It feels like that over the past few months families have been spoilt for choice when it comes to family friendly films landing in cinemas. The good news has been that many of the films have been exceptional – with Puss In Boots of course being the best – and now comes a film that is threatening to take Puss’s mantle because Mummies might well be one of the most unique family films to come out in recent times.

If your family loves history then Mummies is a home run in your ball park. The film starts off in the ‘after-life’ of ancient Egyptians. They all seem to live a happy life in this created nirvana that sees Pharaoh (voiced by Sean Bean – Game Of Thrones) run it like clock-work. To create the illusion of the real world he even has his workers make sure that the ‘sun’ and ‘moon’ rise and go down when they should.

However, there is soon a disturbance in this nirvana when it is announced that the spiritual world has ordered that Pharaoh’s daughter Nefer (Eleanor Tomlinson – Jack The Giant Slayer) must marry whoever the mystical Phoenix chooses for her within a week.

But the Phoenix’s journey is cut short when a young boy, named Sekhem (Santiago Winder – Noddy, Toyland Detective) and his pet crocodile accidentally bring it down with their boomerang. The Phoenix lands at the feet of ‘retired’ chariot racer Thut (Joe Thomas – The Inbetweeners) and soon everybody is celebrating the forced engagement of Thut and Nefer.

The only thing is neither Thut nor Nefer want to get married. Not only did they once meet, due to a small traffic accident, and dislike each other but Thut loves his single, celebrity lifestyle and all Nefer wants to do is start a singing career.

It looks like their wedding may be off however when a group of archaeologists, led by the evil Lord Carnaby (Hugh Bonneville – The Amazing Maurice), discover their way into the after-life and take a bunch of jewels including the sacred ring that Thut is to wed Nefer with. However, Thut and Nefer’s joy of the wedding being cancelled soon turns to fear when they discover that it means a fate worse than death for Thut. The only way for them to save him is for Thut, Nefer, Sehkem and the pet crocodile to travel to the real world and find the ring while trying to keep their identities from being discovered.

Directed by first time director Juan Jesus Garcia Galocha Mummies is a film full of surprises and I mean that literally. Not only does the screenplay, written by Jordi Gasull (Tad: The Lost Explorer) and Javier Lopez Barreira (Capture The Flag), deliver some suspenseful twists and turns but the film itself throws up surprises like including a track by Nickelback in its soundtrack. Now of course the Nickelback haters out there are going to pick at that moment like birds at bread but they can shut up because it works for the scene that it is used in and shows that Mummies is a film that is okay with doing things a little differently.

What works the most about this film though is its plot and screenplay. The film is humorous when it needs to be, there is a lot of slapstick comedy especially around Carnaby and his goons, and serious when the plot becomes more intense. The film touches on some pretty important topics such as parents not allowing their children to reach for their dreams and in Thut’s case a person’s life who is being ruined by fear after a traumatic experience. The plot reaches its pinnacle when Nefer realises that she can have her dream job as a singer in the real world, thanks to record producer Ed (musician Shakka) but it means being away from those that she really loves.

Surprisingly the film also deals with deep topics such as the emotions people go through when it comes to an arranged marriage and raises points around whether or not museums raiding Egyptian tombs for profit is moral or not. The way these topics are dealt with in the film though are done in such a way that they won’t even be noticed by children but will certainly give the adults watching something to think about.

All the characters here are well-rounded and it is impossible for the audience not to feel for Thut, Nefer and Sehkem (although to be honest the crocodile will steal many scenes) and that just raises the suspense throughout the film – especially when their lives are in danger. So real do the characters feel that at times you forget you are watching an animated film.

Mummies deserves to be a surprise hit. Technically it is a Spanish film but it outshines a lot of what Hollywood is making at the moment – it is the kind of film that will have you on the edge of your seat one moment and laughing out loud the next. It has an amazing screenplay and will be loved by people of all ages.

4/5 Stars