Universal is releasing The Mummy next month, the first installment in the studio’s attempts to reanimate the classic Universal Monsters franchise. Today Universal announced that The Mummy, directed by writer Alex Kurtzman and starring Tom Cruise, Russell Crowe and Sofia Boutella, will begin the Dark Universe!
The second film in the series will be Bride of Frankenstein, to be helmed by Bill Condon (most recently of Beauty and the Beast. For my money Condon is an inspired choice for this picture, given his wonderful turn with the silly monsters of of Twilight Breaking Dawn: Part 1 and 2.
The last bit of new Universal news on the production side is that Johnny Depp will play the Invisible Man, and Javier Bardem Frankenstein’s Monster. No word yet on who will play his bride.
All of that is just casting and production news, though, and has no bearing on whether any of these films will be any good.
No, for that prediction, we go to this nugget:
At its organizing principle, Dark Universe films are connected by a mysterious multi-national organization known as Prodigium. Led by the enigmatic and brilliant Dr. Henry Jekyll, Prodigium’s mission is to track, study and—when necessary—destroy evil embodied in the form of monsters in our world. Working outside the aegis of any government, and with practices concealed by millennia of secrecy, Prodigium protects the public from knowledge of the evil that exists just beyond the thin membrane of civilized society…and will go to any length to contain it.
It’s hard to imagine a synopsis more awful than this.
That Universal’s great cinematic horror creations are being thrust into a franchise held up by a secret organization called Prodigium, that it will be anchored by Russell Crowe as Dr. Jekyll, that the unrelenting franchise requirements of self-propulsion based on too familiar writing and no endings that plagues our cinemas will now enter the horror world, it’s all so insufferable.
Not a single moment of this franchise needs to be seen to know that the Universal Monsters deserve better. I–like millions (probably)–love Universal’s monsters. They are the product of mad geniuses, like Carl Laemmle and James Whale, and digging them up as a chance to chase down the Marvel model with existing IP revamps via stupid interlocking storyworld concepts, well, it’s a shame.
Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe this will all work out and horror fans will get the horror movies they deserve. But, I’ve seen The Mummy trailer, and I highly doubt it.