This Film is NOT a Future Release.
The Following Preview has been Archived.
March 10th, 2008:
In the Far East, trouble-seeking father-and-son duo Rick and Alex O'Connell unearth the mummy of the first Emperor of Qin -- a shape-shifting entity who was cursed by a wizard centuries ago.What to Expect:
One of the most anticipated movies of 2008 has to be Paramount's latest installment of the Indiana Jones
franchise. The film is poised to dominate the summer box office and executives at Universal could not be happier. Universal? Yes, Universal. While Steven Spielberg
and George Lucus were busy crafting their next masterpiece, lesser talents at Universal were at work creating a really cheap imitation: The Mummy: The Tomb of the Dragon Emperor. Now their work is simple. First they have to make sure no one sees the movie before it opens and lives to tell the world how terrible it is. Second, they make a trailer for the Mummy that looks cool and resembles Indiana Jones in its action, special effects and humor and show it during the coming attraction before Indiana Jones starts. Then in the coming weeks and months, they will blanket TV with ads for The Mummy, repetition is important. Finally, they open a month or two after Indiana Jones has left the theatres and unsuspecting movie goers fill the movies expecting something great. In a few weeks word finally gets around that this is all a lie and this movie is terrible but by then Universal rides into the sunset with millions in profit. Let me try to reveal the truth about this movie before Universal can launch their con. Article continues below
The first and possibly worst factor working against this movie is the script. The Mummy franchise was never known for brilliant story or any kind of character development, but at least it was consistent. It always took place in the desert, both movies were written and directed by Stephen Sommers
(Van Helsing) and there were reoccurring characters like Imhotep and Ardeth Bay. The third installment is going to be drastically different from the first two. There are almost no returning characters except for the O'Connells. The script is also being written by Alfred Gough and Miles Millar instead of Sommers. The two are best known for creating the WB hit show Smallville and movies like Shanghai Noon and Spider Man 2. The duo does have a much more impressive resume then Sommers but they made some questionable decisions with this script. First, they decided to take the action out of the desert which is the setting we normally associate with mummies. Instead, all the action is going to take place in mainland China. The new script also changes its focus from Rick O'Connell (Brendan Fraser
) to his son Alex (Luke Ford
It picks up in the 1940's. Now Rick is retired from his treasure hunting but his grown son Alex has taken over where he has left off. Alex is now in his early 20's and just like his father, he is a wisecracking adventure seeker. Unfortunately, his reckless attitude allows him to be tricked into awakening Emperor Qin Shihuang. Shihuang was a powerful emperor who ruled all of China with an iron fist until he and his army of warriors were trapped in suspended animation inside terracotta (claylike red ceramic) dolls by a sorceress. As the time passed, Shihuang's thirst for power grew. When finally freed from his terracotta prison the emperor begins amassing an army of otherworldly warriors in order to rule the world. Alex decides that he must fix his mistake, but he cannot do it alone, so he does what any teenage boy who screwed up would do: crawl to his parents for help. Now, the O'Connells work together to stop emperor Shihuang and his massive army.
This plot follows the same storyline as the other Mummy movies: an O'Connell awakens a former ruler and now must stop him before he gets powerful enough to accomplish his goal of ruling the world. The villains are extremely poorly developed; they kind of just burst onto the scene and do their thing. Shihuang is supposed to be this all powerful emperor who can easily do away with the O'Connells, but instead he constantly has to give them chances to defeat him instead of just killing them. But I guess this is what we have learned to expect from this terrible franchise and this one is not going to be any different.
The second thing working against this movie is the fact that it is way too similar to Indiana Jones. Obviously that has always been a criticism of The Mummy franchise, since both revolve around an adventure-seeking archeologists and take place in roughly the same time period, but I think now The Mummy has gone too far. First, the Indiana Jones franchise introduces a new younger sidekick for Indy in the character of Mutt Williams (Shia LaBeouf
). So Mummy 3, not to be outdone, goes out and makes Alex O'Connell the star of their franchise and the similarities do not stop there. This latest Mummy movie actually has entire scenes that are stolen out of the older Indy installments. There is one sequence where Rick is dancing in a Shanghai nightclub which is then raided by the bad guys and he narrowly escapes. I believe that same thing happened in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Then there is a scene where O'Connell narrowly escapes a huge rolling stone. That is just blatant plagiarism of the iconic Indiana Jones scene. I think it was one thing to be similar to Indiana Jones, but now they have gone too far.
