After hearing that the Dark Universe is in trouble, I’m even more convinced Universal Studios shouldn’t have started with The Mummy.
Long-time readers of Hypable may remember I was opposed to idea of a Mummy remake from the very beginning, but like any good pop culture junkie, I braved the theaters and saw it anyway.
It was a decent action flick, but Universal needed to learn some lessons before they jumped into the next film.
We all know Tom Cruise’s The Mummy was not a remake of the beloved Brendan Fraser film from 1999, but rather a reboot of the Universal Monster movies from the 1930s and ’40s. Having recently watched all six of the original films, it’s surprising that the studio decided to start with The Mummy.
For one, since the 1999 version of The Mummy is near and dear to so many hearts, the studio was automatically going to run into push-back from fans who didn’t want to see yet another remake they felt shouldn’t have been made.
Starting elsewhere would have allowed Universal to ease their audience into the idea that The Mummy was being remade. It would also allow them to show that this version is not in the same vein as Fraser’s comedy.
Going back to the original films, The Mummy doesn’t stick out as one of the best, most memorable, or even most inventive stories. Sure, the mummy coming to life in the beginning of the film certainly sends a shiver down the spine, but for the rest of the movie, actor Boris Karloff spends the majority of his time outside the creeptastic mummy makeup.
On the other hand, Frankenstein and Dracula, which kicked off the original franchise, are much more iconic. These two films established the look and mannerisms of these monsters for generations to come. They are the basis for the creatures we’re familiar with today. Why wouldn’t you start with your heavy hitters?
Perhaps it has more to do with Tom Cruise’s character and his journey than the monster itself, but this universe is based around the creatures for a reason. They’re the draw. We want to see how Universal Studios will update them for a new generation.
The bottom line here is that Universal is playing this all backwards. As far as I’m concerned, Frankenstein was the only place to start. It would’ve launched the franchise with a classic character that hasn’t been as overplayed as Dracula or your common werewolf.
It also would have eased the audience into this universe with a story based in science, allowing them to slowly make their way into the world of the supernatural as well.
The second film to be released in this universe was supposed to be The Bride of Frankenstein, although I’m not sure why they would introduce her character before they established Frankenstein’s Monster.
Universal seems to be going about this all wrong, and the only way to make sure this shared universe doesn’t die a fiery death is to reassess how they should tackle these stories in a way that will speak directly to the interests of their audience.
Maybe I’m just too used to the nuances of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but I, at least, would love to see the Dark Universe start with a smaller, more individual, grounded story and build to something bigger and more supernatural that has worldwide consequences.