TL;DR – While there are moments here, nothing saves this film that stumbles in all the most odd places.
Post-Credit Scene – There is an end-credit scene
Disclosure – I was invited to a press screening of this film.
Mummies Review –
Whenever you translate a film from one language to another, there is always a danger that something can get lost in translation. At least with an animated movie, you can edit the lip flaps and lose the synch issue that happens with dubbed films. Today we look at a movie that had its moments, but something did not make the jump from Spanish to English.
So to set the scene, thousands of years ago in Ancient Egypt, Thut (Joe Thomas) was racing around a stadium in a chariot. It is a brutal race with cheating and wheels full of spikes. Through some clever manoeuvring, Thut almost gets over for a win, that is, until his chariot disintegrates, sending him flying. Today, Lord Carnaby (Hugh Bonneville), a pompous archaeologist, is looking for the tomb of Princess Nefer (Eleanor Tomlinson). But when he opens the sarcophagus, he finds it empty. Because for some of the mummies, death was not the end.
I will be pretty negative with this review, but I want to highlight some of the film’s strengths. Some moments are genuinely funny. When they actually get into the weeds of the cultural clash that would be mummies trying to exist in the current world, it can be grand. Every interaction with Mother (Celia Imrie) was a delight. As well as this, the animation looks quite dated. It all flows well, which you need in some of the action scenes. Also, the general story is, look, it is okay. Carnaby wants his exhibition, Thut has a secret he is trying to hide, and Nefer wants to sing, and it all gets resolved at lightning speed. I mean, it does its job.
However, this film is filled with frankly weird decisions, and while some are perplexing, fascinatingly, like the most bizarre Nickelback needle drop in film history. The rest hit on different levels of ‘why did they do that?’ At the start are minor things like the film using a Roman Chariot Stadium in Ancient Egypt. Also, the more you think about the Mummies’ world, the more horrifying and baffling it becomes. But these are minor issues, and if they only stayed there, it would not have been an issue.
Then we have the mid-range perplexing issues, like that one of the Ancient Egyptian characters uses an Indigenous Australian boomerang [Edit: actually I was wrong on this one, but the rest still stands]. Did it lead to some comedic moments? Yes, did it ever make sense? No. However, we then have to talk about the film’s major issue: unfortunately, it is full of whitewashing. This is not just the cast but the character design, in 2023, we shouldn’t be seeing it, and it was a real barrier for me.
In the end, do we recommend Mummies? Look, no, I can’t. Now, I know that some of the issues come from transitioning the film to English, as well as being pitched at a very young audience. Some of the more absurd elements hit so hard that I can almost recommend it for that experience of ‘what is happening’, but it just doesn’t quite get there. If you liked Mummies, I would recommend to you The Bad Guys.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
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Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of Mummies
Directed by – Juan Jesús García Galocha
Story by – Jordi Gasull
Screenplay by – Jordi Gasull & Javier López Barreira
Music by – Fernando Velázquez
Edited by – Emily Killick
Production/Distribution Companies – Warner Bros. Entertainment España, 4 Cats Pictures, Anangu Grup, Moomios Movie AIE, Atresmedia Cine, Movistar+, Televisió de Catalunya (TV3) & Warner Bros.
Starring – Joe Thomas, Eleanor Tomlinson, Santiago Winder, Celia Imrie, Dan Starkey, Hugh Bonneville, Shakka & Sean Bean
Rating – Australia: PG; Canada: na; Germany: na; New Zealand: na; United Kingdom: na; United States: PG