Universal Pictures is looking back on its rich horror history again with an eye on rebooting "The Mummy" franchise. It's no surprise that another movie will be made considering the first three individually grossed over $400 million worldwide.
However, the last entry in Stephen Sommers's series, "The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor," was panned by both critics and moviegoers. It seemed the "Indiana Jones" action/adventure formula the director stuck to was wearing thin. A move away from Egypt also might have caused fans to rebel as well.
Although I found the third entry in the series to be an interesting change in storyline and scenery, Universal and franchise producer Sean Daniel feel it's time for a change. They've hired screenwriter Jon Spaihts to take "The Mummy" legend in a different direction.
If his name sounds familiar to movie buffs, it's because Spaihts just appeared on Variety's list of 10 Screenwriters to Watch in 2012. He also co-wrote Ridley Scott's "Prometheus" with Damon Lindelof, putting Spaihts on the short list of people to work with for many Hollywood producers.
According to Variety, Spaihts addressed some of the changes he's looking to incorporate into the new version of "The Mummy." It sounds like we might see a return to the frightful flavor of the classic "Mummy" films of the 1930s and 1940s.
"I see it as the sort of opportunity I had with 'Prometheus:' to go back to a franchise's roots in dark, scary source material and simultaneously open it up to an epic scale we haven't seen before," he said.
It would be great to see a reboot of "The Mummy" series that takes more of a gothic horror turn, much like 2010's "The Wolfman" did. That was a great mix of classic Hammer horror gore, Universal Classic Monster flare, and the scenic beauty of a period piece.
I can imagine a movie filmed on location with less CGI and visual flash than the Brendan Fraser ones. It could be a minimalist approach to the legend and not rely on armies of undead warriors, scarab beetles digitally devouring people, and devoid of giant sandstorms and walls of water attempting to swallow escaping characters. The new "Mummy" could take pointers from the 1932 version with Boris Karloff, which relied more on atmosphere and lighting than effects.
The only thing I didn't understand about Spaihts's comment was the part about "open(ing) it up to an epic scale we haven't seen before." How much more epic can you get than what Sommers did with his three movies? They looked like Cecil B. DeMille's "The Ten Commandments" with CGI monsters. How much more epic can you get than global treks through London, the deserts of Egypt, the ancient world of China, and the frigid cold of the Himalayas? If Sommers's movies had one thing, it was the "epic" element.
I never had any doubt we would see a new "Mummy" movie at some point. The billion dollar-plus success of the first three films combined with the continuing good fortune of "The Scorpion King" spinoff and its two direct-to-DVD sequels demanded another entry in the series be made. It will be interesting to see who the studio and producers recruit to star and direct in the movie.
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Eric Shirey is the founder and former editor of Rondo Award nominated movie news websites MovieGeekFeed.com and TheSpectralRealm.com. His work has been featured on Yahoo!, DC Comics, StarWars.com, and other entertainment websites. Eric has interviewed and worked with actors like Harrison Ford, Brooke Shields, Gerard Butler, Brendan Fraser, Selena Gomez, and many more.
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