Movie Review The Mummy – Tomb of the Dragon Emperor
The Mummy – Tomb of the Dragon Emperor – is a fantasy adventure, but not one of the best. So much mayhem and fireworks that it gives the viewer little time to ponder on whether the story make sense or not. And ofcourse it doesn’t, it’s fantasy after all and that too with three headed monster dragons, terracotta turned metallic warriors breathing fire, scrawny undead ghosts and gigantic white yetis. Not to mention planes and guns and knives and bombs, all of which sort of gets exhausting after a while.
The story (no spoilers)
The movie (directed by Rob Cohen) begins peacefully enough with explorer Rick O’Connell (Brendan Fraser) and his wife Evelyn (Maria Bello) having tea in a mansion in England, a trifle bored with their retired life and itching to get back into the mummy action. The action comes barely half an hour into the movie and it’s China they are headed for this time…a China of Terracotta soldiers buried in tombs and long-dead evil emperors. Sounds familiar doesn’t it. Well, it is. It’s similar to the other Mummy series, what with curses and charms and witches and ancient love stories. But no, this movie is not as good as the first one. As for the second Mummy movie, I couldn’t make up my mind whether it was better than this (third) one.
But I wasn’t bored, although I cannot guarantee that for you. I kind of enjoy dumb movies at times. Even those with lame humour, and this had that in plenty.
I was a little surprised to find that that Brendan Fraser is not the only leading man…his screen son (Luke Ford) jostles for space too. Surprising because Fraser’s charm and looks are quite intact. I was even more disappointed that Rachel Weisz (the actress who had played his wife in the previous two movies) was replaced by Maria Bello. I think Rachel was great in the two Mummy movies and she had great chemistry with Fraser too. Maria Bello not only lacks Rachel’s bubbly charm, she seems to have zero chemistry with Fraser and as far as I am concerned their kootchie cooing seemed forced. As for Luke Ford, he is plain boring.
An important Chinese character in this movie is played by Michelle Yeoh. She is the sorceress without whom the O’Connell family would have not been able to battle the Emperor…she holds all the secrets. She has a daughter too, the stunning Isabella Leong. Michelle is good and everytime she comes on the screen it livens up the movie. Jet Li was good too. He plays the villain, the evil dragon emperor who comes to life after 2000 years. He plays his part to perfection, all fire and brimstone, and the special effects are a wonder to watch. That’s Hollywood for you!
The movie is choc-a-bloc with characters, good and evil. A couple of generals and some side-kicks for example, all adding to the fun.
Just want to add a few unrelated thoughts that went through my mind during the first few minutes of the movie. In this film, like in the other Mummy movies, people from the developed world venture into ancient cultures and dig up their treasures and save the world from evil mummies. They are the heroes, and all the local people, even if they are good, are either sacrificed or play second fiddle. This reminded me of the time we were in Africa when an African friend of mine complained to me about the African Safari movies. “Why are the white people always the heroes and heroines?” she asked me. At that time the answer from me came pat, “…because they make the movies, the Americans and the English and naturally they will use their own people because they want the movie to succeed in their homemarket.’
But I guess I understand what she must have felt. The Egyptians must have felt the same when they saw the first two Mummy movies. Even though it is a fact that much of the early excavations were done by the whites.
I wonder how an average Chinese will react to this third Mummy movie where a group of foreigners save the Chinese from an ancient curse. Though ofcourse a Chinese sorceress chips in.
Suppose the next mummy movie is set in India? We do have an ancient culture that Hollywood producers could dip into for some interesting kings who could be resurrected. A couple of names are already coming to mind…
Tip for a potential Bollywood director reading this post: Get into the act before Hollywood does. Here are some titles which might give you some ideas…
- Mummy, hum aapke hai kaun?
- Pappa, Mummy dulhaniya le jayegi
- Maama ki doosri mummy
- Mummy mil gayi!