The Mummy has not necessarily delivered the critical and audience response Universal Studios may have been looking for with their first entry in their “Dark Universe” film franchise. The Mummy, many people have been saying, was based on the 1999 The Mummy film starring Brendan Fraser, however, that’s not necessarily the case. The film actually has nothing to do with the Brendan Fraser films and the plots of the two franchises have virtually nothing to do with one another. The key was to reboot The Mummy film franchise, which started with the 1932 Boris Karloff The Mummy film. Each iteration of the film’s franchise has been different and the Tom Cruise-era certainly continues that.
While Brendan Fraser played Rick O’Connell, an adventurer and former French Foreign Legion serviceman, Tom Cruise plays a character named Nick Morton, who is not necessarily likable for the first portion of the movie. Morton is a former US military officer, who is now a soldier of fortune. The term is defined as “a non-commissioned soldier willing to serve any state or person who will hire him; a mercenary.” Morton is not necessarily the most moral character as he tells his love interest, Jennifer Halsey (Annabelle Wallis), that he does not remember from a previous week where they dated.
Morton also plunders treasure as he and his friend, Sergeant Chris Vail (Jake Johnson), serve as soldiers. In the case of Morton, he has no allegiance to anyone. During one time where he is plundering, he accidentally awakens Princess Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella), who seeks to place the spirit of Set, an ancient Egyptian god, in Morton’s body. He actually survives a plane crash and begins being tortured by her psychologically. At one point, when Ahmanet controls Vail, it’s as if he is high on stimulants. The film certainly presses a bit of a psychological mind trip.
This plot is a tad different from Fraser having to battle mummies during his expeditions. The Mummy is also more intense (and should have been more so) despite its swashbuckling adventure tone throughout much of it. Alex Kurtzman, the film’s director, sort of admitted the Fraser films may be in canon during an interview. “So, all of those films are part of the history of the Universal monsters, and as such I thought, rather than say it’s not part of the canon, let’s say, ‘No it is part of the canon; we’re just taking it somewhere new,’” Kurtzman said.
He both said, in this quote, that while the Fraser films could be considered a part of the “Dark Universe” canon, they have absolutely nothing to do with the story that is being told with Morton and Ahmanet. It’s a completely different storyline. An interesting difference the film has, too, from many movies Cruise has actually done in the past is the way the film and storyline were constructed. “We have over 30 years of knowing Tom Cruise is going to save the day, in order to make the movie unpredictable I loved the idea that suddenly his control over the situation would be taken away from him,” Kurtzman said. “That got me excited, it felt like it served two purposes in that it honored a key Mummy power but it also made a Tom Cruise movie feel different and interesting.”
While The Mummy may not have performed up to par with the standards others expected for the film, it doesn’t seem Universal Studios has any plans to pause their “Dark Universe.” Even if Jake Johnson’s character took stimulants before he went on the plane with Ahmanet’s corpse.
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