Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor

The formula for The Mummy doesn't really change film to film. You start with a crazy vehicle chase, you introduce fantastical beings like the Scorpion King or abominable snowmen, heretofore called yetis, and get that looney guy to fly you in and out of danger. The third installment of the Mummy franchise left me dull. This is truly Mama Mia for 13-year old boys, in other words it's a shitty movie that lots of people are going to see. If they tell you they had a good time, that's because they're 13 and don't know any better.
Maybe the best thing was replacing Rachel Weisz with Maria Bello without any eyebrows being raised. That's only because Bello creates a beguiling foil to Brendan Fraser and dyed her hair brunette (or wore a wig, in any case the hair looks better than the yetis) and speaks with a crusty English accent. I swear I was racking my brain trying to think of what English actress it was on the screen until the final credit roll.
Fraser and company travel to China in the hopes of putting some excitement in their now dull lives. John Hanna, their third wheel in previous films, runs an Egyptian themed bar called Imhoteps in Shanghai. Michelle Yeoh and Jet Li figure in the plot too. The story involves a mad Chinese ruler who was turned into a terra cotta statue over two-thousand years ago, only to be re-animated. Fraser's sure the statue is a mummy, which kind of seems strange since I always thought mummies were, well, mummified at death
The CGI is better than Mummy 2 but there are still some kinks in the technology of computer rendering of yetis and terra cotta warriors. There's lots of gunplay, plenty of one-liners that aren't funny and the general feeling of a 110-minute commercial for NBC/Universal's (parent company GE) broadcast of the upcoming Beijing Olympics.

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