Welcome to Buttered Popcorn! Our first review is for Tom’s latest blockbuster, The Mummy (2017). We had a great time watching this flick in theaters (several times), and we can’t wait to share our true and correct opinions with the world!
Smartass Summary: The OTHER OTHER one with the airplane stunt.
Slightly less smartass summary: A guy gets two girlfriends, but would rather be rich and single.
Ok ok, REAL summary: Bad guy tries to take over the world, unlikely hero saves the world instead.
Buttered Popcorn likes this movie a lot! It has action, humor, seat-jumping “scares”, and it even takes on themes of good and evil, life and death, love and sacrifice. In fact, there are so many feelings in this movie, we think some people might have a hard time holding them all in at the same time. But that’s okay! At Buttered Popcorn, we love complexity, and we aren’t scared to cry and laugh and hide our faces in the same theater session!
***Spoilers highly likely beyond this point!***
SO many fun moments in this movie! Whether you’re watching Vail scramble after Nick Morton, screaming about how he’s going to die, or watching Nick Morton try to get everybody focused on the most important issue at hand – his own safety – there are plenty of places to laugh in this movie. Buttered Popcorn’s personal favorites? Let’s see.
“Oh my God, she’s in my head!” When Nick tries to escape the church where Princess Ahmanet has just tried to eat his soul with the help of her zombie friends, and he peels away from the grounds, only to end up driving right back to the church (and to her).
“THAT’S your solution??” When Dr. Jekyll reveals that he plans to murder Nick in a ritual ceremony and let the Egyptian god of Death/Chaos into his body so they can murder Set (AND Nick. again). Nick’s confusion and alarm are THE BEST.
Again! SO MANY deep themes in this movie! We tried to treat them separately – selfishness vs. sacrifice, immortality, good vs. evil, do means justify ends? – but that wasn’t working so let’s talk about them all at once!
Of course, it’s a monster movie, and the theme of good vs. evil is highlighted in this film. There are three primary characters who are meant to get us thinking about these ideas: Princess Ahmanet, Dr. Henry Jekyll, and Sgt. Nick Morton. And Jenny serves as a lens, helping us to see certain characters more clearly.
Princess Ahmanet is powerful and ruthless – destined to rule an empire. She is cheated out of her destiny by the birth of a baby brother. Sexism, people! This is why we can’t have nice things! She makes a pact with the god of Death, allows herself to be made monstrous, then goes on to murder her entire immediate family, with a side of attempted body-snatching as she tries to bring the god of Death into a human vessel. Forget ruling Egypt, she’s about to rule THE ENTIRE WORLD. Thousands of years later, as The Mummy, she is single-minded, vicious, and she is focused on herself. SHE was cheated, SHE will get what she wants. If that means killing infants and taking over an unwilling body, well, all’s fair in world domination. Besides! Those were different times, right? Riiiiiiiight.
Let’s take a look at Nick and Henry. The Mummy shows us two men – one (Nick) seems on the surface to be morally bankrupt, ready to do anything for a quick buck. The other (Henry) seems on the surface to be a hero of sorts, out to save the world from evil. He even has a cool Batman-esque lair where evil can be destroyed! But the writers are showing us something completely different, and we think the way the film plays on these characters is pretty awesome.
Dr. Jekyll would have us believe that Nick is just like Ahmanet (ok, more like a lame, weak, human version, but still). He’s selfish, amoral, and will apparently do anything to further his own gains. And in some ways, that’s true. Nick made love to a woman then stole from her while she was asleep. Selfish! He was ready to blast dirt over a major archaeological find so that he could come back and loot it for gold and black market sales. Greedy! There are times when he is completely incapable of looking past his own needs to see other people. Selfish! (Okay, we said selfish twice, so sue us.) But we’re not sure his actions push him into the “evil” category here. He also saved Jenny, and he felt disgust at the idea that Ahmanet would murder three people (including her own father and a newborn baby). Clearly, his selfishness has its limits. He wouldn’t do ANYTHING to further his own gains.
But who does Ahmanet REALLY sound like? Dr. Jekyll has dedicated his life to eradicating evil. He is completely single minded and ruthless in his pursuit of evil. Just like Ahmanet and her pursuit of power. He’s literally torturing Ahmanet on-screen (and presumably this has gone on for hours). He’s ready to dissect Ahmanet, and intentionally let Nick be inhabited by an evil deity so that he (Jekyll) can contain and destroy Set (much to Jenny’s dismay, by the way. We are NOT meant to think this is a good thing). Jekyll even tries to justify his “plan” by saying that that Nick is “devoid of soul”. Heeeeey now! Nick’s not the most altruistic guy we’ve ever met, but soulless? That’s a little harsh, Doc. Being opportunistic and tricky isn’t evil, and I’m pretty sure it doesn’t warrant the death penalty.
