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2017: The Year of the Monsters from a Bygone Era!

2017 is undeniably the year of the monsters in as much a way as 2016 is the year of heroes vs. heroes.  With Kong: Skull Island in March and The Mummy in June, who else is ready for 2017?

“What you’re looking at is a monster from some bygone era.” – Samuel L. Jackson as Lt. Col. Packard in Kong: Skull Island

Starting with Rick and Morgan being locked in a moral fist fight on AMC’s The Walking Dead, only to be followed by Daredevil facing off against  The Punisher in Marvel’s Daredevil, to the release of films like Batman v Superman and Captain America: Civil War, the entertainment business certainly likes to follow waves and trends of a certain theme and concept every year.  Heroes facing off against other heroes.  It works.  It’s fun, but after four installments over the course of this year, it’s time for something new.  Something that has arguably been dormant since 2014.  Monsters!

The monster movies are set to come back in a big way in 2017 and while it’s been a three year wait to see how 2014’s Godzilla would continue, we finally have our next chapter.  While it’s not another “King of the Monsters” film, it’s another “King” sized monster movie actually set within the same universe of the Gareth Edwards Godzilla movie of two years ago.  On March 10, 2017, Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros. will finally release Kong: Skull Island.  Over this past weekend’s San Diego Comic Con, fans were treated to the first trailer.

There’s many fans that have been waiting for another King Kong movie since Peter Jackson’s 2005 remake.  There were actually two proposed sequels that were never made and the journey to bring Kong back to the screen is just as interesting as the path it’s taken to resurrect The Mummy following 2008’s The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor.  While Kong: Skull Island is a Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros. production, it actually began with Universal.  King Kong, as you surely know, was a classic Universal picture and property.  It was only after ideas for a King Kong vs. Godzilla mashup began that Legendary Pictures decided to move Kong: Skull Island from Universal to Warner Bros, as WB had Godzilla since 2014’s picture.

Following Legendary’s and Warner Bros. Pictures’ 2014 success with the global reinvention of the Godzilla franchise, the companies have come together to create an epic, new shared cinematic franchise. All-powerful monsters become towering heroes for a new generation, revealing a mythology that brings together Godzilla and Legendary’s King Kong in an ecosystem of other giant super-species, both classic and new. Monarch, the human organization that uncovered Godzilla in the 2014 film, will expand their mission across multiple releases. While Legendary maintains its new home at Universal Pictures, the GODZILLA films remain in partnership with Warner Bros., who will now also distribute KONG as a part of this franchise.    – Legendary.com

In Kong: Skull Island, we’re getting a new spin on the classic Merian C. Cooper and Edgar Wallace tale.  Taking place during the Vietnam Era of the 1970’s, the film follows a military expedition to an uncharted island that, unbeknownst to most of the team, is an island of monsters and a very, large ape.  It is believed that John Goodman’s character, Randa, is a member or associate of Monarch, the group from 2014’s Godzilla.  Let the monsters world building begin!  The SDCC trailer for Kong: Skull Island promises an exciting film of action, adventure, thrills, and creatures that honors the iconography of Kong while offering a wild new take.

Monsters

Kong: Skull Island stars Tom Hiddleston, Sam Jackson, Brie Larson, John Goodman, Tian Jing, Corey Hawkins, Jason Mitchell, John Ortiz, Shea Whigham, and Toby Kebbell. Directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts and written by Max Borenstein, John Gatins, Dan Gilroy, and Derek Connolly, KONG: SKULL ISLAND will fully immerse audiences in the mysterious and dangerous home of the king of the apes as a team of explorers ventures deep inside the treacherous, primordial island. Legendary’s Thomas Tull and Jon Jashni will produce with Mary Parent. Alex Garcia and Eric McLeod will executive produce. Warner Bros. will distribute the film in 3D and IMAX 3D on March 10, 2017.

Monsters

Sofia Boutella as The Mummy

Audiences will also be getting The Mummy, out June 9, 2017.  Starring Tom Cruise and Sofia Boutella as the iconic Universal Monster, The Mummy is the first film in a planned series of “Monsters Universe” movies.  While the concept of a shared universe has startled many that love the classic Universal Monsters movies, there should be no cause for concern.  The Monsters Universe will not relegate characters like The Mummy, Frankenstein, or The Wolf Man to super-hero statuses, nor will we be seeing them team up in the sense of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Avengers movies.  The Monsters Universe movies will stay true to the original roots and be horror in nature despite having tones of action/adventure.

The Mummy looks to be an inventive take on the classic 1932 picture as the task of not only honoring elements of the original, but relaunching the entire universe falls on its shoulders.  Coming off of a scene stealing turn as the alien Jaylah in this summer’s Star Trek Beyond, Sofia Boutella will definitely be the highlight of the Alex Kurtzman directed picture, while honoring the unforgettable performance of Boris Karloff.  It also doesn’t hurt that The Mummy has Tom Cruise as one of its main stars!

2017 will be a really fun year for those that are looking for something different than their normal experience at the movies.  To paraphrase the Universal “Monsters Universe” producer Chris Morgan, monster movies are far and few between and it’s time they have their time in the light, .  It’s fascinating that we’re looking at monsters that existed back in the 1930’s and were then reinvented over time.  What we’re looking at in 2017 truly embodies the Kong: Skull Island quote of “monster[s] from some bygone era.”  The Universal classic monsters are as much cinema icons as King Kong (and Godzilla); it’s only right that they return.  While they may not necessarily be the monsters of recent movies like Crimson Peak or Mamamonsters like The Mummy and King Kong are definitely making their comeback and rightfully belong at the top of modern day horror/adventure.

“Tom Cruise headlines a spectacular, all-new cinematic version of the legend that has fascinated cultures all over the world since the dawn of civilization: The Mummy.

Thought safely entombed in a crypt deep beneath the unforgiving desert, an ancient queen (Sofia Boutella of Kingsman: The Secret Service and Star Trek Beyond) whose destiny was unjustly taken from her is awakened in our current day, bringing with her malevolence grown over millennia and terrors that defy human comprehension.

From the sweeping sands of the Middle East through hidden labyrinths under modern-day London, The Mummy brings a surprising intensity and balance of wonder and thrills in an imaginative new take that ushers in a new world of gods and monsters.”

The Mummy is directed by Alex Kurtzman, from a script by Jon Spaihts.  The film stars Tom Cruise, Annabelle Wallis, Jake Johnson, Marwan Kenzari, Courtney B. Vance, Russell Crowe and Sofia Boutella as the iconic creature now revealed to be an ancient queen.  The film opens June 9, 2017.

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Annabelle Wallis & Tom Cruise on the London set of “The Mummy.”

I’d also like to point out the obvious theme of both Kong: Skull Island and The Mummy that you may or may not have picked up yet.  Both center around military expeditions and heavily feature the military theme running throughout the picture.  Could Kong: Skull Island be the perfect primer for The Mummy in as much a way as Batman v Superman was to Captain America: Civil War?  Make sure to let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.

(Steven Biscotti – @reggiemantleIII)

About the author

Steven Biscotti

Mild mannered reporter, Steven Biscotti, has an avid interest in all things comic books, movies, and music (especially pertaining to Coldplay.) He stands 5'7" tall and prides himself on being the same height as Tom Cruise. Steven's favorite monster movie? "The Mummy (1999)."

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