Thursday, 14 August 2008

MOVIES - The Mummy



Directed by: Rob Cohen.
Starring: Brendan Fraser, Maria Bello, Jet Li, Michelle Yeoh, John Hannah & .
Screenplay by: Alfred Gough & Miles Miller.
Rated: 12A. Running time: 112 mins Distributor: Universal Pictures.

Sequels are very big business in Hollywood. They fall distinctly into two categories. The first is public demand for a further adventure to a hugely successful outing. The other one is when Mr Hollywood flogs a movie franchise for one more glass of milk from the cash cow.

These are films that people haven’t asked for and could quite happily do with out but pop up to grab money before anyone can question the futility of their existence. I’m not sure who out there asked for a new ‘X Files’ movie, I don’t know who was not sleeping impatiently waiting for another ‘Fast and The Furious’ and I particularly don’t know who thought ‘The Mummy’ needed a third return.

Rachel Weisz didn’t think that it was a good idea. After two outings as Evie O’Connell she’s had enough. The departure of one of the main cast usually sounds quite a large death knell. However in a film about reanimating dead flesh we should never count our chickens so easily.

Weisz is gone but in her place and with faux British accent attached is the great Maria Bello (The Cooler, A History of Violence). Unfortunately what seems like one of the few positive things about this re-launch soon becomes one of its biggest flaws. Our two main heroes Rick and Evie just don’t have the same sparkle they first had. Brendan Fraser and Bello just don’t connect in the same way and are hampered some of the worst casting and chronology of recent years. They are quite simply the youngest retired archaeologists we’ve seen. At least Indiana Jones had the decency to look haggard this year before being thrust back into the fray.

Also the O’Connells are still lumbered with the worst thing to ever happen to the series; their child. He was annoying enough to ruin ‘The Mummy Returns’ and now he’s back and even worse! He’s now no longer a simpering English kid but a Matt Damon lite American (i.e. blander than a bag of nothing). He also seems to be about 26 or 27. No wonder Fraser and Bello seem so strained. They must have had a kid together when they were five.

This huge ridiculous flaw undermines an already ridiculous movie. When they then ad to the mix one of the clunkiest scripts I’ve heard in recent years then no one is safe. The plot involves Jet Li’s evil emperor coming back form the dead to raise his terracotta army (that’s right, they’re referred to as a terracotta army like the worlds most evil interior designers).

This film has Michelle Yeoh and Jet Li as its co stars but it still constantly falls for ‘The Mummy’ movies general failing. “Why use they’re real life skill when a tonne of CGI will do the trick instead?” As Jet Li morphs into many stupid creatures you’re reminded of The Rock’s ridiculous transformation at the end of the Scorpion King, one of the worst pieces of CGI the world has ever seen.

The only plus about the Mummy’s latest outing is that it does seem to know when it’s being stupid and pulpy (attack of the yetis anyone?). Unfortunately that doesn’t save a film that’s big on action and spectacle but so slow on brains and logic that you just can’t invest.

And sticking John Hannah in to say something stupid every two minutes doesn’t get you off the hook either.

MARKS: 2/5.

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