Universal has released the first official trailer for the reboot of The Mummy, and it left me with one burning question: if the tone, mythology, cast, crew, and everything else has been changed, why wasn’t the name?
If you missed the trailer, here it is:
According to everything we’ve heard so far, The Mummy will be based on one of the earliest Universal Mummy storylines from the 1930s. Sophia Boutella plays Ahmanet, an ancient queen who was somehow “robbed of her destiny” and is now coming to take back what she’s owed. Tom Cruise as Nick Morton is part of an archaeology team determined to stop her, which is complicated by the curse he caught off Ahmanet after she resurrected him.
The first Mummy was a Christopher Lee movie released in 1959. That movie was based on three earlier Universal mummy movies, and critics gave it pretty favorable reviews. It has a 100% rating over at Rotten Tomatoes, if that holds any weight with you. There were a few sequels that did okay. In 1999 Universal decided to reboot the franchise with the movie you probably think of first when you hear The Mummy. You know, that one with Brendan Fraser, Rachel Weisz, and some very angry sand. It made $416 million worldwide and inspired a series of lesser sequels including the Rock’s most embarrassing movie, The Scorpion King. There’s even a “Revenge of the Mummy” ride at a few Universal Studios theme parks.
Why, then, is Universal rebooting the whole shebang less than a decade after the last movie came out? The answer from The Mummy “2017 edition” director Alex Kurtzman is that they want to restructure the franchise to include other monster movies. We’ve known for a while that Universal wants in on that sweet shared universe action that DC and Marvel have. There’s going to be a series of movies: The Mummy, Dracula, The Invisible Man, The Wolfman, Frankenstein, The Bride of Frankenstein, and Van Helsing.
As I mentioned, this Mummy will have no connection storywise to the 1999 Mummy. They will share only a name, which is kind of weird. Marvel did do two Hulk movies five years apart, but they had the sense to change Hulk to The Incredible Hulk. Universal apparently wants us all to be extra confused when talking about movies. “I loved The Mummy! Oh wait, not that one, I mean the newer one… I mean the one with Fraser, okay?” There’s no reason to call this a “series reboot”. Universal could just give it a different name, say it’s a call-back to classic monster movies, and leave it at that.
Am I nitpicking here? Yes. Is it still annoying? You betcha.
The trailer has a slow overall tone that could trend into the realm of “pretentious CGI slogfest” rather than “thrilling monster melodrama”. I’m worried about the fact that we see precisely two ladies (a monster and a plot device). Also, Tom Cruise’s performance makes me think Jack Reacher had some bad luck on a vacation and monsters happened. (Wait, I’d actually be pretty excited to see that.)
That said, trailers are tiny slices of the whole movie experience and I’ve loved films with “meh” trailers before. I am a sucker for shared universes. Classic monster movies are my jam. The Mummy should be right up my alley, so I would love for this to be awesome and for the follow-on movies to be solid monster films.
All things considered, I’m going to reserve judgement until June 9th.
What did you think of the new trailer? Share your opinions in the comment section below!
Khai is a writer, anthropologist, and game enthusiast. She can talk fandom in five languages, and her proudest nerd moment so far was presenting original research titled “Gender, Sex, and Werewolves” at an international anthropological conference. Her first game, None For Me, is due out from Calico Games early next year.
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