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Mummies, A Deviceful Animation That Blends Cringe With Serendipity

Mummies, marks the feature directorial debut of Juan Jesús García Galocha, from a screenplay by Javier López Barreira and Jordi Gasull. Warner Bros. Pictures teams up with 4Cats Pictures SL, Anangu Grup SLU and Moomios Movie AIE, Atresmedia Cine, MOVISTAR+ and TV3. The result is an animation that breaks new ground.

The film follows the hilarious adventures of three mummies who live in a secret underground city hidden away in Ancient Egypt. Thut (Joe Thomas) used to be a charioteer, who no longer competes after a traumatic incident. He spends his time signing autographs on papyri and entertaining himself with is his younger brother Sekhem (Santiago Winder) and their pet crocodile. The two siblings meet Princess Nefer (Eleanor Tomlinson), who loves singing, but as the daughter of the Pharaoh (Sean Bean) is expected to be marry and continue the dynasty. 

A series of unfortunate events catapults Thut, Sekhem and Nefer in present-day London and they embark on a whimsical adventure. In the city of Abbey Road Studios, they meet music producer Ed (Shakka) who allows Nefer to give full expression to her vocal artistry. However, the trio of mummies will also have to face the nefarious actions of archaeologist Lord Carnaby (Hugh Bonneville), who is inseparable from his mother (Celia Imrie) and his dumb-and-dumber-Tweedledee-and-Tweedledum assistants Danny and Dennys (Dan Starkey).

Prior to this film, Juan Jesús García Galocha worked as art director on films such as Tad: The Lost Explorer and Tad: The Lost Explorer, and The Secret of King Midas. The first of these two movies won the Goya Award for Best Screenplay. Actually, screenwriter Gasull, has three Goya Awards under his belt, which made him the perfect fit as the film’s producer. Therefore it doesn’t surprise that Mummies is the outcome of such a successful team.

The innovative aspect of Mummies is that it isn’t set in two different eras. The world of Ancient Egypt, that is inhabited by mummies, co-exists with our modern day. Two parallel worlds are present in different layers of the Earth: the realm of humans is above the ground whereas the underworld is populated by living mummies.

This ambiguous re-interpretation of Ancient Egypt, that eludes the technology of the 21st century, has some interesting and indirect contaminations with our epoch. For instance, it mimics many phenomena popular amongst Gen Z and is even equipped with instruments of communication similar to a switch hook telephone. 

The pace of the narrative has an entertaining tempo, also thanks to the music composed by Goya winner Fernando Velazquez. The score provides a playful atmosphere, with three original songs (I Am Today, New Song, Ring Song), featured alongside the iconic song by The Bangles from the mid-Eighties Walk Like an Egyptian.

In Mummies there are also fun references to cringe moments related to how the artwork of previous centuries have been mutilated by modernity. The nod to Cecilia Giménez’s failed restoration attempt of the ‘Ecce Homo’ painted by Elías García Martínez — that became an internet phenomenon — is a hilarious moment in the animated movie. The entire film is enjoyable for children, but undoubtably addresses adult themes such as female empowerment and overcoming post-traumatic-stress-disorder. All characters in the film experience the power of serendipity, including the croc and his toy in the very last scene after the credits.

Final Grade: B

Check out more of Chiara’s articles.

Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi
Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi
Works as film critic and journalist who covers stories about culture and sustainability. With a degree in Political Sciences, a Master’s in Screenwriting & Film Production, and studies at the Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute, Chiara has been working in the press since 2003. Italian by blood, British by upbringing, fond of Japanese culture since the age of 7, once a New Yorker always a New Yorker, and an avid traveller, Chiara collaborates with international magazines and radio-television networks. She is also a visual artist, whose eco-works connect to her use of language: the title of each painting is inspired by the materials she upcycles on canvas. Her ‘Material Puns’ have so far been exhibited in four continents, across ten countries. She is a dedicated ARTivist, donating her works to the causes and humanitarians she supports, and is Professor of Phenomenology of Contemporary Arts at Istituto Europeo di Design in Milan.


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