The final issue, and perhaps the most damaging factor working against this movie, is the actors and director. As I mentioned earlier, Stephen Sommers is not responsible for the writing, but then with production about to start he actually decided not to direct. Sommers claimed he was just too worn out from working on Van Helsing and needed to take a break, but I just think he saw how terrible this project really was going to be. Sommers was quickly replaced by Rob Cohen
(XXX, Fast and the Furious) the same guy who brought us the brilliantly written and directed movie Stealth. I really did not think that losing Sommers was that bad since the he has never made a smart movie in his life, but at least the previous Mummy installments were pretty funny. Now with Rob Cohen in charge, we might even lose some of that humor and just have a hollow shell of a movie with random action scenes with nothing to tie them together.
Sommers did stay on to produce the film which was no easy task. His main concern was casting the parts of Shihuang and Alex O'Connell and bringing back Brandon Frasier who played Rick O'Connell and Rachel Weisz
who was Evelyn O'Connell. Getting Frasier back was pretty easy since he has not had a quality part since Crash in 2004. Weisz was a lot harder since her career went in the opposite direction of Frasier's, culminating in an Oscar for her role in The Constant Gardner. Surprisingly, Weisz actually considered coming back until she got her hands on the script. She politely turned the job down, claiming scheduling difficulties even though she was not working on anything at the time. Thus, it is widely believed that she just did not want to be a part of this mess. The wise decision would have been to write Evelyn's character completely out, but doing the smart thing is not what this movie is about. Instead, Sommers replaced Weisz with Maria Bello
(great choice Maria, now you have Flicka and Mummy 3 on your resume), who looks nothing like her predecessor even after dying her hair the same color as Weisz. On top of the change of physical appearance, the character of Evelyn was completely changed. In the previous two movies, Evelyn was the well grounded love interest. Now, as Bello puts it, "Evelyn is a bad-ass action chick." The actress actually trained very hard for this part including wushu (a martial-art form), some kick-boxing, swordfighting and even rifle training.
With all the returning characters taken care of, Sommers had to focus on the newcomers. First, he needed a new star for Alex O'Connell. If you saw The Mummy Returns then you will know that Alex was just a little boy in that one, so they needed a grown up actor. Sommers and Cohen held auditions for the part where hopefuls had to read a scene with Frasier. In this scene, father and son discuss which gun is best to use (how fitting for this franchise). Young Australian actor Luke Ford was eventually chosen because Cohen really liked his chemistry with Frasier. This is a pretty bad choice for two reasons: First it is obvious that they intend to drop Frasier from the franchise in favor of the younger star so his chemistry with Frasier should not really matter. Second, the kid is Australian and speaks with a thick Australian accent, but the character of Alex is supposed to be American. They briefly explain this disconnect by saying that Alex spent sometime in Australia growing up, but it is just a pretty see-through cover-up for bad casting. Finally, the honor of the poorly developed villain went to action star Jet Li
. No one will deny Li's excellent action star credentials, but his acting is often pretty sub par. He will have an even harder time in this film since he is covered in thick terracotta in most scenes, making showing any kind of emotion even more difficult for the normally emotionless actor.In Conclusion:
The latest installment in The Mummy franchise is going to be bad even by Mummy standards. This sequel lost its writer, director and many of the characters that the fans became attached to. The movie does feature a ton of action, special effects and beautiful scenery, complements of the Chinese country side. Unfortunately, there is too much bad writing, bad acting and plot holes between these bursts of violence and beauty to justify anyone wasting their time on seeing it. So do not be fooled by all the cool looking commercials that you are going to be flooded with all summer because it is all just a cheap trick.Similar Titles: The Scorpion King
, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade