Tomb of the Dragon Emperor
Story: After working as spies during WWII, the Rick and Evelyn O'Connell have retired. Their son Alex on the other hand wants to follow in his father's footsteps, and has just made his first big discovery. While on a dig in China, he and his crew find the temple that is the site to the tomb of an evil emperor, who is then soon awakened by the Chinese Army to take over the world. With the help of a witch, her daughter, and other, Alex and his parents will follow the emperor to stop him before it's too late.
Review: So here we are again in 'Mummy' land. It took three years shy of a decade, but it finally came and like it's predecessor was met with much anticipation. The response however was very mixed and the box office take pales in comparison to the first two films. But is it really that bad? Well, if you go in expecting about an hour and forty minutes of good old fashioned adventure movie entertainment you shouldn't be let down. I can see why some don't care for it, but I found myself enjoying it very much.
The first thing to notice is that the setting and villain are not the same this time. This time the action is shifted to China circa. 1946 and the villain is an emperor who's been under a witch's curse for two thousand years. This probably was for the best since both the first film and it's sequel are set in Egypt and feature Imhotep as the main antagonist. Another interesting thing that's changed, also maybe for the better, is the length of the running time. This sequel is much shorter than the others. Then there's the matter of different actors in roles already played by someone else and a new director.
The one that was the most upsetting was the change in the role of Evelyn. Rachel Weisz, who is aid to have turned it down so she wouldn't have be too far from her new son, is replaced by the very talented, but very different Maria Bello. The role of the O'Connell's son Alex is also filled with anew actor, but this isn't such a big deal since this film is set about thirteen years after the events in 'The Mummy Returns.' Do these changes actually bring the film down? That's up to the viewer, but I wanted to view this latest chapter in the series with an open mind, and fortunately didn't regret it.
The film opens with a really strong prologue. It's not very long, but it does it's job, which is to set the tone and get the viewers wanting to see what comes next. A good job is done by the returning and new cast members. Aside from couple things, the CGI is really very good. Moves at a really good pace, especially after the villain of the title is brought back to life. If it's action sequences and stunts you like, and you like them done well, then you'll plenty of that here. There's even a brief, but still very cool sword fight between Jet Li and Michelle Yeoh.
The scenery and architecture may be different, but they're equally are beautiful. The writers and director may be new, but the humor that worked so well in the first two is still there. The score too is different, but also really well done. One thing I, and I'm sure many others, was hoping for in this sequel was for it to stay faithful to the other two, but also be able to stand on it's own. The filmmakers have definitely accomplished this and as I said it has a different look and feel.
Of course this film isn't perfect either. One really glaring flaw is that Brendan Fraser and Mario Bello don't have any more chemistry than he did with Rachel Weisz in the previous movie. Some, but not much of the CGI is below average. The worst of it is the three-headed dragon. And the film does feel a bit rushed. It feels like not as much time and care was put into the script this time around.
Despite all the changes, and the seven year gap, this third installment in the hit series still retains much of the magic. It's a great example of a summer blockbuster and I hope we get at least one more sequel. Talk has already started, so let's keep our fingers crossed.