'The Mummy' Review: First of 'Dark Universe' Reboots Is a Monster Fail

Tom Cruise, Sofia Boutella and a gajillion CGI effects can't save this epic monster mess from unraveling

'The Mummy' may be the first 'Dark Universe' reboot, but it's the last movie you want to see this summer. Peter Travers' on one monster of a fail. Credit: Universal Pictures

How meh is The Mummy? Let me count the ways. For all the huffing and puffing and digital desperation from overworked computers, this reboot lands onscreen with a resounding thud. Tom Cruise should have played the Mummy – that way his face would be swathed in bandages and his fans wouldn't have to see him sweat so hard to get this lumbering loser off the ground.

In a gender flip, the title role originated by Boris Karloff in 1932 is played by Algerian actress Sofia Boutella (Kingsman: The Secret Service). She's Ahmanet, an evil Egyptian princess who killed her daddy a few millennia back – she wanted to be pharaoh instead of her baby brother, see – and for her trouble got buried alive for several millennia in Mesopotamia, currently known as Iraq. Cruise takes the role of Nick Morton, a hustler in antiquities who unearths the tomb of this "3000-year-old prune," a hellion who wants to use our hero's body to house Set, the god of the dead.

Still with me? Director Alex Kurtzman – who, as a screenwriter, has tackled everything from Alias episodes to a Transformers movie – can't seem to make sense of a script by numerous writers clearly unashamed of hack work. Nick, his blond British squeeze Jenny Halsey (Peaky Blinders' Annabelle Wallis) and his wisecracking best-friend-forever Chris Vail (New Girl's Jake Johnson) all end up in modern-day London fighting Ahmanet and her ghouls. How do you win a fight against the undead? My point exactly.

Meanwhile, Russell Crowe, looking winded and all-too-aware of the schlock he's selling, shows up as mean Dr. Jekyll and his even meaner alter ego Mr. Hyde. No reason, except to set the stage for Universal's coming Dark Universe series of which The Mummy is the first installment. You heard us right. They are already prepping revamps of Jekyll & Hyde, The Invisible Man with Johnny Depp and Bride of Frankenstein, starring Javier Bardem as the monster. This anticipation killer is not going to help. It's a monster fail.