the mummy synopsis

I tend to sound like a broken record whenever I write about Universal‘s new slate of films that will unite all of their classic monster characters under one shared universe. I love the Universal monsters and think they are among the greatest figures in the history of cinema, but I remain unconvinced that a Marvel-style franchise is the best way to bring them back. Even with many talented folks working on these projects behind the scenes, it can’t help but smell…well, a little sweaty and a little desperate. But I will give anything to be wrong and for these new movies to be good.

And with that out of the way, it’s time to focus on the business at hand: the new synopsis for director Alex Kurtzman’s upcoming take on The Mummy, which stars Sofia Boutella as a new take on this iconic monster and Tom Cruise as her human nemesis.

What the synopsis lacks in detail, it more than makes up for in grandiose proclamations and certain word choices that I will probably spend far too much time pondering. Let’s just dive into this thing, shall we?

Tom Cruise headlines a spectacular, all-new cinematic version of the legend that has fascinated cultures all over the world since the dawn of civilization: The Mummy.

Thought safely entombed in a crypt deep beneath the unforgiving desert, an ancient queen (Sofia Boutella of Kingsman: The Secret Service and Star Trek Beyond) whose destiny was unjustly taken from her is awakened in our current day, bringing with her malevolence grown over millennia and terrors that defy human comprehension.

From the sweeping sands of the Middle East through hidden labyrinths under modern-day London, The Mummy brings a surprising intensity and balance of wonder and thrills in an imaginative new take that ushers in a new world of gods and monsters.

That central paragraph provides the most useful information, although there’s still not much to go on. The original mummy played by Boris Karloff in the 1932 original and by Arnold Vosloo in the 1999 remake was Imhotep, an ancient Egyptian high priest who attempts to resurrect his dead lover using dark magic and is mummified alive for his troubles. That storyline could easily be gender-swapped for Boutella’s take on the character, but her “destiny [being] unjustly taken from her” sounds like it has other implications. The fact that she’s described as an “ancient queen” and not a priestess suggests that this classic origin story is in for a bit of a shake-up.

Not mentioned: Russell Crowe’s new character, who may very well pop up in other movies throughout this new cinematic universe.

The synopsis also highlights globetrotting adventure and suggests the formation of the larger monsters universe with that whole “ushers in a new world of gods and monsters” thing. My concern here remains that Universal and Kurtzman will emphasize action over horror and this synopsis does little to move the needle in either direction on that front. Still, I’m willing to forgive a lot if these movies treat the monsters as tragic, haunted figures rather than straightforward monsters. They’re too rich and complicated to be reduced to villains.

The Mummy is set to open on June 9, 2017. And there is a lot more where that on the way, especially since Universal has scheduled monster movies through 2019.

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