Reel Society

Reviews for the latest movies in theaters and on DVD.

The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor

Review by Paul Edwards

Okay, where to begin? I’ll just say it. The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor  is quite possibly the worst film I have witnessed in over a year.  

Now, I fancy myself a pretty good judge of films. I avoid the Superhero Movies, the Norbits, the D-Wars, and the like. These films follow predictable patterns, with utter deplorable dialogue with little or no plot to be found and horrendous special F/X and/or makeup to boot.  The Mummy 3 fits these films’ profile to a tee. There are hypocrisies and inconsistencies that are so glaringly blatant, it is as if the script was never proofread! People are jumping from one conclusion to another. People are turning into master gunsmiths on queue, people are randomly screaming. It’s a disaster of a film!

What’s the plot?  Well, since they are totally destroying the franchise, the director (Rob Cohen) is happy to explain this new fanciful tale of some emperor who wants to “bring order” to some chaos.  But we don’t see that.  The only part of China we see is at a Chinese New Year’s festival. It just doesn’t make a lick of sense. That’s one thing I found myself thinking during its overly long and brutally painful 126-6 minute running time. I can tell you right now, at least half of that is wasted on the horrendous CGI that fails to even bring along the action (and don’t get me started on those Yetis…).

The CGI fails the story, because here you have this dragon and this mummy and they sorely disappoint. So much could have been done, but it looks like they were going for a G rating rather then a basic PG-13 blockbuster.  And the way they introduced Maria Bello as the new Eve, was nothing more then a punch in the face to the audience. You get one line (“I feel like a new woman!”) and then they gloss over it like nothing happened. Don’t misunderstand me, I rather like Maria Bello; she is a fine actress who actually overachieved with the utter garbage the writers gave her.  Jet Li did pretty well as well, mostly because he was speaking in Chinese and only had to portray one emotion (which is all is ever displays anyway).

All in all, this film harkens back to the days long before The Dark Knight came out: the days where watching summer blockbusters meant that you had to check your brain at the door. It will be interesting to see how this tried and true formula works a la TDK.  I could keep going, but rather than bore you with the over-exuberance of unnecessary hyperbole, like the film, I’ll leave you with my grade. Avoid. This. Film. Like. The. Bubonic. Plague.

1/5 stars
Review by Rebecca Roth
The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor opens to scenes of a tyrannical Chinese ruler, Emperor Han (Jet Li), who craves eternal life. Emperor Han locates a sorceress (Michelle Yeoh) who can lead him to immortality, so he dispatches his general to find and force her to comply. Mistrusting him, the sorceress is wise enough that she tricks him before he can do the same to her, and instead of becoming immortal he becomes entombed in terracotta along with his entire army.
Fast-forward 2000 years (give or take) to the 1940’s – the series seems to advance about 10 years in each film – where our heroes Rick and Evelyn O’Connell (Brendan Fraser and Maria Bello) are languishing in retirement. Rick has miserably taken up fly-fishing, and Evelyn is futilely trying to write a third Mummy novel with no inspiration. Unbeknownst to the couple, on the other side of the world, their son Alex has quit college and undertaken some archeological pursuits of his own (surprise, surprise) in order to uncover the first emperor of China. Through a severely contrived plot, the O’Connell family is reunited in Shanghai where Evelyn’s brother (John Hannah) just happens to run a club, and subsequently the family proceeds to awaken the mummified emperor and his army.

The journey sweeps across the world from England, to Shanghai, to a desert (???), to frozen tundra of the Himalayas, and finally to the mythical (yet apparently nearby) garden of Shangri-La. The film had all the components that should have made it a solid addition to the series – a great cast, great production design, beautiful costuming, an interesting era (though for some reason the 1940s felt an awful lot like the ‘20s to me), and an already well-liked franchise. All of these singular parts never came together to create a whole, I was left wishing that the film had never moved past the exceptional back-story in the early days of China, which was far superior to the fake accents, wooden acting, and bad dialog throughout the rest of the film.

I never thought I would say this, but I genuinely wish I had seen The X-Files: I Want to Believe instead of this flick, as even after the action picked up I was already too bored to care. For those who haven’t been pressed into seeing the movie yet, save your money or simply go see The Dark Knight again, I promise you won’t regret it. 

1 ½ / 5 stars

Comments (1):

  • Mishi @ 08/04/2008 ( 9:21:45 PM )
    well, i guess i'll wait till this comes out on DVD
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