Straight From a Movie

Pensive Thoughts on Paper | Movie Reviews and Quotes Website

Tag: russell crowe

The Mummy Movie Review (2017) | Dark Universe’s First is a Misfire

Dark Universe’s The Mummy movie is Universal’s epic fail. For most parts, it is scrounging for a plot, galloping forward with an out of focus story, at the same time trying to delve into an impending universe. It doesn’t retain the magic the original Mummy had. Neither does it have the power to sustain on its own, nor does it carry any chemistry to even let you feel anything for its characters. With this unpredictable tumble, the fate of the rest of the movies lined up for production has suddenly become uncertain.

While everyone is busy trying to get on the bandwagon of Universes following Marvel‘s footsteps, why would Universal be left behind? And so they decided to revive that old ghastly universe with characters like Dracula, Frankenstein, Invisible Man, Jekyll-Hyde, Wolfman and every other literary character that were better off being a fantastical story than being spoiled with a cheap shot at motion picture.

They bagged good actors, nay great ones, and things seemed to be going fine for them, with their website and everything, except they didn’t think the story through. How do you introduce characters into the universe? They didn’t make DC’s mistake of shoehorning every character into just one movie. And yet they failed big time. So what really went wrong?

Plot of The Mummy Movie

It wouldn’t be wrong to take a dig at their storytelling style and focus. Because it really sucked. To kickstart the events of The Mummy movie we are shown some Templars trying to hide a large ruby in a tomb of one of their own. The same knight’s tomb is discovered in the present day by a mysterious figure, who supersedes every authority.

Then a flashback starts showing us glimpses from the past about a princess named Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella). She was going to be the ruler when she was stripped of her birthright because his father’s second wife gave birth to a son. She makes a deal with the devil allowing the Egyptian God Set to enter into a special dagger. Ahmanet goes rogue on her family slaying them all and tries to bring Set to life by sacrificing her lover. But she gets caught and is mummified for eternity inside a sarcophagus.

Depicting the events of the present world again, we have Tom Cruise cruising down alongside Jake Johnson in their Nick Morton and Chris Vail avatars trying to fight off insurgents in Iraq. I was really looking forward to that bit, but it was as terse as it was in the trailers. I thought they were going to show how they ended up being sitting ducks, but the director Alex Kurtzman had other plans. (Was he running out of time already?)

Ahmanet’s Ruin

In comes archaeologist Jenny Halsey (Annabelle Wallis) who makes an entry planting a slap on Nick’s face. They clearly had a past. I wanted to see that too, but Alex skipped ahead. They come to discover a tomb (just the three of them) and Nick, the smartass he was, decides to shoot the ropes that seemed to be clearly keeping something down. Ahmanet’s coffin surfaces, and suddenly Nick becomes the chosen one. He begins to see visions thereafter.

Tom Cruise as Nick in The Mummy Movie

Colonel Greenway (Courtney B. Vance) and his crew take the sarcophagus up on a plane where Vail starts behaving strangely. He was infected by a spider in the tomb and ends up killing Greenway and attacking others. Nick shoots him down. But their plane gets attacked by countless crows as they crash. However, before dying Nick saves Jenny by giving her a parachute in the ‘nick’ of time.

Nick wakes up in the morgue. (Whaaaaaaaaaaaat?) I think we saw that part in the trailers too so digesting that wasn’t that hard. But he could now see Vail’s ghost too who is talking to him with his intact sense of humour. Vail tells him about Ahmanet’s intention to use Nick as a body vessel to let Set free into him.

Unleashing Chaos

At the crash site, Ahmanet is now back in her mummy form busy sucking life out of rescue workers to regain her strength. With her powers, she coaxes Nick into seeing him in a church, where the dagger is. But the dagger wouldn’t work without the red ruby atop. While trying to attack Nick andJenny, Ahmanet is interposed and subdued by a group of soldiers who take her down to a secret place. We find about Dr. Henry Jekyll (Russell Crowe) then the mysterious man we had seen earlier, who claims to be the leader of Prodigium a secret society aimed at keeping supernatural threats in check. Jekyll reveals his intent of letting Ahmanet possess Nick so as to let Set out. He wanted to kill him then so as to rid the world of evil.

As Ahmanet overpowers a technician to escape, Jekyll ends up becoming Hyde (I was really looking forward to him turning into a monster but I was really disappointed to see him stay the same size) and attacks Nick. Nick subjugates Hyde with the serum he used to use to control himself from becoming his alter ego. Ahmanet escapes breaking all hell loose on the city. She manages to grab hold of the ruby too by summoning her army of mummies. With that, she had everything she needed to summon Set, except Nick’s body.

You can order The Mummy from here:

The Final Clash

She lures Nick by drowning Jenny, and slaps her (yes twice and really hard too!) into making him bow down to her. Nick steals the dagger and stabs himself letting Set enter his body. (So she was already going to stab him with the dagger, and he chose to do that himself. Hmmmm…interesting.) However, the tables turn when Nick sees Jenny’s body. He becomes furious and sucks the life out of Ahmanet. He then revives Jenny back to life. (Oh! stop) Then he revives Vail back (Oh! stop already!) and proceeds to seek more adventure.

Other Issues

There isn’t just one thing wrong with the movie and you know it. That resuscitating angle where Nick wakes up in a morgue without a scratch after crashing head-on to the ground, I mean how did they even find his body? He should have been blown to smithereens. You could argue that it was Ahmanet Wolverinizing him, but that’s just as pathetic as it sounds.

The Mummy movie delves into horror more than it should have. You are mid-way and you are thinking if you bought the right tickets.

