While it may not be apparent to the general public, Universal Pictures, once the king of the horror genre, is trying to rebuild its niche in horror films. They have made previous attempts in recent years with the Brandan Fraser-led “Mummy” movies, “The Wolfman” featuring the star power of Benicio Del Toro and “Dracula Untold,” starring Luke Evans.
Universal Pictures is branding the new division Dark Universe under the direction of Alex Kurtzman (“The Mummy”). He may be previously known to audiences as the screenwriter of the “The Transformers” films and in other capacities on films in the “Spider-Man” and the “Star Trek” universes.
Universal has a built in audience for “The Mummy” with the star power of Tom Cruise and Oscar-winner Russell Crowe (“Gladiator,” “A Beautiful Mind”). Crowe plays both Dr. Henry Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. A stand-alone movie starring these characters is rumored to be in the works in the near future.
Kurtzman’s “Mummy” gives audiences their first female-led mummy tale in which Sophia Boutella’s character, Ahmanet, wants to take over the world. If Boutella seems like a familiar face, she previously had supporting roles in “The Kingsman: The Secret Service” in 2014 and “Star Trek Beyond” in 2016.
Some critics have said this is the worst Tom Cruise movie ever, but in my opinion he’s done worse; namely 1983’s teen romantic comedy “Losin’ It” and 1988’s slice-of-life (and boring) drama, “Cocktail.” More recently, Cruise was the lead Stacee Jaxx in the annoying “Rock of Ages” in 2012.
Jake Johnson’s character Chris Vail makes some entertaining appearances by popping up in various stages of decomposition to interact with Cruise’s Nick Morton. It’s a throwback to a John Landis device in “An American Werewolf in London” where a rotting Griffin Dunne interacts with David Naughton’s portrayal of the werewolf who bit him.
Thrown in for good measure, “The Mummy” includes references to other mummy movies of the past in which the audience glances at one of the unlocked books that is used to send one of the villains back to the underworld.
Johnny Depp is rumored to star in an update of “The Invisible Man” in 2020 as part of the Dark Universe franchise enterprise. Also, we might just see Angelina Jolie as “The Bride of Frankenstein” and Dwayne Johnson as “The Wolfman.”
“The Mummy” is a fun ride with the hokey feel of Stephen Sommers’ mummy flicks, but Kuirtzman’s rendition is more morose and gruesome.