Thursday, 4 May 2017

POP! Movies – The Mummy (2017)

The new version of The Mummy is on its way next month, and I have no idea whether the finished film will be any good. I hope it is – because I love the original and the 1999 remake – but I have reservations. For me, Tom Cruise is a bit hit and miss. And the design work we’ve seen in the trailers is a little dubious. That new sarcophagus does not look Egyptian, which immediately puts the tone in stark contrast with the other two iterations. Nonetheless, I’ll wait till the final product for a verdict.    

I suspect there won’t be a ton of merchandise for the film; it’s a new franchise, and it looks like it’s playing more adult than the Brendan Fraser film. Nonetheless, Funko have taken the plunge and produced some tie-in POPs. Originally there were meant to be three; Nick Morton, Ahmanet and the subject of today’s review, the titular Mummy. Curiously, Nick Morton has been cancelled prior to release.    

Though I’ve been pretty ambivalent about most of the design we’ve seen from the film, I do quite like the undead version of the Mummy. She’s wrapped in her grave clothing and her skin is an ashy grey. a reasonably good update on the Boris Karloff look from the 1930s. Given that they cast Sofia Boutella in the role, I appreciate that they didn’t want to go for the totally decomposed look.  

Ironically, if the Egyptians wanted to curse you, they would have done anything but preserve your body. Ancient Egyptians deliberately preserved the body to avoid the “second death” – dying in the afterlife, which was permanent. Want to destroy someone’s soul permanently in Ancient Egypt? Destroy their body and all the images of them. It’s no coincidence that we’ve never found Akhenaten’s mummy, and virtually every image of him ever discovered has been vandalised. 

So it’s a solid POP; my only real nit is the writing on his face, arms and body – it looks kind of like hieratic, though there looks to be elements of cuneiform in there too. I understand not wanting to repeat the past, but it’s almost like the movie is embarrassed to be Egyptian, which is incredibly silly.

So, good POP. But what about everything else? Ultimately, Universal is taking a risk with The Mummy. It’s intended to launch their new cinematic universe…which in itself is an even bigger risk. The Brendan Fraser films were reasonably well received, but the law of diminishing returns kicked in pretty quickly. Not to mention that tastes have changed, and the new version looks to pander more to the superhero audience. Understandable given the current film climate – but will the concept/s transfer? Iconic as the original Universal Monsters are (and will continue to be) I think the biggest risk of all is probably audience apathy. We’ll find out come June.   

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