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Rebourne: The Mummy (2017)

“Welcome to a New World of Gods and Monsters”

Directed by Alex Kurtzman
Starring Tom Cruise, Annabelle Wallis, Sofia Boutella, Jake Johnson, Courtney B. Vance, Marwan Kenzari, Russell Crowe

The Original

Boris Karlof. Not an Egyptian.

The first Mummy movie – and, as the original Universal Mummy, the direct ancestor of this current version – was The Mummy (1932), starring Boris Karloff as Imhotep, an Egyptian priest, mummified alive for the blasphemy of trying to restore his girlfriend Ankh-es-en-amon. Restored to life by someone carelessly reading aloud from a scroll, Imhotep seeks forthe reincarnation of his love, intending to kill and mummify her, so that Ankh-es-en-amon can be returned as an immortal mummy. In the nick of time, the girl in question remembers enough of her past life to call on Isis, whose statue ends Imhotep’s unlife with a god laser to the magic scroll.

There have been roughly a shit-tonne of mummy movies since, including a Hammer Horror series, beginning with The Mummy in 1959 which featured Christopher Lee as the title character, Kharis.

Ladies.

The Hammer series wrapped up with Blood from the Mummy’s Tomb in 1971, a rather histrionic adaptation of Bram Stoker’s ‘Jewel of the Seven Stars’ which featured a rare instance of a female Mummy (Valerie Leon).

The next major entry – as opposed to direct to video efforts – was Stephen Somers The Mummy, a 1999 super-loose remake of the 1932 film, but bigger, dumber and just… a whole lot of fun. Featuring Brendan Fraser as adventurer Rick O’Connell and Rachael Weisz as librarian Evelyn Carnahan, this version was a rollicking adventure with an emotionally tough heroine who displayed genuine agency. It was followed by the vastly inferior The Mummy Returns (2001) and The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (2008), which had an interesting idea, but poor execution and a marked lack of Weisz (Maria Bello stepping into the role with an iffy accent.) It also span off the Scorpion King series, so there’s that to thank it for.

Not going to lie to you; I missed these guys.

The Remake

The new version is the first film in the ‘Dark Universe’, Universal’s somewhat delayed (Dracula Untold was intneded to be the first, but has since been detached from the franchise) attempt to get on the expanded universe gravy train.

In 1197, a group of crusader knights bury their comrade with a significant red gem. In the present day, the tomb is discovered by Crossrail excavation and taken over by a mysterious group of archaeologists in black, led by a man we will later learn to be Dr Henry Jekyll (Crowe), who proceeds to translate and narrate the story of Ahmanet (Boutella), an Egyptian princess of the New Kingdom who responded to being disinherited in favour of her infant brother by murdering her father, stepmother and the baby after making a pact to bring the god Set into the world. Prevented from completing the ritual, she is mummified alive and buried far from Egypt.

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King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (2017)

This is not your grandfather’s King Arthur.

“From Nothing Comes a King”

Directed by Guy Ritchie
Starring Charlie Hunnam, Àstrid Bergès-Frisbey, Djimon Hounsou, Aidan Gillen, Jude Law, Eric Bana

In the mists of historyish, the wise and valiant King Uther (Bana) is besieged by an army of barbarians and giant, infernal elephants led by the Mage Sorcerer Mordred, because if we’re going to fuck this myth then by God we’re going to fuck it hard and we’re going to fuck it from the word go. He defeats Mordred with the aid of the sword of awesomeness, Excalibur, but is betrayed by his brother Vortigern (Law). Uther and his Queen are murdered, but their son Arthur survives, floating downriver to Londinium.

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The Great Wall (2017)

And yet he got in...
And yet he got in…

“1700 years to build. 5500 miles long. What were they trying to keep out?”

Directed by Zhang Yimou
Starring Matt Damon, Jing Tian, Pedro Pascal, Willem Dafoe, Andy Lau

In the 11th century, a band of mercenaries including the English (Irish? I’m not sure what he’s going for) William (Damon) and the Spanish (they keep referring to Spain, despite being some centuries before the formation of said Kingdom) Tovar (Pascal), is whittled down by bandits and finally all but the last two are killed by a beast which William kills, cutting off its clawed and scaled arm. Fleeing bandit reinforcements, the pair are suddenly faced with the Great Wall and its defenders, the Nameless Order, who ponder the possibility of killing them until they learn that he slew a ‘Tao Tei’ single handed.

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Outcast (2014)

"Crusades!"
“Crusades!”

“Legends are Born in Battle”

Directed by Nick Powell
Starring Hayden Christensen, Nicolas Cage, Liu Yifei, Ji Ke Jun Yi, Andy On

During the Crusades – doesn’t really matter which ones – Jacob (Christensen) and his mentor/retainer Gallian (Cage) kill some Saracens; probably, in the final analysis, way too many. Gallian is already thinking of getting out, and three years after a particularly bloody siege we find Jacob following Gallian’s dream to head east, because there’s something that you probably didn’t pick up on from that poster.

