To say that I wasn't a fan of the previous (highly successful) Mummy franchise, created by writer-director Stephen Sommers, would be to put it mildly.
Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weiss were terrific, but the movies themselves were junk. Overblown, incoherent, with no narrative armature or emotional core.
They dumped a ton of CGI on the audience instead of bothering with niceties like empathy or story or characterisation.
So it's sad to report that the new reboot of the series falls into exactly the same trap. And it really didn't need to. The cast is even stronger this time, and the movie begins really well...
Nick (Tom Cruise) and Chris (Jake Johnson) are theoretically attached to the US Army in Iraq, but basically they're there to loot antiquities.
Beautiful archaeologist Jenny (Annabelle Wallis, from Peaky Blinders) has a map of unique treasure site, given her to by the mysterious and powerful Henry (Russell Crowe).
Nick and Chris steal the map and are the first to arrive at the site. And given the title of the movie, there's no prizes for guessing what they find there...
This whole section of the movie is very effective and culminates in Nick, Chris and Jenny flying back with a sarcophagus in a military transport plane, which breaks apart over England in a scene which — while far from original — is thrilling fun.
The rest of the movie takes place in England, and mostly in London. If the plane crash was reminiscent of Monster Squad, much else — such as the running gag of Nick's now dead friend Chris popping up all over the place — calls to mind An American Werewolf in London.
On the other hand, the Mummy (played by the striking Sofia Boutella, who was so great in Kingsman and Star Trek Beyond) has the power to summon masses of rats and other vermin in a manner which is reminiscent of Dracula.
This actually makes a lot of sense, when you consider the true, uncredited, source of all the Mummy movies is probably Dracula's creator, Bram Stoker, in the shape of his novel The Jewel of Seven Stars.
But where The Mummy goes fatally off the rails is when it drags in the work of another great Victorian Gothic novelist. Because the 'Henry' whom Russell Crowe portrays turns out to be Dr Henry Jeckyll — yes, that's right, as in Dr Jeckyll and Mr Hyde.
This just makes no sense at all. It's a wild lurch into the territory of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen or Penny Dreadful, but the movie doesn't pull it off, and never recovers from it. The descent into boring, silly and meaningless action is precipitous and irreversible.
The characters, and the audience, are soon buried under a numbing avalanche of dull CGI.
What a pity. This was so nearly a really good summer popcorn movie.
(Image credits: All the posters are from good old reliable old Imp Awards.)