Oh #BrendanFraser, where have you been? From Hollywood heartthrob to seeming obscurity, where is the 48-year-old actor now? Sure, Fraser didn't fully descend into the same dark realm as Geena Davis or Macaulay Culkin, but it's true he hasn't done much of late. While all that is set to change with FX's upcoming anthology series Trust, there is no denying that Fraser will probably always be remembered for his role as Rick O'Connell in Universal's #TheMummy franchise from 1999 to 2008.
Battling the same mummy twice, in addition to taking on his Asian equivalent in the lackluster "reboot" Tomb of The Dragon Emperor, Universal consistently delivered family-fun popcorn horror. With the studio starting again to set up its own extended universe, it seems that the likes Benicio del Toro as Wolfman, Hugh Jackman as Van Helsing, and Fraser as O'Connell have all been retconned — or have they?
Warning: mild spoilers for The Mummy ahead.
Digging Up The Past
Alex Kurtzman's new version of The Mummy is kicking off Universal's #DarkUniverse by taking over from Fraser's series with #TomCruise as the hardened hero, but can we/should we really forget the 1999 version? Speaking to Digital Spy since The Mummy's release, Kurtzman has a surprise in store for those who still have fond feelings of nostalgia toward the Fraser faction. The director revealed that his directorial duties were obviously affected by the films that came before:
"You have to pay homage and tribute to everything that came before. I have nothing but respect for all the films that have been made, and the filmmakers who've made them. To deny their existence in any way, I think would have been incredibly rude."
The Cruise era may be slowly unravelling before our eyes with some rather unimpressed critics, while others are calling the Dark Universe doomed before it has even begun. So, was it right to distance The Mummy so much from Fraser's tenure? Watching Rick take on Imhotep with his family was a wise-cracking Indiana Jones adventure, whereas Cruise's film was bogged down with being a dark and gritty remake. A darker tone may work for the likes of the upcoming Hellboy, but here we are left pining for Brendan Fraser.
Given that The Mummy series technically started back with Boris Karloff's performance in 1932, there is a lot of history you have to take into account when cracking open the sarcophagus. While we don't expect any form of Van Helsing in the Dark Universe tie into the Jackman role from 2004's film, Kurtzman refuses to ignore all those bandaged bastards that came before his movie:
"So, all of those films are part of the history of the Universal monsters, and as such I thought, rather than say it's not part of the canon, let's say, 'No, it is part of the canon; we're just taking it somewhere new.'"
Speaking of canon, there was a Tom Cruise-sized Easter Egg hiding in plain sight in the latest film. You may remember when Cruise's Nick Morton entered the HQ of the sinister Prodigium and got in a bit of a heated debate with Russell Crowe's Dr. Jekyll. We see Annabelle Wallis's Jenny Halsey clobber a Prodigium henchman with a familiar looking book, which eagle-eyed viewers will notice was the Book of Amun-Ra from the 1999 film. With this in mind, and unable to resist, the Digital Spy reporter then asked if this means some ancient Rick O'Connell could be out there somewhere, to which Kurtzman replied:
"Sure! Why not? You're free to quote that."
While we probably shouldn't expect Fraser to undergo some CGI to portray a reanimated mummy of Rick, still digging up Egypt in the modern day, at least Kurtzman isn't just discarding the legacy of the franchise. As Universal steamrollers the likes of Gary Shore's Dracula Untold to seemingly forget Luke Evans ever had anything to do with it, it will be hard to cast off the studio's eclectic past with its monsters.
There is no denying that the Dark Universe has oodles of potential, but let's just hope that there is something better lurking in the bowels of Castle Frankenstein, and that it can raise our hopes for the series from the dead. As for Kurtzman and The Mummy, say what you want about his film, but any universe that acknowledges the existence of John Hannah as Jonathan Carnahan is good enough for me!
Check out the trailer for 1999's The Mummy and don't forget our poll below!
Is Kurtzman right to honor the films before him?
(Source: Digital Spy)