Jun 11, 2017

A Dark Beginning for the Dark Universe

Anyone who has been online this week has probably come across the many bad reviews being put out for Universal Studios' newest incarnation of The Mummy.  It's even currently sitting at a not so fresh 17% on Rotten Tomatoes, though if you look closer the audience score is actually 45%.  That's probably a bit more accurate and fair.

The studio has decided to create its own Dark Universe, likely inspired by the success of such franchises as Marvel's MCU, and bring to life the army of classic movie monsters it just happens to own the rights to.  The Mummy is the first step into this new overlapping world and gone is the campiness of the 1999 Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz romp along with the brooding full body wraps of the classic 1959 version with Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing. Instead, the film is full of clear visuals, crisp visual effects and surprisingly not horrible acting.

I went into the film not expecting much, I will be honest.  I knew what people were saying and I have also grown somewhat tired of the recent offerings from Tom Cruise, action hero. I can say though, quite honestly, I was pleasantly surprised.  Yes, some parts almost have a slightly desperate quality where you can tell the team making it wanted to put in everything they could in the hopes of making it successful but nothing jarring.  The story's main antagonist in the vengeful Egyptian princess Ahmanet is carried off really well by actress Sofia Boutella and the sweet looking blonde from the trailers, played by Annabelle Wallis, has more depth that I was expecting from the trashing her character was getting in the reviews.  To the point where I'm really hoping they intend to branch her out and make her the main lead and tie in for the next story.  I think both the character and the actress have more to give if they are given the chance and the script to work with.   Even Cruise manages to give some good comedic timing moments and character development. 

It definitely has some flaws but I watched it and was entertained.  There were some jumps, some snickers, some moments of genuine surprise and I enjoyed seeing nods both to what is alluded to for the rest of the Universe and to earlier imaginings of the story.

The movie is no Iron Man, breaking barriers and leaving audiences astounded, but its more enjoyable and entertaining than it's being made out to be. If Universal can step its game up a bit for the next installment, it may actually be able to get more audiences on side and build this Dark Universe it's hoping for.

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