REVIEW: Is ‘The Mummy’ family-friendly?
June 9th, 2017 / By: Michael Foust / comments
Nick Morton is a fearless archeologist who travels throughout the Middle East in search of ancient treasures.
That’s fascinating enough, but Morton isn’t one to do things the “normal” way. He steals. He sells his goods on the black market. He’s even been in one or two gun battles.
Eventually, though, Morton’s carefree ways catch up with him, like when he and two others discover an Egyptian sarcophagus buried in a mysterious pool, deep under the Iraqi sand. Even crazier: It’s tied to an elaborate pulley system that defies logic.
His friends urge caution, but Morton thoughtlessly fires a shot at the pulley ropes, thus raising the sarcophagus and eventually freeing it of its content—the mummy Ahmanet, who once was a beautiful princess but now is your absolute worst nightmare.
The Mummy (PG-13) opens in theaters this weekend, bringing us a reboot of a franchise we thought, well, died several years ago. It is the first film in Universal’s “Dark Universe” series of films that will feature well-known monsters in live-action roles. (Bride of Frankenstein, coming in 2019, is the next one.)
Mummy stars Tom Cruise as Morton; Annabelle Wallis as his love interest, Jenny; Jake Johnson as his friend and fellow explorer, Chris; and Sofia Boutella as Ahmanet.
The action takes us from sunny Iraq to the historic (and often foggy) streets of London, where zombies seem to pop out every few minutes.
Morton has his eyes on Jenny, but Ahmanet has her evil eyes on Morton. Why? Because he brought her back to life, of course. What follows is the worst one-sided romance you’ll ever witness: her promising him god-like powers if he’ll just turn evil, and him trying to avoid her every move. Along the way we also meet Mr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde himself.
So, is it any good? And should you let your teens see it? Let’s take a look …
Warning: minor spoilers
There’s a reason the film is rated PG-13 for “violence, action and scary images.” There are plenty of them.
Ahmanet, who was passed over for the throne, makes a pact with the underworld to gain power. This involves her murdering family members (we see that) and casting a spell in a demonic-like setting (we see that, too). She also cuts herself as part of the spell. She’s missing part of her cheek and nose, but her zombie army is missing far more than that. They play a prominent role in the film, trying to kill everything in their path. There are scenes involving hundreds of spiders and hundreds of rats. She prays to the “god of death” and turns others into zombies by kissing them.
Morton battles zombies throughout the film, decapitating a few and stepping on their heads. There are several gun battles.
Ahmanet is nude when she casts her spell. We see her briefly from behind and from the side in a very dark setting. Later, Morton and Ahmanet trade insults about a one-night stand (which we don’t see). He says it was satisfying; she disagrees.
I counted 18 coarse words: He-- (7), OMG (3), SOB (2), da-- (2), a-- (2), ba--ard (1), s--t (1).
The opening scene shows Catholic priests in A.D. 1127 conducting a burial. Later, Ahmanet corners Morton in a historic countryside church, where she attempts to turn him to evil.
Look hard enough, and there are a few lessons for teens. Among the topics: selfishness, self-sacrifice and the desires of the flesh.
Cruise is an egocentric thief who thinks only about money and pleasure, which leads Jenny to ask: “Do you ever think about anyone but yourself?” By the film’s end he has a change of heart and faces a major choice.
Yet the bigger lesson might be more basic. Ahmanet promises Morton the “power of life over death” and the ability to become a “living god” but only if he joins forces with her. It’s similar to what the serpent promised Eve in the garden (Genesis 3:5). No, we won’t ever face an identical situation like Eve, but every time we disobey God, we’re committing an identical sin. That is, we’re entertaining the age-old question that Eve faced: “Has God said?”
I prefer scary movies that demonstrate God’s power over the forces of Satan. Sadly, that’s not part of The Mummy. Instead, we’re given a universe of curses and spells whereby Ahmanet can be defeated only by crushing a red crystal. We also hear that Morton and his friends have “angered the gods.”
It’s also worth considering Hollywood’s portrayal of evil. In The Mummy, evil is ugly and grotesque, but in the real world, evil is far more cunning. In fact, on the surface it can be downright attractive. Proverbs 5 describes a specific sin that appears as sweet as honey but eventually leads to hell. That’s a conversation worth having with our kids.
The Mummy isn’t appropriate for children. But teens? Maybe. Honestly, though, if I had a teen, I’d find something more enjoyable.
Thumbs Up … Or Down?
I enjoyed the first 30 or so minutes of The Mummy. Then the zombies attacked. Again. And again. Worse: The character development was so lacking that I almost didn’t care who survived.
Picture Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video—without the music or the dance or the plot—and you’ve got The Mummy. Thumbs down.
1. What does Scripture say about the afterlife? About mummies? About zombies?
2. Do you think Morton regretted his past actions?
3. Compare yourself—and all of humanity—to Jekyll and Hyde.
4. What was your reaction when the insurgents destroyed the ancient statues?
5. What was more powerful in the film, good or evil?
Entertainment rating: 2 out of 5 stars. Family-friendly rating: 2 out of 5 stars.
The Mummy is rated PG-13 for violence, action and scary images, and for some suggestive content and partial nudity.