Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5.
Germany/USA, 2008. Universal Pictures, Relativity Media, The Sommers Company, Alphaville Films, Beijing Happy Pictures, China Film Co-Production Corporation, Giant Studios, Internationale Filmproduktion Blackbird Dritte, Mel’s Cite du Cinema, Nowita Pictures, Sean Daniel Company, Shanghai Film Group. Screenplay by Alfred Gough, Miles Millar, based on the 1932 screenplay by John L. Balderston, and the 2001 screenplay by Stephen Sommers. Cinematography by Simon Duggan. Produced by Sean Daniel, Bob Ducsay, James Jacks, Stephen Sommers. Music by Randy Edelman. Production Design by Nigel Phelps. Costume Design by Sanja Milkovic Hays. Film Editing by Kelly Matsumoto, Joel Negron.
Mummy madness returns to a new part of the globe in this third adventure, a welcome return to the sense of fun that the first installment featured before its dull sequel. Brendan Fraser and Maria Bello (filling in poorly for Rachel Weisz, she never quite masters the accent) are the adventurous couple who have now retired and moved to the country. He tries to enjoy fly-fishing (which turns out to be more dangerous than grave-robbing) and she writes books based on their past, but there’s something missing from their lives. Their now-grown son Alex has followed in their footsteps, off in 1940s China digging up the grave of a centuries-dead general (Jet Li) who is rumoured to have been cursed by a vengeful witch (Michelle Yeoh). Alex wakes up the general’s mummy, who like any good Bond villain wants to take over the world and will do it if he’s able to reach Shangri-La and drink from the fountain of eternal youth before he can be stopped. The happy couple need no further invitation to resurrect their career as mummy-killers, and so the fun begins. Most of the film makes no sense, it’s just one big plot hole that seeks to be as polished as Indiana Jones and never quite pulls it off, but the overall experience is pleasant, a healthy sense of enjoyment combined with excellent production details (the art direction is particularly wonderful). Fraser’s winsome personality pulls off the awkward humour (and there’s a lot of it) with aplomb.