Blah, Blah, Mummies
This evening Maynard and I got bored talking game design and development and decided to take in a flick. Sadly, the only thing playing that both of us hadn’t seen was The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor.
It says something about a flick when, as we exit, I say, “Well, I enjoyed myself, but really that was only because I was ‘at the movies’ and I always enjoy myself at the movies.”
As you watch the movie, you may find yourself feeling peculiar levels of Deja-Vu. “Self,” you might say, “I think I may have seen this movie before.”
That’s because you have. Or, at least, you’ve watched every scene before: just in different films, and they were probably directed by Senior Spielbergo, and probably were done better.
When someone pours the magic healing water on the injured guy and his wound closes up inside of a temple carved in a mountain? You may have seen a movie that had the exact same fucking scene (only done cooler and cheaper with hydrogen peroxide instead of bad CGI).
When a character who is immortal talks about how she can’t fall in love with someone because she doesn’t want to watch him die? You may have seen a movie where this is a plot point (instead of a throw-away line).
When the evil, 2,500 year old undead army lets loose a volley from their crossbows (more on that later) and the arrows in flight darken the sky? You may have seen a movie that uses that exact same image.
This film is pretty much exactly what it says it is on the tin. It is a completely stupid, action-oriented B movie story with A-minus list actors and bad puns.
Watching this movie will make you dumber, so check your brain at the door.
I don’t know why I can’t just eat the popcorn, smile, and nod for films like this. Perhaps it is because of the little things.
Like, oh, how come soldiers from 2,500 years ago have crossbows? Why has the rope in the 2,000 year old tomb not rotted away? Why are we introducing Yetis into the story, when they have no real purpose? How was General Ming’s corpse put under the wall when he was killed mere moments before the Emperor? Why do we make bad jokes about Himalayan yaks vomiting?
I’m a stickler for shit like that. I’ll accept that your undead army’s arrows and weapons may not have rotted away: “magic makes it work.” And yet, I won’t accept that your undead army is carrying around weapons that were not going to be invented for another 2,000 years or so.
(Also, I’ve seen the real terra-cotta soldiers, back when the Emperor of Heaven exhibit toured the country in the late 1980s as well as knowing just a teeny bit about the Great Wall. Perhaps this fucks with my suspension-of-disbelief.)
There’s something else, too. The CGI was of a crisp quality that reminded me very much of the year 1999 it was that realistic. This, combined with the (seriously) laughable quality of the fake snow on the sets (it looked and behaved like sand, shit you not) just made the film feel poorly budgeted and forced.
The sad thing is this: I think there might have been a really cool, really dark and scary story in there. But they slathered it over with bad dialog, poor characters, and derived scenes.
I’d say “wait for Netflix” but don’t even do that.