Monday, August 18, 2008

Deja Vu Summer

We went to see the The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor this weekend and I flashed back to several other movies.

The opening sequence has Rick's grown son Alex (Luke Ford) opening a tomb in China. Between the traps and his leather jacket, it seemed like an Indiana Jones sequence. Parts of it were also reminiscent of National Treasure 2 (although that had more water).

Then there was Jet Li playing a powerful emperor who can only be killed if he is stabbed in the heart by one weapon. The Golden Kingdom had the same set-up (including Jet Li). Both movies also had a romance between a young westerner and an oriental girl who was dedicated to killing Li's character.

One thing it didn't feel like was a Mummy movie. It doesn't matter how many times they kept calling the characters mummies, they weren't. Clay warriors just aren't mummies.

The movie was like Indiana Jones in another way - the original cast is pretty small. Four characters were returning from the last movie. One, the female lead player by Rachael Weisz, was replaced by Maria Bello. Alex who was ten in the last movie was also replaced. That only left two characters from the original movie.

I haven't decided if it was a good or bad movie yet - two days later. Some of the action scenes seemed a bit off. It had the humor of the originals but it came and went.

Possibly the problem was Brendan Fraser - or the lack of him. To a large extent he carried the first two movies. Most of the humor came from his character. Few actors can handle an action movie with a light touch the way that he can. With his character's son given an expanded part, there was less of Fraser and Ford simply doesn't have Fraser's light touch.

The movie also lacked a suitable side-kick for the villain. In the first movie we had Beni. In the second we had the Mummy's girl friend Meela. In one of my favorite exchanges in that movie, Alex asked her why he should do what she ordered when he wouldn't for his mother. She replied in a musical voice, "Because your mother wouldn't put poisonous scorpions in your bed while you were sleeping."

There just weren't any lines like that in the Mummy 3.

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