More of those Hollywood blockbusters

The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor.

The Mummy was a decent silly film; The Mummy Returns was a silly film; but having run out of Egyptian mummies, they decided to go for a Chinese mummy, reflecting how China’s importance is increasing in the world. [Surely shome mishtake. –ed.]

“The Mummy will become invincible or immortal or something if he bathes in the pools of Shangri-la.” (You just know he’ll bathe in the pool.)
“Yeah, but this dagger will kill him.” (It’s rather small, but a bit pointy.)
“So he’s not invincible.”
“No. But he’s pretty tough. 375hp, a bunch of spells, and probably a sword +5.”
“Is that 3.5 or 4.0 rules?”
“Just watch the film.”

There was precious little fun in this one. Maria Bello was a poor substitute for Rachel Weisz, but at least some of the duff dialogue of the second film wouldn’t have sounded so anachronistic coming out of the mouth of Alex who had turned into a twenty-eight year old American. (“Damn it, man, you know the rules,” said the studio exec banging his pen angrily on the table. “Americans are action heroes and Brits are effete, back-stabbing shirt-lifters.”)

One of the problems, I think, was that unlike the first two films where the hero and the villain engaged in a little verbal sparring now and then or their actions and relationships paralleled each other, there wasn’t anything like that this. In the first two films, the Mummy had some snivelling lackey as comic relief, but no Chinese warlord was probably ever known for his wacky comedy routines or sense of humour.

“So, anyone here from out of town? Where are you from? Hunan? Have him executed at once!”

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

I thought this one started well enough with the geriatric Indy strutting his stuff and getting involved in the usual sort of OTT hijinks. But then you get the obvious revelation that the unnecessary and unwelcome Mutt is (obviously) Indy’s son.

And as for the end, who was the complete f_cking idiot who came up with that one? Each film in the Indiana Jones series has always had some mystical element in it, always absolutely ridiculous but fitting nicely with the tenor. Although the audience already knew that the crystal skulls were of extra-terrestrial origin, it didn’t stop the spaceship at the end of the film from jarring. It was as if the finale from some other film had escaped and got itself spliced on to this one.

I think we’ve done with this franchise.


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