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Sunday, 31 May 2009

The Thin White Dude's Reviews - The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor

After seeing such an incredibly well-made blockbuster such as The Dark Knight, it is a crying shame that we are being encouraged to go and see this film when we could see the new Hellboy, and the still released Wall-E and The Dark Knight. I tried to go into this film with a degree of neutrality, having not seen the notorious Scorpion King and being a fan of the original two Mummy films. Saying this, this neutrality and attempt to take the movie left me whenever Jet Li's character decided to turn into a piece of chocolate with the tendencies to suddenly go into fits of spontaneous human combustion. If so, why did he not melt? I know this is normally saved for after the film's review, but I think I can get away with it in my own blog and the fact that this is going to be an extended rant. Alright, for starters, what do we need for a good film, children? A good screenplay. Correct. This film is completely lacking in a good screenplay, granted it's a linear screenplay with a clear plot structure, but there is no point in this whatsoever if this is the only merit of the entire screenplay. Also, children, isn't it true, that without a good screenplay to act with, the actors cannot possibly act well? Yes. Brendan Fraser fits the shoes of his old role with gusto, but Maria Bello does not do the same with "her" Evy. In what was considered by many to be Rachel Weisz's signature role, Bello, who is a genuinely good actress, attempts to reinvent and fails. Also, the chemistry between Rick and Evy is gone, a terrible reminder of the charm that we once got from the chemistry in the encounters between Fraser and Weisz. Another question, why does Rick and Evy son look near enough their same age? Luke Ford fails to convince as Alex O'Connell and Isabella Leong as Lin is frankly terrible, with a voice that is terribly reminiscent of bad dubbing by an English person putting on a bad Chinese accent, which comes across as whiny, annoying and completely unfunny. Even Jet Li fails to convince in his new role as the Emperor. The only ones who deliver decent performances are Michelle Yeoh, who does her best with her little time on-screen, and John Hannah, who provides the film's little genuinely funny moments, particularly in his scenes with a cow. However, after this light humour with the cow is the arrival of the Yeti, who essentially look like a bunch of big, angry care bears. Yes, they have the pink nose and everything. This is where it should be mentioned that this film has some of the worst CGI in a film for a long-time. I will admit that the location scout has found some genuinely amazing locations, but the CGI used in unison with these jaw-dropping locations is akin to someone hurling a piece of mud at a Van Gogh masterpiece. The CGI is completely intrusive, unlike The Dark Knight, and only goes on to annoy and disconnect the audience from the action on-screen. Also, the music is terrible and very intrusive, further highlighting how terrible a mess this entire movie really is. I mean, I know that I usually neglect the musical composition in my reviews, but put it this way, there is no point in going on in this case. Just imagine the attempt to cross the music of the original Mummy movies with that of Wu Xia martial arts films and you'll get the idea. Which brings me to Rob Cohen. Now, I liked Rob Cohen work at the beginning of this decade. Now I really think he has hit an all-time low. Work of this standard (or lack of) must be heinously poignant for a man who used to direct critical and commercial successes such as The Fast and The Furious and XXX. Maybe it was Stealth that did it, I don't know, I never witnessed the mess, but all I have heard is the worst. I mean, I know I can't talk considering I haven't seen it, but how can you take the most dangerous weapon in the world seriously if it's non-abbreviated name is Extreme Deep Invader. Maybe he lost the plot after Stealth. After seeing his direction (lack of) in this film, this monstrosity certainly suggests so. Finally, there is no emotional value to be gained whatsoever from a movie that is completely lacking in emotional value. Even Bubba Ho-Tep, a ludicrously funny film about a man who may or may not be Elvis teaming with a black man claiming to President Kennedy to take on a mummy is a far more emotional film. Also, for the record, it is a far better Mummy film and recommended to all. A short review will be done alongside my summary for this. It just shows that you can make a film which is far better with a budget roughly 145 times smaller. That says it all about the new Mummy.
The Mummy: Tomb Of The Dragon Emperor Bubba Ho-Tep
Screenplay - 1/10 10/10
Acting - 1/10 10/10
Cinematography - 3/10 7/10
Direction - 1/10 10/10
Musical Composition - 2/10 10/10
Emotional Value - 0/10 9/10

The Thin White Dude's Prognosis - Pay four pound in Zavvi Stores and buy Bubba Ho-Tep rather than five-six pound to watch the sprawling mess that is The Mummy: Tomb of The Dragon Emperor.

On The Topic of the Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor
Whatever happened to the much promised (and anticipated) extended fight scene between Michelle Yeoh and Jet Li?

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