Monday, June 10, 2019

The Scorpion King (2002)

This is last mummy related movie for now. I won't be reviewing The Scorpion King sequels. The Scorpion King is kind of prequel/spin-off from The Mummy Returns (2002). I say kind of because this Scorpion King has little to do with Scorpion King from The Mummy Returns. The Rock plays both characters and character has same name. maybe those direct to video sequels tell how this guy become Scorpion King of The Mummy Returns. I am not going to waste my time trying to find and check those because they have even less to do with this movie than this has with The Mummy Returns.

The Scorpion King is quite good for sword and sorcery movie. It doesn't try to be high art. It runs on Rock's charisma and constant action scenes.You have bad guy. Nice sets and costumes. Few interesting characters. That is enough for entertaining movie. The Scorpion King doesn't want to be anything else. It is just entertaining action movie.

The Scorpion King is second best movie in Brendan Fraser's Mummy series. I like it more than The Mummy Returns where the character was introduced. Movie at least has consistent story and knows what it is.

Monday, June 3, 2019

The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (2008)

Tomb of the Dragon Emperor is third movie in Brendan Fraser's Mummy series. This time Evelyn's and Rick's kid is adult. He finds the Tomb of the Dragon Emperor. Rick and Evelyn are tricked to be there when Dragon Emperor awakes. Jonathan happens to be there too. This time Evelyn is played by different actress and magic of the first movie is completely gone.

It is always nice to see Jet Li and Michelle Yeoh but they are not enough to save this. Moving setting to China gave series new energy but losing one of the main cast didn't help. It is weird Evelyn now knows ancient Chinese legends when she was into ancient Egypt in first movies.

This was last movie in Brendan Fraser's Mummy series. There were plans for next one to be set to Peru but plans were cancelled for Tom Cruise's reboot and Dark Universe. Reboot was bad but this series had lost what made first movie good. Main characters had become generic action characters. Dragon Emperor was generic pure evil. Ending was cgi characters fighting cgi characters.

If you want good movie based on China's history you should watch Jet Li's and Michelle Yeoh other movies. This is lame attempt of the style.

Monday, May 27, 2019

The Mummy Returns (2001)

The Mummy Returns is sequel to 1999 version of The Mummy. I wondered why I didn't remember anything but bad CGI Rock from the movie. When I watched it I saw there was nothing to remember. Like typical sequel this has more of everything and few would it be nice to see if scenes. Surviving cast of first movie returns with addition of Evelyn's and Rick's son.

First movie had nice story. This feel more like they did this because first one was successful. They didn't have story to use so they changed story little bit and added new bad guy. This time Imhopet his lover's Anck-Su-Namun's reincarnation and they try to find legendary Scorpion King to take his army. I don't know how reincarnation of Imhotep's lover and bringing him back to life again fits into first movies rules. Maybe he got some penalty because he isn't as powerful this time.

To mix things up Evelyn is reincarnation of first movie's pharaoh's daughter who was guardian of key item of this movie. Because of this she know where to find key items and can fight. Rick is revealed to be ancient guardian which came important later when they meet Scorpion King. At least Jonathan stayed the same.

The Mummy Returns doesn't catch magic of the first movie. It tries too much to be the same and not the same. Supporting cast isn't as good as in first movie and story jumps from one place to another. What made sense in first movie is replaced with something similar which makes less sense. You can enjoy it if you want to see more of these characters but it is not on level of first movie.

Monday, May 20, 2019

The Mummy (1932)

I expected something very different from this version. I expected guy in bandages walking around and killing people. Old mummy movie I had seen was that kind of movie. This was actually good movie. It tells about Imhotep who was cursed to be living dead for trying to resurrect his dead love. And of course English archaeologists who find his tomb.

I always wondered why Boris Karloff's performance was praised. It was when I thought he was wrapped in bandages. He is more like hypnotic wizard. Without his performance the story wouldn't have worked. He brings other worldly tone to scenes he is in with still being relatable with his love story. He is not evil. He is more man trying to resurrect his love at any cost.

I didn't write anything about curse being connected to box rather than coffin in 1999 version review. It comes from this movie. I don't think it was explained in 1999 version. Here it is explained that the text in the box is more dangerous than man in the coffin. Which makes sense. I thought it was minor plot hole in 1999 version to make heroes find the coffin without getting the curse.

Quick comparison to 2017 version. Helen in 1932 version has more agency than Jenny in 2017. Let that sink in. To benefit 2017 version Tom Cruise doesn't act like he could force female lead to have sex with him which happens in 1932 version. I guess that was viewed romantic 1932. Outside that one scene male lead is overly romantic.

I have hard time putting first two versions in order which was better. 2017 version was the worst. 1932 and 1999 versions are both good and both are good for different reasons. 1932 made Imhotep more relatable thanks to Boris Karloff's performance but you have to endure 1932 acting from other actors and 1932 writing. Brendan Fraser can't carry 1999 version as well as Karloff. 1932 is more horror and 1999 more fun action. Both are worth watching. You can safely skip 2017 version.

Monday, May 13, 2019

The Mummy (1999)

After watching The Mummy (2017) I felt I had to get it out of my head with watching good mummy movie. I hadn't reviewed The Mummy (1999). So here it is. Some comparisons to 2017 version at the end.

The Mummy (1999) is adventure horror movie set to 1926. It follows two groups of archaeologists/grave robbers/adventurers as they found grave of cursed priest Imhotep. Other group gets cursed when they wake up the mummy of Imhotep. Survivors have to put end to curse before Imhotep becomes unstoppable.

Cast has interesting dynamic for this kind of movie. All three protagonists are comic reliefs to some extent. Rick is bit of a parody of typical action movie male lead. Evelyn and Jonathan are fishes out of the water as English upper class adventurers and Ancient Egypt fans. Fourth main comic relief is Beni who was Rick's untrustworthy friend and now other group's guide to the grave.  Fifth comic relief is drunken pilot who has lesser role. Everyone else play this more like serious adventure horror movie.

It doesn't go to Ash from Evil Dead territory. It stays more serious. I wonder how movie would have changed it Rick was played more like John McClane from first Die Hard or like Indiana Jones. I feel he was originally written that way but Brendan Fraser made it more parody of character type.

Watching 1999 version made me realize how Tom Cruise centric 2017 was. I was going to compare female lead Evelyn and Jenny but then I realized only Tom Cruise and Mummy did anything in 2017 version. In 1999 version Evelyn and Jonathan are important stopping Imhotep. They actually do something useful. American adventurers move plot forward by doing something. Beni moves plot forward by doing something.

I honestly can't think of any character on human side on 2017 version who did something that didn't involve getting Mummy or Tom Cruise to somewhere or telling Tom Cruise something. I take Jenny as example because she is character with most agency outside Tom Cruise and Mummy. First she appears to town where tomb is after Tom Cruise has found it. She talks herself into tomb so Tom Cruise can follow her there. She tell she wants coffin so Tom Cruise can give it to her. In England she follows Tom Cruise telling him what is happening and gets Tom Cruise to Prodigium. In Prodigium she tells Tom Cruise how to destroy dagger. It is like rumors of Tom Cruise changing the script were true.

1999 version is better almost in all ways. CGI is better in 2017 version but it doesn't matter when it is worse all the other ways.