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Len Wiseman exits 'Mummy' reboot: Who should step in?

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The Mummy
Keith Hamshere

Looks like The Mummy reboot isn’t going to be in theaters for awhile.

Len Wiseman, director of the seemingly endless onslaught of Underworld films and high-action hot messes like Total Recall, recently left the Universal project, according to Variety. Universal had no comment, but this obviously means that a spot is open for one of Hollywood’s greatest directorial talents to step in and make a quality reboot, one good enough that it’ll make it seem like The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor never happened.

You, the ever intelligent pop culture fanatic at home, might ask: Why the reboot? Well, first of all, that’s what we were all saying about The Amazing Spider-Man, and that turned out just fine. And what about Batman Begins, Evil Dead, and Star Trek? (Just don’t mention The Lone Ranger — it ruins the theory). The Mummy, though close to perfect in my eyes, could use a little revamping. First of all, it was one of those underrated gems, it didn’t necessarily receive the best reviews and it wasn’t necessarily on Avatar‘s box office level — though grossing over $400 million is impressive — but it did have heart. It also had Brendan Fraser, the “next big thing” of the ’90s/early naughts and a pre-Oscar Rachel Weisz. It was fun, it was ridiculous (mummies rising from the dead!), it was scary (mummies rising from the dead!). Plus, instead of sucking, the sequel, The Mummy Returns, was actually good. And in my mind, Tomb of the Dragon Emperor does not exist.

If Wiseman had stayed on, I can’t help but picture the series becoming just one Tomb of the Dragon Emperor after another. Don’t get me wrong, Wiseman obviously knows his way around an action set and can set up some pretty cool sequences. But storyline-wise? Forget it. Character development? Did Total Recall even have characters? The Mummy reboot needs a director who isn’t just a fan of explosions and fun romps; it needs someone who understands history enough to want to make it fun, who doesn’t take it too seriously, but doesn’t cross the line into camp territory.

I have a few ideas for possible replacements, because Universal is obviously basing their decision solely on my thoughts. Steven Spielberg is a dude who just loves to work in time periods. The Civil War, World War I, World War II (man, does he like his wars), the ’70s — this man could do it all and is someone who cares the same amount about plot structure and character development as he does action and excitement. Yes, I know that the chances of Spielberg directing a Mummy reboot are negative-35 percent, but hey, a girl can dream. And what about Brad Bird? The Incredibles was, well, incredible, and Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol wasn’t too shabby either. It was action-packed but still maintained an easy-breezy feel, full of quips and heart. That’s just the right balance that the next Mummy flick will need.

Of course, the studio could always just beg Stephen Sommers to direct this one — after all, he already did the previous three. Maybe then the film can be based around the true star of the show: Jonathan (John Hannah). Wait, what’s that you say? Sommers directed G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra? I change my mind.

But what are your thoughts, PopWatchers? Are you excited for the reboot or should they just leave this one alone? Do you have a director in mind? Just please don’t say Christopher Nolan or someone who can bring an “edgy” twist to the series. The Mummy is not supposed to be dark. Sure, Nolan did a great job at giving Bruce Wayne a whole lot of therapy-necessary problems, but I like my Mummy how I like my coffee — light and sweet.