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The Legend of Tarzan (2016)

Tarzan

“Human. Nature.”

Directed by David Yates
Starring Alexander Skarsgard, Samuel L. Jackson, Margot Robbie, Djimon Hounsou and Christoph Waltz

In order to gain access to the diamond mines of Opar and save his King from bankruptcy, ruthless Belgian civil servant Leon Rom (Waltz) promises to deliver the title card to Mbonga (Hounsou), chief of the Leopard Men. Rom arranges for the Earl of Greystoke and former Tarzan (Skarsgard) to be invited to visit the Congo. Greystoke is all ‘whatevs’, but US attache George Washington Williams (Jackson) persuades him to go in order to root out Belgium’s double-secret slave trade, and his wife Jane (Robbie) insists on coming along to visit old friends.

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Gods of Egypt (2016)

What's a Stargate?
What’s a Stargate?

“The Battle for Eternity Begins”

Directed by Alex Proyas
Starring Nikolaj Coster-Walder, Gerard Butler, Brendon Thwaites, Elodie Yung, Chadwick Boseman, Courtney Eaton, Rufus Sewell and Geoffrey Rush

In Ancient Egypt, the gods live alongside humanity, but a little above, being as they are about twelve feet tall. When beloved commie monarch Osiris (Bryan Brown) retires and passes the crown to his son Horus (Coster-Walder,) the ceremony is interrupted by the desert god Set (Butler), who wrecks Horus in a fight and rips out his eyes. Set declares himself king and announces that he will be monetising the afterlife and throwing out Osiris’ ‘give what you can afford’ policy on offerings, enslaving the human population, including petty larcenist Bek (Thwaites) and his beloved Zaya (Eaton).

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Spy (2015)

spy-600x450

“One of the guys. One of the spies.”

Directed by Paul Feig
Starring Melissa McCarthy, Jason Statham, Rose Byrne, Jude Law, Miranda Hart and Allison Janney

Susan Cooper (McCarthy) is a brilliant CIA analyst acting as handler and dogsbody for suave agent Bradley Fine (Law), until a mission goes wrong and he is shot dead by Rayna Boyanov (Byrne), a criminal in possession of a compact, virtually undetectable nuke. With the Agency’s top operatives – including angry British ex-patriot Rick Ford (Statham) – apparently exposed, Cooper is sent into the field by Deputy Director Crocker (Janney) to track Rayna’s middleman de Luca (Bobby Cannavale) and locate both Rayna and the bomb.

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Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014)

Possibly the first time anyone has ridden a Dinobot outside X-rated fanfiction.
Possibly the first time anyone has ridden a Dinobot outside X-rated fanfiction.

“It’s not war, it’s extinction”

Directed by Michael Bay
Starring Mark Wahlberg, Stanley Tucci, Kelsey Grammer, Li Bingbing and the voices of Peter Cullen, John Goodman, John DiMaggio and Frank Welker

After the ‘Battle of Chicago’ the US Government has broken off ties with the Autobots and formed a CIA taskforce called Cemetery Wind to track down Transformers. When the leader of the taskforce, Attinger (Grammer) joins forces with Transformer bounty hunter Lockdown (voiced by Mark Ryan) to go after Autobots as well as Decepticons, Optimus Prime is forced into hiding, where he is found by mechanic and inventor Cade Yeager (Wahlberg). Just as you think you’re getting a handle on the plot, up pop Joshua Joyce (Tucci), a billionaire inventor who is mining ‘Transformium’ to create his own Transformers.

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John Carter (2012)

Not 'John Carter of Mars'.  Who cares about Mars? People are going to come to this film for John Carter.
Not ‘John Carter of Mars’. Who cares about Mars? People are going to come to this film for John Carter.

“Lost in this world, found in another”

Directed by Andrew Stanton
Starring Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Collins, Samantha Morton, Mark Strong, Ciarán Hinds, Dominic West, James Purefoy and Willem Dafoe

In the aftermath of the Civil War, Confederate Captain John Carter (Kitsch) has devoted his life to misanthropy and the quest for mythical treasure. A pushy cavalry recruiter and a chance encounter lead him to Barsoom, the dying planet Mars, where he discovers strange powers and perhaps a new direction in life.

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The Wolfman (2010)

Now I understand... and it's time to leave the woods.
Now I understand… and it’s time to leave the woods.

“The Legend is Alive”

Directed by Joe Johnston
Starring Benicio del Toro, Anthony Hopkins, Emily Blunt and Hugo Weaving

Actor Lawrence Talbot (del Toro) is summoned to his family home by his brother Ben’s fiancee, Gwen (Blunt) with news of Ben’s death. Ben was killed by some beast in the woods near Talbot House, and Lawrence determines to track and destroy it. His father (Hopkins) seems oddly sanguine about the whole business, while Inspector Aberline (Weaving) of Scotland Yard has his eye on Lawrence.

Continue reading The Wolfman (2010)