There's no accounting for taste. Alex Kurtzman's remake of The Mummy looks frankly thrilling, but there are two words I never expected to be used to describe it: "Inspiring and seductive." Yet that, apparently, is Tom Cruise's reaction to the idea of a female Mummy!
That's surely one of the more amusing takeaways from an exclusive sneak-peak behind the scenes of The Mummy, due out June 9th. But what else do we learn about the film?
A Smart Inversion Of The Curse Of The Mummy
In 1922, Howard Carter discovered the Tomb of King Tutankhamun in Egypt. The discovery thrilled the world, inspiring a global passion for the study of Egyptology. It also popularized something far more sinister: the legend of the Mummy's Curse.
It's likely that the ancient Egyptians did believe in some sort of superstition surrounding the bodies of the Mummies they entombed; Egyptologists have found some mastaba — early non-pyramid tombs — that are inscribed with ominous curses. Fast-forward to the nineteenth century, and the dawning days of Egyptology, where popular stage shows inspired writers to craft stories of mummy revenge. Even Louisa May Alcott, author of Little Women, toyed with the idea in her novel Lost in a Pyramid.
Alex Kurtzman may be reinventing the traditional monster story for the modern age, but it looks as though he's also willing to invert the legends. After all, one of the first clips in this sneak peak is of a man who's mysteriously survived a plane crash — because of the precious, mystical cargo he carries.
Building A Monster Universe
Of course, The Mummy is just the start of Universal's "Monster Universe," a shared cinematic universe clearly inspired by Marvel's success. We're expecting The Mummy to be joined by films starring creatures as diverse as the Invisible Man and the Creature from the Black Lagoon!
So it's no surprise that the sneak peak devotes a great deal of time to giving a sense of just how this shared universe will work. It introduces us to Russell Crowe's Doctor Jekkyl, the scientist who runs Prodigium. A secret organization that deals with the mysterious monster threats — they're clearly the S.H.I.E.L.D. of the Monster Universe — will serve as the connective tissue between the films.
At the same time, though, Prodigium seems to be an organic, essential part of the story. Kurtzman explained to us in late 2016:
"There was a lot of debate about whether or not to put Dr. Jekyll in the movie, because the minute [we] say 'it's The Mummy but then Dr. Jekyll's in it,' you guys are all going to say, 'You're trying to sell me on a shared universe.' We wanted there to be an organization that was cataloging [monsters], following them, collecting them, determining the good ones from the bad ones — the keeper of that secret history."
The Thrilling Potential Of The Monsters
For Tom Cruise, this is clearly a childhood dream come true. He remembers seeing the original Boris Karloff movie back when he was six years old — and now he gets to be part of reinventing the story for a whole new generation. The sneak peak is chilling, showing so many horror tropes played out; my favorite is the one with the mummy emerging from the water behind her prey...
In a smart move, Universal is building their Monster Universe in the present day. This differentiates The Mummy from all previous films, and it adds another layer of relevance to the movie. After all, this film is imagining what it would be like if a monster actually stepped into our world today.
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- 'The Mummy' Continues A Strange Trend With Egyptian Women In Recent Films
The Mummy is a classic tale, and choosing to reinvent the film for the present day is a bold move on Universal's part. At the same time, this is the ultimate monster movie — how better to launch a shared Monster Universe? If this sneak peak is anything to go by, we're in for chills galore.
Are you looking forward to 'The Mummy'?
(Sources: National Geographic, Poll Image Credit: Universal