August 1, 2008 | Comments ()

By Dustin Rowles | Film | August 1, 2008 |


Are you tired of all the quality action films that have come out this summer? Sick to death of complex storylines? Bored with all the dark drama? Exhausted with all that insufferable heart-stopping action? Weary of eye-popping visual effects? Worn-out with all the moral ambiguity? Disgusted with excellent performances from Oscar-caliber actors and actresses? Do you find the need to think to be an arduous experience? Challenging material can be such a bore, am I right? Whatever happened to spoon-fed narratives and telegraphed twists? Where are all the writer-by-committees? Don’t you know: Three writers are better than one! Jesus! Aren’t you fed up with movies that require so much of your attention you’re not able to eat your entire bucket of popcorn, movies so absorbing you’re not even able to get up and go get your free combo refills without missing something important? You’re losing value, goddamnit! Don’t you wish studios would stop hiring competent filmmakers when putting together your beloved empty spectacles? Are you mad as hell? Are you not going to take it anymore!

Well, have I got a movie for you! The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor will remind you of better times, times before Iron Man and The Dark Knight. Times when things were simpler, easier to understand. When you only had to watch a movie once to extract all its meaning or digest all the finer points. Times like the Summer of 2007. Oh, what a year! Transformers! Live Free or Die Hard! Rush Hour 3! (Damn that Bourne Ultimatum for nearly ruining an otherwise glorious summer). Well, The Mummy III is everything about that summer wrapped up into a gangly, bloated 110 minute package! Are you ready to shift uncomfortably in your chair? Do you miss looking at your colorful, digital wrist-watch repeatedly? Are you fond of lingering in the bathroom, washing your hands thoroughly, and tapping your feet under the stall door just to kill time? Don’t you miss listlessness? Or eavesdropping on bored theatergoers’ conversations? Go see The Mummy 3! It’ll be the best $10 you regret spending this summer!

Damnit all: The Mummy 3 has everything you could ever hope for in an empty, lifeless blockbuster sequel. Wasted leading man? Check! Brendan Fraser, so likable, so gosh darn huggable, is completely misused, relegated once again to delivering platitudes and lame zingers! Did you dislike Rachel Weisz in the first two Mummy films? Awesome! Maria Bello takes her place here as Rick’s wife; she dyes her hair brown and you can barely tell the difference. And for once in her career, she actually doesn’t take her clothes off! Why? Because that might have livened up the proceedings! Instead, she plays against type, and by “type,” I mean all those interesting characters she’s always playing. Bah! Boo to interesting characters!

And wait! Didn’t you find Dwayne Johnson’s charisma and good looks a wee bit too much in the the spinoff, The Scorpion King? The way he damn near made it watchable? Oh, goody! The Mummy 3 features the stoic Jet Li, a martial arts master who is replaced by a cheesy CGI version of himself for most of the film, and he doesn’t do anything for the watchability factor. Oh, and didn’t you think the first two films suffered from a lack in the number of characters? Grand! In The Mummy 3, there are at least two more main characters (!), because Rick and Evelyn’s child is all growed-up, digging up old tombs, and obtaining love interests. And not just any love interest. An immortal Asian woman who has been alive for 2,000 years! In other words: The best kind of love interest!

And for movie critics like myself, The Mummy 3 is perfect: I can summarize the entire plot with fewer words than ever before! Rick and Evelyn, retired and bored (just like you’ll be watching their movie, you lucky bastards), decide to take one last assignment, this one in Shanghai, where they discover their son has dug up an ancient emperor, cursed for an eternity by a nice lady whose love-life was dashed when the emperor drew and quartered her lover. Shucks! But Rick, Evelyn, and their son accidentally awaken the mummy emperor — those bumbling goofballs! They are then tasked with preventing the emperor from overcoming a few easy-to-understand obstacles before he raises his entire army, gains immortality, and rules the world with his iron fist! But they don’t have to do it alone: In addition to the comely immortal Asian girl (Isabella Leong … pretty!), they are helped by a few badly created CGI Yeti, who yell, and throw things, and yell some more! Weeeeeeeeee!

I won’t give any more than that way, but don’t worry! The suspense won’t kill you, because there is no suspense! There is never any fear that any of your favorite characters will succumb to the sweet afterlife (which you’ll hope for yourself while watching their movie) because the mummies inspire all the fear of giant piƱatas that explode harmlessly in sunlight. And Rob Cohen, who brought you the bang-your-head-against-the wall boring The Fast and the Furious and Dragonheart, brings the same awesome brand of ineptitude and stupidity to The Mummy 3. Oh happy days! And if you like pounding headaches, The Mummy 3 more than makes up for its hackneyed plot, its silly CGI, its cheesy comic-relief, and the tragic waste of decent actors with really loud, unnecessary noises! Here’s some friendly advice: Take a bottle of aspirin, and about 10 minutes into the movie, jam it into your eye until some nice usher takes you to the emergency room and far, far away from The Tomb of the Dragon Emperor. You’ll thank me later!

Dustin Rowles is the publisher of Pajiba. He lives with his wife and son in Portland, Maine. Please leave a comment or send an email.

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Bored in 60 Seconds

The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor / Dustin Rowles

Film | August 1, 2008 | Comments ()



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