We all know by now that yes, the Universal’s planned DARK UNIVERSE is on a rocky start due to 2017’s majorly panned THE MUMMY flopping. Yes, I know the production and marketing was rushed and Tom Cruise was one of the reasons why the movie failed, but I want to pitch something different that would have made Universal’s DARK UNIVERSE start off successfully.
Keep in mind that I will be talking about some spoilers for 2017’s THE MUMMY, but I will also be talking about my own ideas.
1 – LESS WORLD BUILDING, MORE FOCUS
The first reason why the movie failed is because of the movie’s reliance on focusing on building a bigger world instead of it’s main plot (that being the whole awakening Mummy plot and the main characters trying to stop her). But if the movie went a different direction, we would have gotten something similar to the first IRON MAN movie, where you think that the whole movie is a stand-alone story, but there are subtle references that you may not get during the first viewing. If that were the main focus, then we would have gotten an awesome movie. Instead, we got a hand belonging to the Creature of the Black Lagoon as a throw in your face Easter egg.
2 – BETTER CHARACTERS = MORE RELATABLE
Now, who emphasized with these characters? No one? Well, they were lazily written with the actors trying to give their best. If the movie was different, however, the character’s motivations would be more defined and the Mummy’s powers would have been explained more instead of giving you random immortal Cruise and his zombie friend. I also wouldn’t have minded if the film also gave Doctor Jekyll a more clearer motivation instead of making him the Nick Fury of the franchise.
3 – LESS CREATIVE CONTROL FROM TOM CRUISE
This one is more obvious, but who here agrees that Tom Cruise was given too much creative control and ruined the film? Now, I do like Tom Cruise and his performances are cool as well, but when he is given the wrong role, then chances are, the movie will not be as great, even though you try to get millions of Cruise fans in the seats. Also, about the creative control, I think that Kurtzman should have been given his creativity from the get go without help from Cruise.
4 – REPLACEMENT CAST?
The cast of the film did do their best to work with a terrible screenplay, but if there were a better script and a better cast, who would I have picked for the film? For starters, imagine a big budget film lead by Manu Bennett (ARROW’s Slade Wilson). The film would have been more awesome with Bennett in Cruise’s role. I also would have gotten Margot Robbie (or maybe Annabelle Wallis if she were given more personality in the film) to portray Jenny Halsey. Annabelle Wallis did try to give her best, but the character came off as bland and not very interesting. But imagine if either of these actresses were given the role and were told to give the film a bit of personality to their characters. Sofia Boutella as The Mummy can stay as it is and so can Russell Crowe’s version of Mr. Hyde/Doctor Jekyll.
5 – SCARIER, LESS ACTION
The film itself felt like an action film from beginning to end, but what if Universal just made it scarier instead of it feeling like an action film? The Universal Monsters are supposed to be scary, but lately, I felt like Universal are trying to make their monster films feel like the next big summer blockbuster. I hope that the next project Universal works on, they’ll take advice from the audience and make a true, down to earth, horror film.
What are your thoughts? What do you think could have been improved and what do you think will happen to the Dark Universe’s future? Make sure to contact me on Twitter (@speedingahead) and we can talk. This has been Zac, writing for Discussing Film.