Sunday, August 10, 2008

Cinema Craptastica: Mummy 3

Way back when, for my friends' entertainment I used to intentionally seek out the world's worst movies and review them. Welcome, friends, to CINEMA CRAPTASTICA!
I must confess to having an inordinate amount of affection for the Mummy series. Back when I was teaching, the only thing that saved me from mutiny in my ill-fated "American Cinema Appreciation" class was showing the "Scorpion King" (oh, and Janet Leigh in her underwear at the beginning of Psycho - for some reason the class captain was captivated by that 50's brassier.)
Let's get the plot, such as it is, out of the way . . . umm . . . .hmm. There was something about Rick and Evelyn O'Connell having a son who magically sprang straight from the birth canal into adulthood to uncover Jet Li and his play-doh army, which is being guarded by Michele Yeoh's immortal love child. No, really. There are repeated chases for mystical objects that will prevent or promote Li's mummified conquest of China and the rest of the world.. At least, I think that's what it's about.
But let's face it, if you are in the theater viewing Mummy 3, you are not looking for a plot. If you are looking for a plot, please direct yourself to the next theater over. If he was smart, the director would have just asked Noland if he could borrow a few plot twists from Dark Knight - it would have made both movies better. But if you are there to see lots of things explode and watch mummies run amok, well, you're in for a treat. That's basically all that happens. There's some yeti that show up and wreck havoc, a chariot chase through the streets of old Shanghai, and a big dustup at the great wall. It is a big, glorious mash up of second-rate special effects and bad acting on sets leftover from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.
If I have to admit to any problem with the film, it is the dork they have playing Frasier's kid. I mean, they even got away with switching the actresses who played his wife, but this was too much. I do not watch the mummy movies for fresh-faced "talent" or to see young men dash about trying to look dashing. I watch to see Brendan Frasier fight mummies. If I can't have Brendan Frasier looking dorky, I want to see the Rock looking bronzed and buff. Don't bore me with anybody else.

Random thoughts:
Does Michele Yeoh age? I'm beginning to think that the whole "shangri la" stuff they had going on in this film might well be true, and Yeoh really IS the guardian.
I can't even start talking about Jet Li. I'll hyperventilate. He's also responsible for one of the least believeable parts of the movie. Not to ruin it with spoilers or anything, but does anybody really believe Brendan Frasier could kick Lee's ass? I didn't believe it of Mel Gibson, and I certainly don't believe it about George of the Jungle.
Brendan Frasier . . . I'm so confused! You're such a big dorky lug of an actor. Here you're doing exactly what you always do, and God bless you for it. I'm still trying to figure out how you managed to be the most compelling figure in that awful dreck that was "The Air I Breathe" (which deserves it's own wholly separate entry into Cinema Craptastica)

In the end, I have only this to say though:
It is a HOOT!
In a way, this film is almost perfect. It delivers EXACTLY what it promises. Jet Li, Michele Yeoh, and Brendan Frasier run around with some other pretty people and fight and blow things up. It doesn't try to bore you with little things like complex interwoven human stories and quiet moments of beauty. It knows its purpose, and brings you souped up mummy fights with cheesy FX. It not only groks itself, it revels and exults itself to ever increasing cheesiness. And after all the ponderous darkness of Dark Knight, it's a grand and marvelous thing to have a film that is pure popcorn.

1 comment:

jeanny said...


I worked on this movie and have yet to see it STILL!

I'm glad someone watched it, though. :)