The Mummy : Tomb of the Dragon Emperor

This movie needs to be seen just to figure out how a director can blow up an estimated USD 175M on a meaningless jumbo-mumbo and third-rated action flicks which do not endure the moment you finish seeing them. Amazing that Universal Pictures could be persuaded to spend that kind of money. Doubt though whether they will ever get a good return on that investment, or even just break even !

I went along with the family today (Sunday) for what I thought would be a great sequel to “The Mummy Returns” (2001) and “The Mummy” (1999). I really liked those two previous movies, some excellent action and meaningful Egyptian history depiction, though unbelievable. There was an air of freshness about Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz. It would have been a better movie if the action was kept to Brendan rather than to his adult-looking young son who fumbles around as though he has never acted !

Overall, it is a funny movie if you do not take things too seriously, have a light approach to what is essentially a Bollywood Mayajaal kind of movie, and focus instead on the seemingly predictable next action step in the movie. It’s hilarious to see that the yak pukes on John Hannah while on the tumultous flight to the Himalayas in search of the Shangr-La. Jet Li impresses by his non-action as the Emperor who had been sealed for the past 2,000 years, and could convert himself into a flying dragon even before achieving his immortality. There is this constant sneer – a noticeable trace of contempt with a slight grin – on his face which adds to his aura. Some of the action sequences invovling the Emperor are good enough to be seen, instead of dozing off. Directors like gooey stuff, and this film is no different. The Emperor lets out brown-looking blood once cursed upon by Michelle Yeoh, the charming Malaysian actress. Michelle is an excellent actress with a stern face, taking the Emperor very seriously when he plunges a knife into her. She also does a good job when she raises her hubby General Ming and his army of skeletons from under the Great Wall of China. Amazing ! One has to see the two marauding armies fight each other – the Emperor’s army of spear-wielding sticks and the General’s battalion of skeletons with screw heads. Worth it, I guess, at the end of the day you wouldn’t want everything around you to be real, am I correct ? If the unreal comes from Hollywood, so be it.

I am giving 2.5 Stars to this movie, surely below my coveted 3 Stars rating. I did not review the previous two movies of this trilogy, as I was not blogging in 1999 and 2001. Had I been blogging, most likely I would have given a 4 Star rating to “The Mummy”, and atleast a 3 Star rating to “The Mummy Returns”. Kids would love this movie, but I mostly saw adults in the theatre, something interesting !? May be escapism is needed occasionally.

Have a wonderful week ahead,


Vijay Srinivasan
10th August 2008