By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)
Playing in theatres June 9, 2017
All screen captures are copyright to Universal Pictures.
Yes, I’m suitably excited for this new take of The Mummy. It’s definitely a story with potential leanings to ancient astronaut conspiracies and pacts with alien gods. When the military is involved, even a shade of the original movie Stargate can not go unnoticed when it comes to unearthing corpses that should be best left buried.
Nick Morton (Tom Cruise) is the tactical leader of an operation which unearthed an Egyptian sarcophagus from deep within the Earth (always not a good sign). It’s been airlifted by a helicopter and later put on a transport plane. This American team is taking it home, perhaps to a nearby base. The details of the cavern and coffin are very alien-like. The headdress looks fin-like, and perhaps this look is why part of the film takes to the sea to find the coffins of the followers of this cult.
The design looks like a product from H.R. Giger’s world with empty eye sockets and a gaping mouth. Neither of which are a trademark of a traditional coffin from the Valley of the Kings. The last time any tomb or coffin is defaced is when Egypt wants to forget about a ruler or particular individual. Historically, that fell upon the heretic King Akhenaten when he converted a nation to rule the Atum during his reign. Upon his death and after his burial, all signs of his rule was dismantled and hidden. The desert sands did its job and very little of Akhetaten remains. Today, the region is known as Amarna.
The worry Morton has is huge. Just what they found can change everything people knows about ancient history. That’s the feel that I get when seeing him looking at the half-egg shaped enclosure than the MP’s or the tech Jenny Halsey (Annabelle Wallis) in the cargo plane. She’s listening to music and tapping away on her laptop.
Soon, noises are tapping outside. The pilots are calling out a code as birds are slamming onto the plane, knocking out an engine. Mayday should be heard, and immediately I’m guessing either the zombie inside or an external force from outside (who else can control crows and ravens?) wants this treasure. I’m inclined to believe Dracula is influencing them.
This fact is hard to say. Occam’s razor favours this lord of the undead and theory suggests this king needs a queen. He knows who is within is a powerful force of nature. Just like the zombie lords before this film, it’s said (from Stephen Sommer’s Mummy trilogy) those who rise from the Hom-Dai and is released, the ten plagues will be unleashed. At the same time, that walking dead is able to feast upon the organs and fluids of the living, giving it the ability to become fresh flesh again.
Should this explanation be the reason Ahmanet is looking as juicy as ever, this film sets the possibility that the previous film trilogy is not completely separate from this universe. Any Royal Egyptian corpse has the potential to be resurrected if the right spells are cast. Just how Morton survived a plane crash really needs an explanation. Perhaps the mummy has taken a shining to him and gave him a blessing of sorts. He was awake just before the crash, and he did say, “I saw her. She is real.” before “dying.”
Just why he came out of a coma and the others did not (presumedly) may suggest there is something special about him.
The montage of the wreckage has Russell Crowe providing the first bit of dialogue, “Welcome to a new world of Gods and Monsters,” and Ahmanet’s laughter following, the threat sounds very exciting. She has been awakened to a new world, and see her saunter away from the camera with cult followers bowing before her shows to audiences why Morton is very worried. To excavate her tomb was a very bad idea, and how just how Dr Jekyll (Crowe) factors in will require seeing this movie in full. His lab looks like a converted observatory.
One telling detail this full trailer offers is the rite the Egyptian priestess is performing before wax effigies of humans. Is there another god hiding in the midst, or what kind of spell was she casting before being caught and entombed forever? Online summaries are mixed to declare if she is of royal blood or not. Some are saying Queen and others, Princess. The trailer and screenshot here show she is at least a member of a magical cult. The backstory is what I will be most curious about. The very brief moment hints as Western style black magic than a reconstruction of Egyptian polytheism.
Lots of action will be hovering over this horror style flick. The scares will be in how much of the world will get overturned by her than the vehicles she’s flipped at her foes, especially Morton. Just like the immortal Ethan Hawke, this new hero can take the punishment and keep on going. The fantasy of how long he can hold his breath in the underwater scene will be just as intense in the last Mission Impossible. These days, all the willing suspension of real world physics has to be considered. That includes two leads doing a lot of running and us as viewers wondering why they are not breaking a sweat. If there are any twists to be discovered, the secrets Jekyll is hiding is key.