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James is a Movie Critic and Celebrity Interviewer with over 30 years of experience as an Award-Winning Filmmaker.

An ancient princess is awakened from her crypt beneath the desert, bringing with her malevolence grown over millennia, and terrors that defy human comprehension.

Say what you will about Tom Cruise’s personal life, but when it comes to , actor and movie star, he is in a league all his own. At the ripe old age of 55, Mr. Cruise shows no signs of slowing down and is one of today’s biggest stars and he is one of very few actors who still insist on doing as many of his own stunts as humanly possible. That scene in , where his character, , climbs in , the tallest building in the world with only some suction cups…Real! That opening scene in , where he hangs onto the side of an A400 plane as it takes off…Real! I could list more stunts from his colorful career but the point is, when most of today’s so-called action stars balk at the thought of doing something dangerous, demanding instead the use of a stunt double, or the safety of a studio with a fake background, Mr. Cruise runs in all on cylinders, and puts each and every one of them to shame. He has been at the top of his game for almost 35 years and there are very few real movie stars of his caliber left. With , we are reminded of what summer blockbusters used to be: loud, fun, and filled with excitement. And while for many, this will pass the time as mindless popcorn fare, have been hard at work behind the scenes creating a new universe.

After the famous Universal Pictures logo starts the movie, we are then treated to another logo, the logo for Universal’s . From the 1920s through the 1950s, Universal created a slew of monster films, from , “The Mummy,” , , and , to name but a few but by 1960, they saw the last of their monster movies, , starring , disappear at the box office and the era came to a close. By this time, all of their monsters had been parodied, with leading the pack so people had become accustomed to funny monster flicks but with “Dark Universe,” Universal are resurrecting these old monsters and bringing them back to life for a new generation, and it all starts with “The Mummy.” You could compare it to the , where the latest movie could have , or the , or pay a visit, and the same with the , any and all characters from that particular world can turn up in any number of films, whether they be stand-alones, or the or . “The Mummy” is the starting point for this exciting, new era and it can only get better.

The film begins with a flashback to ancient Egypt, where (), is the only child of King Menehptre (). She trains as if she were a boy, learning every possible art of fighting, constantly seeking her father’s approval, with the hopes that one day, she will inherit the kingdom. But she is betrayed when her father has a child with an Arabian Princess and she bears a son. Ahmanet knows only too well that when he grows up, he will fall heir to his father’s kingdom and in a fit of rage, she summons the evil God Set () and with his power, kills her entire family. Just as she is about to become immortal, her father’s soldiers intervene and stop her. She is mummified and buried alive in a tomb far from the kingdom and then we cut to present day Iraq, where we find Nick Morton (Tom Cruise) and his partner Chris (), American soldiers stationed in the Middle East who in their spare time, search for buried treasure. When they uncover an ancient tomb, Jenny Halsey (), an archaeologist with whom Nick slept with a few nights before, and who he stole a treasure map from, one that led them to this very location, unexpectedly turns up and becomes a part of the expedition, much to Nick’s chagrin. After he opens the tomb, he begins seeing visions of ancient Egypt and of Ahmanet, who keeps calling out to him. Not wanting to sound crazy, he keeps them to himself but on the way back to London, Nick, Chris, Jenny, and a handful of soldiers aboard the military cargo plane which is carrying the large sarcophagus with Ahmanet’s remains inside, begin to experience some unexpected turbulence. After the plane is attacked by a flock of birds, killing the pilots and causing it to descend towards the ground, everybody else but Nick and Jenny survive. At the last minute, he manages to put the one, remaining parachute on her and deploys it just as the plane smashes into the ground.

Hours later, Jenny is asked to identify the bodies but when she enters the morgue to do so, Nick is wide awake, much to hers and the doctors’ surprise, with not a scratch on him. Come to find out, after releasing Ahmanet’s sarcophagus, she requires the body of a mortal man that she herself can kill with an ancient dagger, thereby allowing the human embodiment of Set to come forth so they can rule the world, and she has chosen Nick to be that sacrifice, so he cannot die, not until she kills him herself. Along the way, Jenny introduces Nick to her boss, Dr. (), the leader of an underground organization that seeks to unearth evil around the world so that they can contain and examine it, but Jekyll appears to have a few secrets of his own. With time running out, and Ahmanet’s power getting stronger, Nick and Jenny must try and locate and destroy an age old relic, a stone that once placed onto the top of the dagger Ahmanet possesses, will give it the power to bring forth Set, and the destruction of the world.

Many people have asked if this is in any way connected with “The Mummy” trilogy which starred and . The answer, simply, is no. I love that the story has set up the foundation for Universal’s Dark Universe I spoke of earlier. When Nick is first introduced to Jekyll, he walks down a very long hallway which is littered with all sorts of relics, those of monsters, vampires, werewolves, plus many more, they’re all in there, you just have to watch very closely. I hope Universal are able to successfully create their own cinematic universe, one where Tom Cruise can cameo or co-star in , which will be played by , or , to be played by , and in which they could possibly cross over into the next Mummy adventure. The possibilities are endless, but also very exciting. With “The Mummy,” Tom Cruise creates another tenacious and strong-willed character but the filmmakers made the right decision to utilize a lot of humor throughout. The trailers for the movie make it appear like a very solemn and serious film but it’s not. It successfully balances just the right amount of action, seriousness, and humor, making it enjoyable for all ages. I don’t know if “The Mummy” will be powerful enough to dethrone “Wonder Woman,” but it sure will come close.

In theaters Friday, June 9th

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