If we gave awards out for trailers, Logan would win an Oscar, The Mummy wouldn’t even get a Golden Raspberry. Those responsible would be on criminal charges. The misrepresentation has doomed the franchise launch of Universal’s Dark Universe before it had chance to gain traction.
As we’ve said before here, these days you need a shared universe. You’ll be forgiven for missing the fact that The Mummy is a way to bring the classic monsters of the golden age of cinema back to life. Had this been pressed in the build-up to the release, people wouldn’t have written this movie off as Tom Cruise trying to reboot an average Brendan Fraser flick.
It couldn’t be further removed from 1999’s The Mummy. And there’s no danger of the next Dwayne Johnson pitching up in a sequel as the Scorpion King.
Before writing this review, a consideration was given as to mention the “reveals.” Failure to talk candidly would make Simms View as guilty as the poor marketing team. So, no secrets to be held back. Like: Russell Crowe is in the movie playing Dr Jekyll and – yes! – Mr Hyde.
Full props to Universal, too. In this age of everything needing to be bigger to the point of ridiculous, and CGI’d to within an inch of its life (but beyond all credibility), his Hyde is how the character initially was conceived. Strong but still a man. Not some beast or monster.
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. We get to Dr Jekyll – who happens to running a modern-day London facility that captures, contains and studies the paranormal, bizarre creations and the facts within ancient mythology – by way of his assistant.
She is tracking Tom Cruise, known as Nick Morton, an American soldier in Iraq. On the side he is looking for buried treasures to capture in the war torn country and sell on the black market. He has a trusty sidekick, Jake Johnson’s Corporal Chris Vail.
Together they happen across a buried pyramid, we already know to be the tomb of Princess Ahmanet, who killed her own father and attempted to bring the spirit of Death alive in human form. A living god was her idea.
Thousands of miles away from Egypt, disposed of in Persia, the idea was to keep her buried. Instead Jekyll’s assistant Jenny Halsey – annoyed that Cruise seduced her and then stole the map to the location – decrees the mummy of the hidden princess is be brought home to London.
Cue massive plane crash, one that kills Morton but he somehow finds himself alive afterwards. As for the Princesses, her body goes missing . . . then walkabout.
Morton is conflicted about his perceived role. He has become the Princess’s new chosen one but this means he’ll be killed during a ritual. After which, he’ll have powers of a deity but be something else altogether – potentially the thing that ends mankind.
There are obvious jokes to make here how Tom Cruise started a franchise to reaffirm his position as a box office god. As if being an actual one within Scientology wasn’t enough.
He holds the movie together though, and deserves to head the new Dark Universe.
Universal have managed to tap into the spirit of the classic monster movies and still modernise them. There is a casual humour throughout and some people in the cinema even jumped in parts. It ticked all the boxes set out before it.
Bad press, which led to less word-of-mouth, has doomed The Mummy at the box office but it should, over time, garner enough praise and interest to keep the larger concept of the Dark Universe alive.
Worth checking out…