HORROR AND ADVENTURE HAVE A NEW FRANCHISE IN WAITING AND A SECURE STAR AT THE HELM IN UNIVERSAL PICTURES ‘THE MUMMY DUE SUMMER 2017
New Trailer for THE MUMMY has landed. The casket has been opened. There is no stopping it now. Prepare for some VERY fast RUNNING from TOM CRUISE! But this time, he’s not alone. No. Because this is a ‘shared universe’, you see. Just like Marvel, Star Wars, DC and pretty much everything nowadays. So we get two stars for the price of one here. RUSSELL CROWE is tagging along, too as none other than Dr. Jekyll (and presumably, therefore, Mr Hyde, too?).
What can one say about this? As a teaser trailer, it is effective. Whets appetites. Feeds curiosities. Gives away some details and grabs the attention visually, whilst leaving much to the imagination and speculation until the next trailer / actual release of the movie in 2017.
Tom Cruise looks to be in Mission:Impossible worthy shape and appears to have de-aged even further, whilst looking oddly more natural in his own skin than he did a decade ago. This is very much a movie star popcorn performance; do not expect Oscar worthy character acting. Equally though there is a slight glint of mystery in his eyes and the usual blockbuster smile is conspicuously missing in action. Could it be that he is in fact playing something just a BIT more interesting than hero running to the rescue, despite it would seem, in fact, playing a..hero to the rescue?
Note: Cruise once played the Vampire, Lestat. Sadly, he never reprised that role and the character is headed for a reboot of its own c/o author Anne Rice and Netflix. But is the Cruiser done with playing the undead altogether? His character name in this new venture is ‘Morton’ (incorporating the word ‘mort’: which is French for..death). You never know. I do hope there is some surprise in store, because Cruise does not NEED a new franchise and one could equally argue that a super-powered horror reboot hardly requires him for its success?
And..interestingly enough, Luke Evans’ DRACULA from Dracula Untold ( initially considered launch point for this new shared monster /gods universe) has been de-canonized..and whilst we have our Mummy, Mr Hyde and possibly Invisible Man /Frankenstein’s creature (Johnny Depp /Javier Bardem mooted) for further franchise sequels in this series..no Dracula yet confirmed. COULD Cruise be..well..let’s wait and see, shall we?
Back to what we DO know (adopt Cruise voice to say that; do emphatic hand gesture)
The set piece aboard the plane looks truly stunning. You can FEEL every moment of the action here. Yes, there is a supernatural vibe. But the bumps and bruises and crashes: all very real, even within the confines of a laptop screen view trailer. So, once transferred to IMAX /3-D? this could be truly thrilling and special.
And YET..some of the other visuals (seriously: MORE red buses and exploding Big Bens? REALLY? Stop it, Hollywood. Go and explore other parts of the UK! Birmingham? Manchester? Liverpool? Swindon? Slough? Basingstoke?!): decidedly derivative.
Tom Cruise awakening from a seeming death is very small screen in feel; it has a TORCHWOOD vibe about it and compounded by the fact that John Barrowman could be a clone of Cruise. We are also none the wiser on tone here. Is this meant as horror or adventure or a kind of Indiana Jones style merger of genres (like the 1999 -2008 Mummy films with Brendan Fraser: remember those?).
Above all: Russell Crowe?! Onscreen with Tom Cruise should be an ‘event’ in itself. Here? It is second fiddle to the building of yet ANOTHER ‘shared universe’. Surely the big deal here is getting two of the biggest stars / best actors of the last twenty years to face off / team up /make out /whatever? Totally overlooked here and surely a missed marketing opportunity?
Instead, all publicity is pointing to the architect of this new ‘universe’: Alex Kurtzman. Now, to be fair, he directed the film and that includes the amazing plane sequence. Action chops to the man. Good job. And yet? This is yet ANOTHER ‘franchise’ world to which Kurtzman has been awarded the kingdom’s keys.
Transformers, Star Trek, The Amazing Spider-Man..it’s an endlessly growing list in the Kurtzman canon. So yes, he has a sound commercial eye and is a solid creative consultant. But one would hardly call him a visionary or innovator and frankly, the law of diminishing returns has applied to his output. He just happens to have collaborated with similarly minded craftspeople, such as JJ Abrams. All competent and passionate, but they share a common bond too as studio yes-men whose main talent appears to be in resurrecting / revitalizing others’ dormant franchises.
That’s why Kurtzman is such a perfect fit for this project. A copy of a copy of a copy that could either work with incredible popularity (like Abrams’ Star Wars /Star Trek) or flop and badly (2004’s previous attempt at monster mashing with Hugh Jackman strarrer, Van Helsing).
So this is yet another lazily fast tracked franchise launcher and shamelessly derivative at that. But our curiosities have been stimulated, no question. You are left WANTING more. In that sense? Great trailer and mission: accomplished, Misters Cruise /Kurtzman. And at least nobody says ‘You don’t know what you’re dealing with’. 😉
We look forward to the finished product and to reviewing it in 2017!
I want my Mummy..