Reviewed by Uncle Creepy
Starring Brendan Fraser, Jet Li, Maria Bello, Michelle Yeoh, John Hannah, Luke Ford, Isabella Leong, Anthony Wong
Directed by Rob Cohen
Distributed by Universal Home Video
Truth be told … I love the Mummy franchise. Or maybe I should say I loved The Mummy and The Mummy Returns. Those flicks were just big stupid fun with tons of undead critters and bugs crawling everywhere. But this latest entry from director(!) Rob Cohen? I don’t know how, but he actually managed to dumb-down a series that was already pretty dumb to begin with. That was no small task I can assure you.
We catch up with the O’Connells several years after the second film. Rick (Fraser) and Evey (Bello) have retired from adventuring, and their son Alex (Ford) has taken up the reigns so-to-speak. In fact he’s just discovered the tomb of Emperor Han (Jet Li), a 2,000-year-old badass who not only has control over the elements but can also transform into a huge fire-breathing dragon at will. Of course Han is accidentally awakened, and it’s not long before he looks to raise an army of 10,000 corpses to help him enslave the world. Good thing we have the O’Connells there to stop him. Well, them and some really cartoonish Yetis who apparently are football fans (yes, they actually give the “It’s Good” hand gesture after punting a bad guy). Let the silliness commence.
There are so many things that make no sense in this movie it’s hard to know where to start. First and foremost … the casting of Bello as Evey. I’m sorry, but she’s no Rachel Weisz, and her pretend accent was horribly distracting as it would magically appear and then disappear. That coupled with the fact that there’s nothing about her portrayal that’s even remotely reminiscent of the character we know. Why not just say her character passed away? At least then we could see some real feelings and emotion between Rick and Alex. As is, Alex in this flick is estranged just because he doesn’t really like his folks. Yay. Wait … what am I thinking? Something tangible in a Rob Cohen movie? *slaps self on forehead* Then there’s Alex himself, played by Luke Ford. Ford, in real life, has a British accent. In this movie he plays the son of a British woman. Why not let him use it? Instead he uses an American tough-guy accent that at times makes Stallone’s Rocky seem more literate. Ponder that if you will. An American doing a British accent and a Brit doing an American accent. Why? Just Why?!?
Then there’s the Mummy himself. In the first two films Vosloo’s Imhotep possessed lots of powers, but he couldn’t turn into a giant flying monster! If he could, I’m sure the O’Connells — and even the Scorpion King — would have gotten their asses kicked, and there’s the rub. If you could turn into an indestructible beast, then why opt to go hand-to-hand at all? Why even raise an army? Why even make this movie? Just fly around and burn things until there’s no one left.
There are several other plot holes that you could drop the entire state of Texas into, along with meaningless plot devices a’plenty that I won’t even bother getting into because honestly … what’s the point?
In terms of supplemental material there’s more here than you’d expect. Things kick off with an audio commentary by Rob Cohen in which he seems very pleased with himself. Thanks for making a Mummy movie for all the three-year-olds in the fanbase there, buddy! Good job! From there we get seven featurettes over the course of this two-disc set that clock in at anywhere from five to nearly twenty-five minutes long each. No stone is left unturned as everything from the casting process to what historical facts and figures the film’s characters and locales are based upon. Dare I say it, this stuff is more entertaining and engaging than the film itself. Joining these truly quality behind-the-scene tidbits are about twelve minutes of deleted scenes that were wisely excised and of course the quickly becoming standard digital copy for your portable devices.
Now let’s dive into the Blu-ray specific features. First and foremost the movie looks and sounds spectacular. Even if you’re not a fan, you should at least rent the Blu-ray just to dig on the work-out it will give your home theatre system. Truly stellar stuff. Some of the aforementioned supplemental materials even make it here in hi-def, and they are noted below. The disc itself takes full advantage of being BD Live enabled so viewers and fans can check out the various bits of content available and share it with other friends via the BD Live network.
Universal’s U-Control option is masterfully utilized here and is broken down into five unique parts that you can access while the movie is playing. Let’s take a quick look at each:
1 – Know Your Mummy: This allows users to discover facts, graphics, and other connections to the first two films.
2 – Scene Explorer: Here you’ll get to check out storyboards and early renderings.
3 – Picture in Picture: With this option you can dig on some behind-the-scenes footage pertaining to whatever onscreen action is happening.
4 – The Dragon Emperor’s Challenge: Think you know your history? It’s time to test yourself as users will be prompted throughout various parts of the film to decide if what they’re seeing is based upon fact or fiction.
5 – Rob Cohen’s Visual Commentary: Save your sanity. Skip this one.
That’s it in a nutshell. Everything there is to be learned about the at times incoherent slice of cinematic retardation known as The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor. If you’re a fan of the franchise, you’re probably going to want to pick this one up to be a completist. Everyone else? Just re-watch the first two and imagine how good a third could have been if anyone were to have exercised even an iota of common sense pertaining to its production. Sigh.
2 1/2 out of 5
4 1/2 out of 5
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