Friday, December 9, 2016

Trailer for 'The Mummy' introduces the Universal Monsters Cinematic Universe

Cinematic universes are all the rage in Hollywood, although the unfortunate truth of the matter is that no studio beyond Marvel has been successful. Many franchises have tried to expand on individual films to create a web of inter-connectivity, but most studios have struggled right out of the gate. DC has the greatest potential to demolish the box office with their cinematic universe, and even Warner Bros. is struggling with it so far. However, none of this will stop studios from trying, and Universal is at the forefront of this movement. A few years ago, the company announced plans to push for a cinematic universe surrounding their classic monsters franchise, which includes characters such as Dracula, Frankenstein, the Mummy, and the Invisible Man. Their big kick-off movie was supposed to be 2014's Dracula Untold, but with weak critical and fan reception, Universal has decided to just pretend that it never happened. The studio's new starter movie is The Mummy, which stars Tom Cruise and is directed by Alex Kurtzman. With appearances by other members of the future connected universe, Universal is hoping that The Mummy jump starts this bold new franchise idea. Last weekend, the first trailer was released for the film. Check it out below!

If this was a trailer for any other major summer blockbuster, maybe I'd be excited. The initial plane crash sequence is pretty stunning, and any movie that stars Tom Cruise and Russell Crowe is certainly worth a look. But I must admit- while I watched this trailer during Sunday Night Football, I repeatedly uttered "Oh no." This is not the kick-off that I wanted for the Universal Monsters Cinematic Universe, and quite frankly, it's not the Mummy movie that I wanted either. I don't want my old-school monster movies to look like Mission: Impossible or the Avengers. Look, there are two ways to do a Mummy movie- you can do a campy adventure movie (like the Brendan Fraser series) or you can do a straight horror film. I was really hoping that Universal would go with the latter, doing more of a creepy riff on Alien set in Ancient Egypt. Instead, The Mummy just looks like every other blockbuster made in Hollywood these days. Going into this, I was pretty excited for the Universal Monsters Cinematic Universe, most likely because I had a strange, possibly naive idea of what it would be. Now, I could truly care less. Sure, it'll be a serviceable action thriller, but do we really need more of those? I just don't feel like watching a Mummy movie where cities get destroyed and Tom Cruise runs around and helicopters shoot at stuff, with no recognition of the campy nature of the concept or the horror elements.

The Mummy will make money because of brand recognition and Tom Cruise, and maybe the Universal Monsters franchise will have success going forward because of this film. But if they truly want to match Marvel and do something interesting with this series, it's going to take more than this.

The Mummy opens on June 9, 2017.

Image courtesy of Universal 

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