The Mummy: The creation of yet another universe

Mummy movies have not only been successful in movie history, but they tend to return with a new focus every time. The last production of the monster, which is still part of our memoirs, is that with actor Brendan Fraser, in which a curse causes a powerful priest, who had been punished for having a love affair with Pharaoh’s wife, wake up thousands from years later to haunt the planet earth.

This film was directed by Stephen Sommers in 1999 and brought the style and structure of adventure films in the style of Indiana Jones for the mummy, something that proved to be a success choice of Universal Studios, and that counted on several sequences. The feature that also innovated in creating spectacular special effects for the time was however based on another The Mummy, directed by Karl Freund in 1932. This version of the famous monster, which was also produced by Universal Studios, focuses more on the genre of horror. However, the great success of this old movie was not only the fact that the monster finally gained space on the big screen, but mainly developed a kind of cinematic formula based on cursed characters that is used until today.

This is no different for the new production of The Mummy, directed by Alex Kurtzman and that brings Tom Cruise as main character. Although the feature brings many differences from previous versions, the fact of being produced by Universal Studios gives an indication that it is more a remake, practically a centennial remake in a cinema immersed in many others.

The film updates the figure of the mummy and the concept of cursed characters for the present day. To begin with, the monster is now a woman, or more precisely a princess who had been buried in the desert and wakes up thousands of years later to terrorize the world. The female focus comes in the wake of the popularity of many current films, such as Wonder Woman, who try to bring to life ancient story structures through their characters.

Also, if the film version of 1932 was horror-oriented and the 1999 version had the adventure genre as a focus, this time around The Mummy seems to be part of a common universe in today’s cinema: the universe of superheroes. Even if the protagonist, Nick Morton, does not have superpowers, being a soldier who heaps old artifacts to make money, the kind of cinematography, special effects and acting immediately connects us with those of superheroes.

This is no coincidence. After the profit of The Avengers, which brought famous heroes and who already owned films such as Captain America, Hulk and Iron Man, for the same film, great studios began to run for the same success. Warner Brothers, with D.C. Comics, already has the Justice League in mind, which will feature Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman. Now it’s Universal’s turn to find their niche and the studio is betting on what they call “Dark Universe,” the universe that features Dracula, Frankenstein and the mummy. Perhaps the next step for a cinema that lives of remakes is the creation of more and more universes where its personages have films of its own.

(article translated from the original version in portuguese, by Google Translate)

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