Sunday, August 3, 2008

Movie Review - The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor

It is our sincere opinion, upon great reflection and consideration, that a discussion of this, the most recent Mummy film, would be entirely without merit or purpose were we to examine it in the absence of Rotten Tomatoes.

If you are unfamiliar, Rotten Tomatoes collects as many reviews as possible, boils them down to a simple dichotomy - thumbs up or down, as it were - and provides a percent, supposedly mirroring a movie's worth.

We fear the mirror may reflect darkly in some cases, which is surely what has occurred here.

If Rotten Tomatoes is to be believed, The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor is a horrible picture, scoring a measly ten percent. But The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor is not horrible; it is merely very bad.

This may seem a trivial observation, but, to put things in perspective, Catwoman is equally ranked. While no one could ever accuse The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor of being good, it was nowhere near as awful as this.

But then polarization is built into the methodology used by Rotten Tomatoes. This isn't so much an error as a limit to the tool's power. While Rotten Tomatoes can usually tell you if a movie is good or bad, it is not capable of telling you how good or how bad. Interpreting a very low grade in such a manner can sometimes be misleading.

Of course, there are other problems with the site. For instance, it is only as capable as the critics it collects, who are themselves far from infallible. But this is a subject we've discussed before: there is little reason to dwell on it now.

Let us turn our attention instead to the movie we set out to discuss. The Mummy. Tomb of the Dragon Emperor.

Our first criticism is with how the movie was filmed. It is our sincere opinion that the producers ought to have selected a different director of photography. Why? Because the movie was actually shot well, a fact we found jarring in contrast to the incompetent writing and choreography, and most other aspects of the film.

Had the movie been shot with less skill, we think, it might have seemed less disjointed as a whole. Of course a similar effect might have been achieved by hiring more talented individuals to handle other aspects of the process, but clearly this is far too much to ask.

The least forgivable sin was the writing. The dialogue in the previous Mummy films, while perhaps less than brilliant, was never less than entertaining. Here, every line drags. The laughs are few and far between, as is the action.

And when the action does begin, it fails to satisfy. On every level, the first two Mummy films are fun. This simply is not. There are a few moments that are interesting: many of the effects deliver what was promised. The three-headed dragon, the yeti, and the undead horses are impressive, but they are not enough to entertain. Our enjoyment at the dragon, for instance, felt more academic than heartfelt. It is a sad fate for this franchise, though parallels can be drawn to other recent films.

On a scale of one to five, where five is the original Mummy, we can give this no more than two stars. Movie tickets are expensive these days: wait to rent the dvd this time.


Patrick Roberts said...

Sounds like Tomb of the Dragon Emperor was a lot of what most people expected... ie, Brendan Frasier generally tries too hard to act, so you can tell he's acting

twity13 said...

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