America’s Greatest Living Movie Star graces our multiplexes once more this week in The Mummy. This is not, as some seem hellbent on insisting, a sequel, remake, or reboot of the Brendan Fraser franchise. Please stop saying that people who are. It, in the same way Fraser’s Mummy was, is a recapturing of an existing IP that resembles neither the 40’s Mummy that originated the brand nor any other Mummy movie that has come since. This is also why I’m not watching either Fraser starring Mummy films. That and they are pretty bad. Yes, including the first one.
Early buzz is not good on this one, alas, making it most likely the second failed attempt at Universal launching what they are now calling the “Dark Universe” or the Universal Monsters Universe. And, honestly, that’s probably fine. Not all movies need to be part of a shared cinematic universe, I promise.
PEOPLE LIKE US and MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE III (But mostly M:I III)
There’s really not much to say about the slight family tearjerker People Like Us that was also The Mummy director Alex Kurtzman’s directorial debut. However, feel free to use it as fodder any time anyone cites Patty Jenkins’ directing of Wonder Woman as a “risk.” Her’s was the fourth in a interconnected film universe and her previous effort was an Academy Award nominated affair that netted an Oscar for its lead, Charlize Theron. Kurtzman is the second attempt at a first film in a prospective Universal Monsters universe directed by a man who’s only previous directorial effort was a straight ahead film with little visual flair that did not make back its budget at the box office. So, you know, let’s talk “risk,” shall we?
Due to the slightness of People, I decide to look back on a previous Kurtzman/Cruise collaboration, this one with Kurtzman as the screenwriter: Mission: IMPOSSIBLE III.
The J.J. Abrams led affair pulled the franchise back on track after the dire M:I II with a humanized Hunt—married, living life as an instructor at the academy, a spy no more. Philip Seymour Hoffman is delicious as the villain—and briefly as Cruise's Hunt—and while the film does dangle Michelle Moynihan as little more than a damsel in distress for most of the running time, it also effectively captures how ill-suited the human bullet Ethan Hunt is for civilian life. Even though the end seems to reassure us that there's a happily ever after, every moment prior indicates this is temporary at best.
To speak to Kurtzman’s script, the plot is appropriately knotty without being confusing—not an easy feat for the Mission: Impossible franchise. Of the M:I films, it probably has the juiciest dialogue too, or at least it seems that way when Hoffman digs his teeth into the material. While not the best or my favorite of the Impossible films it remains a highly recommended treat for me.