Then a big downer was Hyde, who I thought would turn out to be some kind of Hulk, but that would have been even more cliched. However, somehow their decision to show him as a normal man, just powerful seemed like a right idea. But watching him turn like that just didn’t fit the bill.

What were they thinking, closing the door and isolating Hyde? If Nick wouldn’t have got accidentally trapped, who would have turned him into Jekyll again? Were they planning on sitting it out? Weren’t they prepared for this kind of aberration? Too hard to digest.

Russell Crowe as Dr. Jekyll and Hyde in The Mummy movie

Not Addressing the Obvious

To stop Ahmanet after finding out her true power, there were just four soldiers guarding the gate. I mean really? You should have sent an army, to stop her from reaching the ruby.

And when the final showdown between Nick and Ahmanet is happening why does she order her minions to go to dust. Why couldn’t the boss fight be made better with other mummies attacking Nick too? I would have loved to see Nick struggle through all those mummies to reach the boss.

There’s no element of surprise when Nick kills his first mummy. Did he already know that’s how they were supposed to go down? Had it something to do with him watching the original movie Mummy and being prepared beforehand?

The Mummy movie seems to be running towards something. It would have really helped if they sat down for a while to understand what is going on. We couldn’t see any real acting, but unfeeling people trying to escape or fight their way through.

The Final Verdict

The Mummy movie lacks focus, shoots a dud shot, tries to be horror and action, lacks chemistry, forgets all about drama and aspires to be a hit. Unfortunately, it has nothing of the sorts. It becomes successful in making you go nostalgic about the Stephen Sommers franchise which was something at least if not great.

The plan to whip a universe out of dark characters has failed miserably. I wonder what Universal is thinking right now.

Check out the trailer of The Mummy Movie here:

 

The Nice Guys Review (2016)

Crime is supposed to be an engaging platter. Unfortunately The Nice Guys doesn’t score high in the riveting department. It goes really light at times where the call of the hour is to depict tangibility, au contraire, goes full savage where we could have lived without. There is an element of surprise at most places where you feel the flick’s true flair working magic for it. But then there are times when it simply falls flat.

DIRECTION OF THE NICE GUYS

There is a certain unpredictability about Shane Black’s direction which makes his style of film-making undoubtedly unique. Grinding humour into serious situations is something that he uses immensely. However, it wasn’t the real genre that forms the basis of the tale. It’s the 1970 LA crime scene that does. It takes two booming industries in the backdrop to narrate its telling tale – porn and automotive, and tries to bank on a bigger government conspiracy to cloud its offense.

To top it all, we have Ryan Gosling to do us the honours. His Holland March is a rare character with qualities of fun, subtlety and disgust all written in a single leaflet. He showcases a rare finesse that makes his character the most admired one. Contrasting his character is a grimmer Jackson Healy portrayed by Russell Crowe who is kind of okay in his shoes. Both make an unusual pair who aren’t really nice and yet so, as they try to figure out the mystery of the missing girl. But do they have the chemistry that we wanted? The answer is no!

WEIRD EMPTINESS AND DISCONNECT

The plot is well written as it unfurls slowly into precarious trenches of foul play. The Nice Guys is pretty dark suggestive of Shane’s magnificent style again. But the movie tried to sell itself on humour in the trailers which was actually kind of belying. All the laughs that the trailers packed in were the only ones the movie had. You constantly feel there is something missing and you could taste the hollow as connections don’t really connect you.

Melodramatic substance is fairly missing, something Shane isn’t really a fan of, I surmise. So, you can’t take anything seriously, or expect to feel for any losses. Frames get gashed at unpredictable junctures which question the editing of the movie profusely. Yes, the editing isn’t that great.

However, there are two things that are constantly working for The Nice Guys – The plot and Ryan Gosling! Remember at the end The Nice Guys isn’t a fun movie. It is serious stuff just metamorphosed into fun by some Shane spices.

The Water Diviner Review (2014)

Russell Crowe’s first big directorial venture isn’t a fiasco. It is good but there are so many things that stop it from being great.

The Water Diviner is a movie that starts off with exceptional score, awesome direction and then later dwindles into mediocrity in its main course, only to resurrect again in the end. Screenplay is good, sometimes covering great words brilliantly spoken by the cast. Score is enthralling. Plot is beautiful and well directed at times.

Movie is all Russell. Carrying a thoughtful face and wet eyes, he portrays a man in pain perfectly. You can almost feel for his loss, when the plot unfurls with a terrible tragedy that compels you to wear his shoes. With a big fatherly heart, Crowe carries the movie with his sheer emotions.

Olga is a disappointment. Her face lacks the much needed thoughtful lustre. Sometimes you can perceive her forceful put-on acts with a lot of unwanted animation to her features. Even Jai doesn’t get enough screen time. His addition to the tale ends up going to waste.

SPOILERS AHEAD:

Some of the greatest bits of the movie lie in its starting act where we see Connor finding water, and then digging a well to find the cold. Even before that, the war bit is also quite beautifully shot. It carries along with it an apt climax that delivers subtly a brooding thought. We are soon thrown into the pits of tragedy when we find Connor reading out stories to three empty beds.

At one point the movie loses its seriousness where the score changes to comic like undertone. Even though grim frames follow, something seems amiss and you cannot take anything that pursues seriously.

The gravity of the movie however lies at the war grounds where Arthur lies in mud along with his brethren, helpless, and also at Russell’s brows. The chaotic war aftermath is captured beautifully with all the wailing and crooning that shatters the quiet myth.

Eventually the flick narrowly escapes the jaws of mediocrity owing to the gloomy theme it runs on and revives with Arthur’s big conundrum and a happy-ending.

Good stuff! Worth a watch!