Remember when Hollywood went mad for cinematic universes? In a hilarious demonstration of the paucity of original thinking in Hollywood, every single studio exec took one look at Marvel and then told their subordinates:
“Get us one of those!”
Just when you thought that nothing could be as wince-inducing as the total mess that is the DCEU, along came Universal. They signed up some of the biggest stars in the world in the shape of Tom Cruise, Russell Crowe, Johnny Depp, Sophia Boutella, and Javier Bardem to play various versions of some of their classic movie monsters.
They simply ignored their troubled first movie (Luke Evans’ Dracula Untold) and pretended it was nothing to do with them, then launched their new cinematic universe in a blizzard of publicity.
And then The Mummy happened. Adding more evidence to the theory that even huge movie stars can’t guarantee to open movies strongly unless they are part of a mega-franchise, the Tom Cruise lead action and horror mash-up was enjoyable enough for what it was, but it was a flop. It killed the Dark Universe stone dead.
The Director was none other than the current destroyer of Star Trek, Alex Kurtzman (Transformers). Now he has appeared on a podcast alongside the screenwriter of The Mummy and they have talked about the failure of the movie.
On The Playlist’s Bingeworthy Podcast, screenwriter Jenny Lumet said:
“I found it so valuable – I had never written a very, very big movie, and I think it’s important to know how to do all the things. So I learned how to do a thing. And I am forever grateful for that experience. It was movie making on an enormous scale. I don’t think that I could be here now without that experience.
Kurtzman made his directorial debut on The Mummy and spoke of his experiences:
“That was probably the biggest failure of my life, both personally and professionally. There’s about a million things I regret about it, but it also gave me so many gifts that are inexplicably beautiful. I didn’t become a director until I made that movie, and it wasn’t because it was well-directed – it was because it wasn’t.”
He also went on to speak about the pressures from the studio with a whole connected universe planned and how that manifested itself in the creative process:
“And as brutal as it was, in many ways, and as many cooks in the kitchen as there were, I am very grateful for the opportunity to make those mistakes because it rebuilt me into a tougher person, and it also rebuilt me into a clearer filmmaker. And that has been a real gift, and I feel those gifts all the time because I’m very clear now when I have a feeling that doesn’t feel right – I am not quiet about it anymore. I will literally not proceed when I feel that feeling. It’s not worth it to me. And you can’t get to that place of gratitude until you’ve had that kind of experience.”
Good, ol’ fashioned studio interference. Being such an overbearing parent that development was stunted, and focussing so much on the universe that they forgot to ensure the quality of a single entry. Where have we heard that before?
If that’s the case for Kurtzman, though, then it means the destruction of Star Trek via the current bilge being pumped out from Discovery to Picard is entirely on him. After all, he said he wouldn’t proceed if it didn’t feel right, didn’t he? He must think Star Trek feels right in its current form.
Hoisted by your own petard there, Alex!
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