Despite unfavorable reviews and low box office numbers, there is still an interesting movie buried somewhere in The Mummy. It has some cool action sequences and a decent performance from Tom Cruise — but it’s Sofia Boutella’s portrayal as the mummy, Ahmanet, that truly steals the show.
Note: The following contains heavy spoilers for The Mummy.
Unfortunately, it looks like she won't be around for long, if the ending to The Mummy is anything to go by. We saw Cruise’s Nick Morton become the new mummy, leaving Boutella's iteration literally rock-dead. With Universal’s #DarkUniverse off to a bad start, here’s why Ahmanet should've never been killed off in the first place:
Ahmanet Is The 'Ultimate Feminist,' But She's Wasted By Dying In The First Movie
While speaking with the Los Angeles Times about her role in The Mummy, Boutella said her character is a symbol of equal representation in film:
"Ahmanet is the ultimate feminist, I think. What happened to her is something that’s always existed and, weirdly, still does, being prevented from ever becoming pharaoh because her father has a child and the child is a boy. She’s not OK with that. She doesn’t victimize herself. And the movie also does not victimize her."
She went on to say that making the mummy female leads to a better story:
"Why aren’t monsters being played by women? If you piss off a woman she’s far more brutal than a man. How come they didn’t think about that before?"
(As someone who has accidentally made his girlfriend angry before, I can see Boutella's point.)
Because The Mummy is as much a Sofia Boutella film as it is a Tom Cruise film, Ahmanet offers equal representation. The problem is that by the end of the movie Ahmanet is dead — with the opportunity to further explore her character lost — and Tom Cruise has taken her place. When Morton received the powers of the Egyptian god Set, he absorbed Ahmanet's life force and reverted her to a mummified state.
Was this the right move? Director Alex Kurtzman wanted to present the best mummy possible and eventually he found his Ahmanet in Sofia Boutella. After seeing her kick ass in Kingsman: The Secret Service, Kurtzman knew Boutella was born to play Ahmanet. He told the Los Angeles Times:
"I [was] blown away, not just by her obvious physical ability, which is extraordinary, but by the fact she conveyed so much with her eyes. To have the audience credibly believe that she is a 5,000-year-old princess who carries herself with an air of royalty befitting a bygone age, I needed someone who could control her body and also honor what is essential of the Universal monster movies — I needed people to fear her as the monster and needed them to sympathize with her."
We feared her. We sympathized with her. So why kill her off so quickly?
Ahmanet was more of a plot device for Tom Curise's arc when she should've been much more. The movie was Morton's origin story, but should've been Ahmanet's.
Can Future Dark Universe Movies (If There Are Any) Fix This Mistake?
The Dark Universe wants us to imagine these classic monsters in modern society, and I was honestly intrigued. We saw Ahmanet's past in Egypt, but it would've been interesting to see her explore our world rather than just wishing to destroy it. In other words, to see what a 5,000-year-old princess thinks about where society's at today. That's what made Boris Karloff's mummy so mesmerizing.
It was predictable that Cruise was going to take Boutella's place as the mummy by the end of the movie. (It was also given away by the trailers.) But I was hoping for Morton and Ahmanet to merge like June Moon and Enchantress in Suicide Squad, giving us some trippy shapeshifting, body-altering special effects.
Maybe it's still possible. Dr. Jekyll (Russell Crowe) places Ahmanet's re-mummified body back inside her tomb, fully submerging her in mercury. It's possible, then, that Set could bring Ahmanet back to life. They were supposed to rule Egypt together, as one.
Still, it all feels like a wasted opportunity. Cursed be, by the mummy's spell, those responsible for her on-screen death. Here's hoping for Boutella's Ahmanet's much-deserved return.
What was your favorite part of The Mummy? Let me know in the comments below!
[Source: LA Times]