Entering the Dark (Cinematic) Universe

Today I caught an a.m. showing of The Mummy.  It was either that or Pirates, and I just wasn’t up for 2 1/2 hours of pirate storytelling (perhaps later this week).  Brendan Fraser’s The Mummy Returns was one of my favorite movies for a long time (a great blend of humor and mystery).  Tom Cruise’s “take” feels nothing like that.  Which isn’t to say that the 2017 rendition of The Mummy is a bad movie.

Universal is up to something different this time around, hoping to craft a connected movie universe like the MCU or DCEU.  Here’s something of what they were going for and why.

The movie is dark, for sure.  That’s more of a setting thing that a tonal thing, though.  Some levity exists, but not in a “humorous sidekick” way (though there is something like an attempt at it).  And there is some universe building going on that doesn’t distract too much from the overall story.  (I’m really glad I didn’t have much exposure to spoilers before my viewing.)

The question at this point will be where the Dark Universe goes from here.  Lots of options, obviously.  There will supposedly be a new version of The Wolf Man running into theaters as well as a possible Bride of Frankenstein story.  I’m not sure how the performance of The Mummy will affect things, as it didn’t exactly break any box office records.

Still and all, an enjoyable movie: well-shot, well-acted, and mostly coherent.  I do wonder how well the sensibilities of the originals can translate into contemporary culture.  There’s definitely been a dilution of the brand over the last few decades.  Not a monstrous way to spend some of your Saturday morning, though.

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