Tuesday, August 05, 2008

The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor

A few years ago one of the great movies of modern times came out - The Mummy. It had lots of action, humor, interesting characters and was a really fun ride. Not one scene or line was a throw away. They were all perfect. It was then I began my great love for Rachel Weisz. Brendan Frazier and John Hannah were great (as they normally are), but Rachel captured my heart as the kinda goofy, but adventure craving librarian who stole the hero's heart.

The Mummy II was pretty enjoyable. Not as good as the first, but I still enjoy watching it. All the main players were back (plus a 10 year old son). I was happy with a completion of the story.

So I was not thrilled last summer when I first read that a 3rd Mummy was being filmed. And then I found out that my beloved Rachel Weisz would not be in it. I vowed not to see it. And then what do I discover last spring? Maria Bello was taking the role over. Well, she is by no means anyone to sneeze at. Then I read that Jet Li and Michelle Yeoh were also starring. That settled it - Yeoh is one of my all time favorites. I love kick-butt women, and it's hard to beat Asian martial arts.

So I dragged my family to the theater this past Friday afternoon. The first 10 minutes were compelling as it told the story of the evil Chinese emperor and the beautiful witch who defied him. "This might be just fine," I thought. Then the next 20 minutes were bogged down with slow backstory about the O'Connell family (with the son now in his early 20s) in 1946. The movie sparkled with the action scenes, and Yeoh of course always lit the screen. She was definitely the best part of the movie. But the movie dragged. It was heavy, bogged down by relationships and conversation that never felt real or compelling. Bello's Evie was no longer the goofy adventurer - she was an overly serious, overly protective mom who was supposed to be superspy now. The O'Connell family didn't feel like a family. The relationships just didn't work and family dialogue was tedious. The strength of the original Mummy movies was snappy, quick, and fun action and dialogue. I think I only cracked a smile or laugh a couple times in the entire movie. If I want to be depressed this summer, I'll go see The Dark Knight. To be fair, I believe the actors did the best with what they were given. Perhaps a different screenwriter would have brought the lightness and fun back to this movie.

My grade would be lower except for one scene. When Brendan Frazier's Rick O'Connell is recovering from a stab wound, his shirt is off for a few minutes - a sight we did not witness in the first two movies. Not bad at all. Had to move the grade up slightly. My grade - C


jksls said...

The one star I plopped on this clunky bore-athon is due to the presence of the great Jet Li as the evil Dragon Emperor of the subtitle and the gorgeous Michelle Yeoh as Zi Yuan, a witch who's been on the Emperor¹s ass for over 2000 years.

Peter Travers
Rolling Stone

http://www.rollingstone.com/reviews/movie/22126971/review/22126827/the _mummy_tomb_of_the_dragon_emperor
martial-arts superstar Jet Li triumphs as the mostly wordless evil Emperor Han of ancient China, a glowing magma spirit locked in a terra cotta shell.

Jane Horwitz
Washington Post

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/07/31/AR2008 073100734.html

Still, Li makes a great villain, using his powers to create fire, ice and other elements.

Edward Douglas
Coming Soon

Toward the end of The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, Jet Li and Michelle Yeoh launch into a vigorous sword fight — and what a grand pleasure it is to watch these two world-class stars in action again...Their duel atop the Great Wall of China is a reunion of titans, an Old Timers' Day for two actor-athletes still in their sinuous prime. Forgive the effusions of an alter-kocker fanboy, but the flinty glamour of Li and Yeoh — buttressed by the stolid, sneering presence of top Hong Kong villain Anthony Wong Chau-sang (who in 1993 appeared in 15 films!) — is the best reason to catch this third in the series of Indiana Jones knockoffs.

Richard Corliss

A memorably badass Jet Li.
Nathan Rabin
AV Club

Patrick Roberts said...

Sounds like Tomb of the Dragon Emperor was a lot of what most people expected... ie, Brendan Frasier generally tries too hard to act, so you can tell he's acting

twity13 said...

This is probably one of the best films of the year i think. I actually enjoyed all the mummy movie and also this one. Its really a nice one with full of fun, entertainment and also full of action. really i love to watch these type movies. You can also watch this movie from the link. So Download The Mummy: Tomb of The Dragon Emperor Movie