Trailer Thoughts: The Mummy (2017)

So The Mummy Trailer dropped a few days ago.  Nobody seems to be talking about it.  It certainly isn’t generating the same amount of discussion as that Spiderman: Homecoming trailer.  Hell, Disney and Marvel are so confident in that thing they’ve already announced the release date of the SEQUEL in 2019!

Let’s go back to the Mummy trailer.  For those of you that don’t know, this is the first movie in a planned cinematic universe (already hate that term) from Universal based on their classic movie monsters.  The movies will all be intertwined, with characters in one film showing up in another.  You know, sort of the like the original Universal Monster movies.  I’ve had a few days to marinate on my thoughts of this first trailer.  I’m going to run through them in a simple Pros and Cons style list.  If you haven’t seen the trailer, check it out:

Pros

–  That sarcophagus was genuinely creepy.  I don’t know exactly why, but kudos to the designer of that thing.  It really gave me a sense of uneasiness whenever it was onscreen.

– Sofia Boutella as the titular Mummy seems like an inspired choice.  She was one of my favorite things about this year’s excellent Star Trek Beyond and her career trajectory is skyrocketing towards stardom.  In many ways, she reminds me of Zoe Saldana as an actress unafraid to take on geeky, make up heavy, genre-film, roles.  Plus, I like them turning the Mummy’s gender on its heads.  It opens up the story to potentially go anywhere.  I’m very curious to see what her motives are.  Typically, the Mummy films are about tragic lost loves and I wonder if Boutella’s Mummy will also be seeking to rekindle an old flame.

– I liked the overall sense of mystery.  Tom Cruise is the main character, but he is clearly harboring some sort of dark secret.  Hell, I’m not even sure if he is going to turn out to be a hero.  They also showed Russell Crowe as Dr. Henry Jekyll and apparently he is part of some ancient secret society.  It seems like ripping off the cinematic universe wasn’t the only thing Universal pilfered from Marvel.  They are doing some extensive comicbook-esque world-building and it looks like they’re thinking one, two, or maybe even three movies ahead with the story telling.  If done right it could work out beautifully.

– Tom Cruise.  I love him as an actor, despite the fact that he is certifiably nuts in real life.  Say what you want about the man, but he might be the last true Hollywood Movie Star.  He’s a relic from a bygone era.  The reason I’m excited for Cruise’s involvement is that he is a legit film historian.  The man lives, eats, and breathes film.  His whole life is practically dedicated to his craft.  You don’t think he knows what it means to be the man to help restore the Universal Movie Monsters to greatness?  Cruise is acutely aware of the importance and weight of the classic films’ heritage.  Even though he doesn’t look it, the man is pushing sixty years old!  As an actor entering the twilight of his career I’m sure he looking for one last big franchise to cement his legacy.  If he can add his name to the likes of Karloff, Legosi, Chaney Jr, and Raines he will achieve cinematic immortality.  I’m sure it’s something in the back of his mind.

Well, that’s all the good I took away from the trailer.  Onto the bad!

Cons

–  The inclusion of Cruise also means more action.  I’m fine with action, but the trailer went overboard with a plane crash sequence, Cruise spinning through a bus or something, and scenes that look more at home in a Mission Impossible film.  I understand that Universal wants a big, flashy, Summer Blockbuster, but I’m hoping the movie is slower in pace than the trailer leads me to believe.

– I HATED the tone of the trailer.  It comes eerily close to the “grimdark” bullshit that is currently poisoning the DC cinematic universe.  The trailer did evoke a sense of uneasiness at times, but it also seemed devoid of color or any joy.  I know they are going for a bombastic, horror, adventure, with this film, but I hope they don’t suck all the fun out of it.

– Another thing I’m weary of is the over abundance of CG effects.  The Mummy’s pupils splitting, the huge sandstorm, the plane crash and more were all done with “seen it a million times before” CG effects.  One of the biggest aspects of good horror and especially the classic Universal Monsters was the reliance on ground breaking practical effects.  If these movies are just filled with cheap looking CG effects then horror fans will turn away in droves.

– Finally, I hate the move to a modern setting.  Listen, I’m trying to be hopeful about it, but it doesn’t fit with the Universal Monsters.  When I think of The Mummy my mind is flooded with images of cobweb covered tombs, hot deserts, pyramids, great archaeological expeditions, and Egyptian/Gothic style horror.  This trailer didn’t make me think I was watching anything related to the classic Universal Monsters.  Instead, memories of World War Z danced about in my head.  I HATE everything about World War Z.  This Mummy trailer appeared to be using WWZ as its template.  I know that film made a crap load of money, but it also SUCKED hard.

Honestly, of all the cons the modern setting is the biggest deal breaker for me.  I don’t know if I can get past that.  Also, I can’t shake the feeling that this seems like a rip-off/unoriginal product.  My only hope is that the man running these reboots, Alex Kurtzman, has stated that the original Universal Monster films are part of this  new universe.  If that is indeed the case, then I’ve come up with a theory:  These new films are taking place in the modern era because they’re actually time specific sequels to the events of the original Universal Monster movies from roughly a century ago.  If that turns out to be true, then holy shit my mind will be blown!  If this Mummy movie is intricately weaved into those old movies and is actually a direct sequel to the Karloff original it COULD be amazing.

So what did you all think of the new Mummy trailer?  Did it live up to your expectations?  Did you even bother watching it?  If you were to ask me based on this trailer if I would buy a ticket, my response would be a resounding, “NO!”  However, I’m curious enough at this point to see what Universal is doing.  They haven’t had a successful classic Monster film since the Brendan Fraiser Mummy and I can’t blame them for going in a drastic different direction.  I hope it turns out well and that this is just a shitty, shitty trailer.

 

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