsome guy, like some of the police officers she kills?

There are, in fact, so many things at the heart of this film that don't make sense, or don't gel together. I wanted escapism, a fabulous other world. Instead of a shadowy, gothic Mummy, what I got instead was the worst kind of Frankenstein's monster of a film, of things stuck together by several people, without any coherence, one that upon its moment of coming alive, fell apart at the seams.
Berlin Syndrome


No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment
Monday, 08 March 2021

Captcha Image

What's On This Week

My Latest Posts

December 22, 2020

Lacanian Icarus: when Gina flew too close to the sun?

On the recent experience of nearly being no-platformed There are two identities in one when it comes to being part of a disempowered minority. The first is for yourself: all your failings, your insecurities, your doubts, and connected to this, your curiosity and quirks. Let's be Lacanian analysts for a moment: what we're talking about is the transg...
November 17, 2020

If I were to detransition, this is what I would write

Warning: this is a speculative piece of writing, not an official announcement, although I have recently begun to imagine an 'ideological' detransition (from trans woman to GNC male). Here, I'm trying to articulate and reflect on my thoughts and feelings, and imagining myself from a different perspective. In this post, I'm Gina v...
November 17, 2020

Trans Hell-thcare

The picture accompanying this post is important to me. I took it yesterday, 16 November 2020, unsure what I'd find. It's been nearly eleven months since I came off oestrogen for reasons I'll get into in a moment. Undoubtedly this has had an effect on me, bodily and therefore psychologically, but the accompanying selfie gives me a reassura...
October 17, 2020

What if gender-critical feminism came to power?

This scenario is inspired by a dialogue I had yesterday evening with a gender-critical feminist just before I went to bed. Here is what I dreamed: In the summer of 2021, the Conservative minister Liz Truss introduces legislation, making women-only spaces legally accessible only to those born female. This U.K. law includes a provision for funding al...
October 13, 2020

Responses to my blog post (1)

A frustrating aspect of my website is that when people write in, there's no trace of an email address so no way of getting back to people, and also no way of publishing their messages. However, I received such a nice response to my article just now that I'd like to include it here. It's from some who for the sake of confidentiality (in case it's ne...
October 11, 2020

On adopting a more gender-critical transgender activism

On adopting a more gender-critical transgender activism Note to the reader: This post is intended as a contribution to addressing the current tensions between transgender activism and gender-critical feminism. The way I see myself in relation to female i dentity, and the ideas I express here, are not a prescription for other trans women. The t...
May 11, 2020

The Book of Queer Prophets, curated by Ruth Hunt

in Books

  The Book of Queer Prophets: 24 Writers on Sexuality and Religion The historically fraught relationship between Abrahamic religions and LGBT+ identities provides the backdrop to The Book of Queer Prophets , a collection of twenty-four meditations by public figures who identify as both religious and LGBT+. The book's curator, the for...
May 09, 2020

Queer/Transgender short film: Mesmeralda

Joshua Matteo's short film, Mesmeralda , merging horror with esoterica, is now out on youtube . As with his previous work Metanoia , we see youthful trans actors racing through the empty streets of a moonlit New York, haunted by symbols and stalked by a masked figure of violent intentions. Mesmeralda , as described by Matteo, is the companion ...
March 08, 2020

Sterile like the moon: the joys of transgender healthcare

Sterile like the moon: the joys of transgender healthcare Summer, 2016: Gina's Big Bang, as transitioning begins A bureaucratic question in a sun-lit room. My medical practitioner asks me if I intend to have children. The question lingers, but the self-loathing is instant. No, I won't be having children. The practitioner nods. She moves on to the n...