‘Welcome to a new world of gods and monsters.’ Not a bad tagline, if we’re being honest with ourselves. It lays out a well-known, simple and effective premise: a state of equilibrium is shattered, an alien Other is introduced to the narrative, and it’s up to our as-yet-unknown heroes to restore balance by the final act of the film.
When the teaser trailer for Kurtzman’s reboot of the franchise landed a few days ago, we had 16 seconds of sneak-peeks into the chaos of a woman woken up early from her beauty sleep. Now that the full-length feature trailer has appeared online, I’m not so sure that we needed those extra 2 minutes of screen time. Very little extra has been revealed, instead the material we had already seen was embellished with contextualisation and a smattering of character introductions which point towards the basic structure of the film.
Tom Cruise is a haunted man, clearly at war within himself for disturbing an ancient power that should have been left to sleep. His companion, a beautiful woman with touseled blonde hair and a keen eye behind reading glasses (Annabelle Wallis), presents the contrast to the unbridled and dangerous femme fatale of the reborn Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella). Indeed, duality appears to be the main theme of the film as we’ve been introduced to it thus far.
Good and Evil; dead and undead; man versus woman; blonde versus brunette; overman versus everyman. When binaries collide, you have the basis for a romping action feature.
What can we expect from this film? From the establishing action excerpts, we can expect a lot of high-octane visual effects to create the action-impact for the feature. Planes hurtle towards the ground after a cloud of birds attack in a formation that would make Hitchcock wince with sympathy. As for the sequence in the morgue, I’m not entirely certain what to make of that clip: evidently the film is predicated upon the pivotal trend of rebirth for a higher purpose, but the exact nature of Cruise’s miraculous return to the mortal realm has yet to be fleshed out, so to speak.
I don’t think a particularly challenging narrative is going to be high on the list of expectations for this feature, but film fans might be interested to conduct a compare and contrast exercise with this film against others in the Mummy franchise. We certainly get the feeling that Tom Cruise does not have a good track record with public transport, if the plane crash and tussle with a London bus is anything to go by. In this, there is a humorous nod to the shenanigans on the double-decker bus in Sommers’s The Mummy Returns (2001). We also recognise the various tropes of innumerable iconic geographical landmarks being swept off the virtual map by an irate Being with more malignant power than is strictly healthy for human kind. In the character of Russell Crowe’s Dr Henry Jekyll, the mysterious academic figure with a multi-faceted purpose, it’s fairly safe to predict a narrative arc as volatile as his namesake.
We’ve got a way to go before the release date, and hopefully we’ll see a little more of the plot of this latest interpretation of the franchise in future releases. For now, I can see this being a rather fun popcorn flick for the summer months.
Catch the trailer here on imdb.com.