But notice! When it comes to himself, Dr. Jekyll is darn pretty lenient. He has an evil entity living inside him RIGHT NOW. Any moment, his “evil twin” may pop out and start killing people and causing mayhem. Dr. Jekyll has made some anti-evil-twin medication for himself, which he does NOT carry on his person at all times for some reason. He has some extra security measures in place (but if you’re not fast enough, it sucks to be you). But other than that, he’s just roaming around free, with “chaos” waiting at the edge to sneak out any second. Is he dissecting himself? No, he is not! Does he even see the irony of his behavior? Guess not! For him, as with Ahmanet, the ends justify the means, and if some people get killed along the way, well… Sorry? Sometimes, when dealing with such matters, sacrifices must be made, right? Riiiiiiiight.
Meanwhile, Nick has already given Jenny the only parachute, and helped her survive when he knew he would die. Oh sure, he said he thought there was another one, but we think that was just modesty. Nick never even TRIED to find another parachute after Jenny was safe. He knew he would die, but he did it to save her anyway. And that’s all before he learns that he’s the chosen vessel for evil. In the end, he risks everything to save the world (and, of course, Jenny specifically). He sounds as if he has “NO interest in [sacrifice] AT ALL”, but when it comes down to the wire, that good man Jenny tells him is struggling to come out makes it to the top every time.
The Mummy has cleverly taken its characters and used them to show us that perspective is a huge part of what we consider evil. They’ve shown us that not all situations are etched in clear lines of black and white, but they have kept true to the idea that taking innocent life (even if that life is a little scruffy) is not okay, no matter what the reason. And they’ve shown us that personal sacrifice is hard, it’s scary, and you might not be interested in it in the LEAST, but sometimes, when the chips are down, even the worst of us can rise to the occasion.
Not bad for a popcorn movie, eh?
- “Respectfully? I am NOT interested in archaeological jargon right now!” (Nick to Jenny)
- “THAT’S YOUR PLAN??” (Nick to Henry)
- “The OLD gods?” (Ahmanet to Jenny)
- “Where’s your sense of adventure?” (Nick to Vail)
- “What did I tell you? We are not looters. We are liberators of precious antiquities.” (Nick and Vail)
Favorite Character: Nick Morton. Duh! Here’s a few great things about Nick Morton:
- He looks like Tom Cruise
- He is gloriously selfish, but shows his nobility early in the movie, when he saves Jenny from the crash at the cost of his own life.
- He grows. He showed heroism early on, but for the most part, he does NOT care about anything except how he’s going to stay alive. In the end, he abandons safety and vaults himself into the unknown. He risks everything, and sacrifices his humanity FOR humanity.
- He’s a hero. See above. And he even went and found his BFF and brought him back to life, even though zombie!Vail has been trying to sell him out to Princess Scary-Face for the whole damn movie.
Behind the Scenes Trivia:
- Annabelle Wallis and Tom Cruise (and the film/stunt crew) did the zero-gravity sequence on the famous “vomit comet” over two days and in a whopping sixty-four takes!
- Jake Johnson, who plays Nick’s friend Vail, told Director Alex Kurtzman that he did not want to do any stunts, or go anywhere near horses. Encouraged by Tom, he trained for almost five months, and did all his own stunts.
- Sofia Boutella was a professional dancer before she turned to acting, and was a regular background dancer for Madonna. Kurtzman was impressed by the way she carried herself, and how she could command respect through posture alone.
- Tom Cruise and Russell Crowe have been friends for over twenty years. This is the first film they have worked on together.
Pic Spam! Here’s a bunch of pics we liked!
Watchability level: HIGH!
Buttered Popcorn recommends you watch this movie! It’s fun, it’s touching, it’s kinda creepy, it has good messages without being blatantly preachy, and it has a poignant ending without being bitter or disappointing. And you get to see Tom Cruise make that “what the FUCK?” face like… MANY times (see above). How can you go wrong?
Re-watchability level: MEDIUM.
There are not too many mid-movie plot twists in this one, so watching again will not give you a hugely different insight into the actions of the characters than what you saw the first time you watched. But you WILL notice more things on second (or third, or fourth) watching, and devouring movies in full is always great! There were many little details we missed at first, and it took pondering the movie over three separate watchings to really solidify some of the themes. Plus, you will get to see tiny girls violently abuse Tom Cruise, and you will get to see Tom Cruise kick zombie ass, and do both smart stuff and dumb stuff, and there’s this one time he’s practically naked, so… there’s something for everyone! Why would you not want to see that more than once?
Final Verdict: The Mummy is fun! Fun is good!
So! Head to the theaters while it’s still available, melt that butter, pop that popcorn, and prepare to have yourself a great time! And if you’re awesome, like Buttered Popcorn, you will want to pre-order a copy so that you can watch every frame individually and salivate over each second of this great flick. Check out the soundtrack as well! Watching movies while driving is not safe, but listening is fair game! Click the images below for more info.