It’s been a terrible few years, can we just have entertaining movies again?
A few weeks ago I sat down to watch The Mummy––no, not the self-serious 2017 version that Universal tried to launch as part of their ill-fated Dark Universe––the fun one from the 90s with Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weiss.
You remember, the crazy one with a loincloth wearing Arnold Vosloo and all those flesh-eating bugs, which came out just before we all thought the world would end because of some "Millennium Bug".
Ah… Simpler times.
I always enjoyed this movie, and its even campier sequel The Mummy Returns (2001). (I unfortunately can’t endorse the Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, even Michelle Yeoh couldn’t save that movie), but I’d forgotten just how fun they were.
After the last few years, I can only describe the time spent watching this movie as relieving.
Something I could escape into and forget how terrible things have been since the virus that must not be named, the headache of Brexit, or the recession supposedly looming ahead. For the love of all that is holy can we please just have some entertainment movies?!
Like all good adventure movies, The Mummy has one of those plots that if you really think about it doesn’t make all that much sense. Yet, you’re along for the ride because before you can think they’re already in the desert being attacked by a magical wave of sand.
You live for the hate-to-love chemistry between Fraser and Weiss, and the ridiculous magpie, Jonathan, played hilariously by John Hannah. As well as Visloo and Patricia Velasquez chewing the scenery as the unambiguously evil antagonists.
No sob stories or shades of grey here.
Nothing about this movie expects you to think as the increasingly insane stakes are spoon-fed to you for a delightful 115 minutes. Not that movies shouldn’t deal with important themes, but in our increasingly politicised society, it's becoming relentless.
It’s great for us to have films like Moonlight (2016) or Zootropolis (2016), which highlight the concept of discrimination, but we also need movies that are dumb and fun. We used to have loads of "just for fun" movies like Superbad, Indiana Jones, Top Gun, Star Wars.
Movies that are about triumph over adversity and designed to make us feel good.
Not every movie needs to have a point or a political stance. There's room for things that bring us joy without any kind of a catch.
Come on, Hollywood. Why so serious?
You can say what you want about Tom Cruise but he really understands his place as an entertainer. Hence why his prologue before Top Gun: Maverick (2022), where he thanked audiences for supporting them, was so well-received.
People are struggling, and audiences are exhausted with being beaten over the head by a bunch of out of touch, virtue signalling Hollywood people telling us we're horrible and that we suck all the time.
Even the most affecting themes lose their potency if you have to have them for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We shouldn't be forced to take everything seriously. No-one has enough emotional bandwidth to care about everyone else’s problems and politics ALL THE TIME.
We all need to take a chill pill every now and again and understand that, just because the world is on fire, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be allowed to take your mind off it for 5 minutes.
It’s great to see that some movie makers are content to let us relax and unwind, such as the 2018 romcom Set It Up, or the horror/comedy M3GAN (2022). Both of which have really resonated with audiences due to their perceived lack of agenda.
These movies have been made to provide us with some levity and relief.
I’d like to see this trend continue. I am sick of the misery. Let’s bring on the laughs in 2024 and beyond. Maybe if we’re allowed some comic relief, we’ll all start caring about the things that really matter again.
Just a thought...
Thank you for reading. Make sure to leave a comment and share this with other writers.
Our aim at Obsidian Elephant is to help writers learn about the industry through practical examples without them having to spend lots of money on courses and programs.
Let us be your one-stop shop for everything writing related!
To get articles like this directly to your inbox don’t forget to subscribe and sign up to receive our monthly redux newsletter.
If you’re struggling to find time to write, come join our writing sprints stream SprintsWithSammie on Twitch every Friday @ 6:00–8:00pm (UK)