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The Mummy by Brian Tyler (Review)

posted Jul 21, 2017, 11:59 AM by Kaya Savas

In a world of reboots, reshoes, resandals, and reslippers we are immersed in a movie landscape that sees different takes on older properties. Some work and some don’t, it’s just the nature of the game. There is a deep love for Universal’s classic movie monster catalogue of films, so you can’t blame them for trying to revamp them for a modern audience. Unfortunately, the first film in the so-called "Dark Universe" stumbles on the storytelling front. But it did give composer Brian Tyler a pretty great canvas to deliver a gothic action-adventure score that keeps this very thinly-plotted film afloat just long enough to stay alive.

The issues with The Mummy as a film is that everything about it we've seen done before dozens of times with way more inspiration and way more fun. It’s a clear case of too many cooks in the kitchen, and perhaps not knowing what kind of film it wanted to be. The one consistent part of the film was Brian Tyler’s valiant effort with the score. The Mummy marks possibly the longest time Brian has worked on a project in his career, he was working on it way before Tom Cruise was even cast. The movie and even the score went through changes in production, but the final musical result is a solid orchestral adventure score with gothic horror undertones.

The music for this incarnation of The Mummy carries a lot of Brian Tyler’s trademark stylings including a robust central theme and energetic action writing while still creating a sense of mystery and grandeur. There are some similarities in approach to how Jerry Goldsmith and Alan Silvestri approached the Stephen Sommers Mummy films, but the whole “Egyptian” thing is toned back immensely since this one takes place for the majority in modern day London. Also the score itself isn’t re-inventing the wheel when it comes to structure, so all the expected pieces are there. We have a protagonist in Tom Cruise’s character, we have an evil entity with the Mummy, and a series of action set pieces that lead us to the climax and resolution. The score makes an attempt for us to relate to our antagonist a bit, but the film never does a good job of making the audience care. So in the end this comes more across as a touch of romanticism injected into the tone of the score, and it totally works. The score does a lot of heavy lifting in terms of keeping the narrative moving and keeping us somewhat engaged, which is probably the highlight of the whole experience.

The Mummy got some bad press, but it’s not a trash movie. It’s just very standard and doesn't do enough to stand out in a sea of studio blockbusters. Brian Tyler’s score is probably the one thing keeping the whole experience afloat, and it does a great job of delivering an action-adventure score with some gothic horror undertones. The music is supremely engaging and does a wonderful job of establishing character themes and tone. We go through the expected motions and there are no surprises, so in the end the score is limited by the film’s “by the books” approach. Don’t expect any wow factor storytelling from The Mummy, but it is a solidly executed experience by Brian Tyler. And be sure to check out the 2+ hour digital version of the score which gives you the best experience of the score's structure.