Full disclosure: I've never paid too-too much attention to these Mummy movies starring Brendan Fraser, but I know they're meant to be fun action-adventures that we shouldn't take too seriously. For this third installment, I thought it would be a good idea to take my manfriend along with me to see The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor. Sometimes instead of spending brain power on a review of a movie like this, it's more helpful to just talk it out with someone who's more likely than I am to passingly enjoy this kind of Summer action flick.
But as generous as my boyfriend can be about action movies and CGI, even he wasn't swayed by the "charms" of Brendan Fraser, and came away feeling like the movie's kind of a mess. I don't want to give away too much of our conversation before the break, other than the big takeaway: he really likes the Yetis, and I don't think he'd object if the fourth movie were to star them instead of the humans.
To check out our review discussion, read more.
We laughed (at all the wrong places), we cried (because of the acting), we conquered (it's over now). Here are some thoughts, with the bolded parts being me and the un-bolded being him:
On a scale of 1-10, 1 being "I wouldn't even pause the remote for this on Spike TV," and 10 being "I want to see it eight times in the theater!" — Where does this movie fall for you?
I would say a three. I would watch it on Spike long enough to be temporarily dazzled by some special effects, but then I as soon as I saw some of the acting I would change the channel. Especially that kid who plays Brenden Fraser's son. That guy should find a new line of work.
Yikes. You've seen the first two movies of this franchise before — have they always been such blatant Indiana Jones rip-offs?
Well, there are often comparisons to Indiana Jones for adventure movies, but this was pretty bad. It was like a pair of fake Adidas that has four stripes instead of three. You know the kind they sell at Wal-Mart or something? The only original things were the Yetis. It's all about the Yetis.
How do you feel about Brendan Fraser the actor, and did this movie change your feelings toward him?
I really liked Brenden Fraser in School Ties, but I think he's found his niche now as family action-adventure guy. He's a physical actor at the end of the day and should have limited lines. That will bring out the best in him. I think the writing for his parts is pretty lame, too, so it's not all his fault.
I kinda wished Brendan Fraser and friends weren't in it and it was just Jet Li and Michelle Yeoh. What about you? Or should I just rent Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon if I'm looking for that kind of cast?
Well, Michelle Yeoh is a very good actor, especially in Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, and Jet Li has played great bad guy roles (Lethal Weapon 4). But this is a big American mummy movie, so you can't compare the two.
About those mummies . . .
Yeah, the plot is ridiculous. There are too many books that open eggs, that tell a legend, that open a door, that does something magical, that they have to blow up and cast a spell on. Also, last time I checked, metal wasn't one of the elements (you know, earth, fire, wind, water). Isn't metal found in the ground, so wouldn't that make it earth? Sorry, tangent. Anyway, I also think Jet Li is great in one-on-one situations where he can act a lot with body language and facial expressions. But hearing him yell in a modulated voice over thousands of CGI baddies didn't do anything for me.
OK, if a person really likes Jet Li/kung fu movies, will he/she be annoyed with this?
This is not a martial arts movie. We only see 30 seconds of Jet Li doing anything cool — 30 seconds! Come on, this guy is one of the baddest dudes when it comes to kicking the snot out of somebody. Having Jet Li in this movie is pure pay-day for him and pure name dropping from the studios to get people to see it. At the end of the day, like I said before, there's really only one redeeming quality: the Yetis.
Photos courtesy of Universal Pictures