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Review: The Mummy

Roslyn Hull

An ancient princess is awakened from her crypt beneath the desert, bringing with her malevolence grown over millennia, and terrors that defy human comprehension. IMDb

Did the last phrase in the above blurb sound ominous and yet somehow old-fashioned to you? Me too – more about that later.

In case you are under any illusion that this is a simple remake of the Brendan Fraser series, I’m-ma stop you right there. And like Kanye, tell you like it is. Tom may be good but he is no Brendan, in fact the few attempts at humour in the movie would have fallen completely flat if it were not for New Girl’s Jake Johnson. Their buddy banter reminded me of another horror/humour mash-up: An American Werewolf in London.  For any junior readers – it is an ‘80s classic. Find it. Watch it. Never feel the same way about a manicure again.

But I digress. The much loved (at least by me) Mummy series was sometimes frightening and a lot of fun – this film is going for the opposite balance, heavy on the shock and action, less about the laughs. But it is not above borrowing from the other film too – I had a very Jaws 2 moment (meaning I clenched, just from the auto-suggestion – bugs here and theme music with Jaws 2) when the critters started swarming around the mummy’s tomb.

Yes, there is sand, many body tattoos, curses, more sand and even a zombie army. However the story is different and the ending leaves the door open for many sequels.

It is an enjoyable film and, if I were not a bit anti-Tom, I would probably find no fault. However, his character’s flip-flop from amoral opportunist to nascent hero is a bit of a leap. Even though Annabelle Wallis plays an archeologist (with secrets) her role is really just the girl who gets rescued –not enough when Wonder Woman is on in the cinema next door.

However, the bigger picture becomes much more interesting.

Universal Studios have a cunning plan to combat the Marvel and DC carpet-bombing of cinema screens, the Dark Universe. In the studio’s back catalogue lurk some of the most iconic screen monsters and (erm) differently-abled creatures: the Invisible Man, the Wolfman, Frankenstein’s Bride and more. The best, in my opinion, were created by director James Whale. His story is told in Gods and Monsters which (wow, look at that segue) starred Brendan Fraser.

Their plan is to give these creatures a modern makeover and a sort of Unjustice League to belong to, or fight against. This organisation will be headed by a character from this film, Russell Crowe’s Dr. Henry Jekyll (yes, that Jekyll). His Mr. Hyde talks like Bricktop and rumbles like the Hulk – could be fun if he gets a chance to do more of this.

The next film planned for the Dark Universe is The Bride but the actress to play the original badass girl has not been announced yet. However, in some serious marketing, other characters have been announced (Johnny Depp as the Invisible Man and Javier Bardem as the Wolf) and Danny Elfman has written the overarching theme music. Time will tell but I think the challenge will be to make something new, not just a modern copy.

They also have a tagline, because that’s important:

Welcome to a new world of gods and monsters.

Welcome to the Dark Universe. 

I think it’s a shame Sofia Boutella won’t be part of the gang. Her mummy was the absolute highlight of the film for me. I could definitely see more of her supernatural, gymnastic, evil, girl boss.

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Ros Hull

Roslyn is a writer and storyteller who loves all things Canberra, her family, sci fi and movies – but not in that order. She has worked in museum education since 2001 and has a passion for imparting knowledge to others. Writing is her happy place, particularly if there is a dog at her feet and a coffee in her hand. More about the Author

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