Sunday, August 10, 2008

The Mummy: Curse of the

I'm going to make this a quick one. Stacy and I went to see the latest Mummy movie with a couple of good friends this Friday.


It had its moments, to be sure. The action was good. The plot was solid. The storyline was good, even though it had a few holes. I loved the Yeti. However, the dialog felt very forced. We're supposed to buy into these characters, Evelyn (Maria Bello) and Rick O'Connell (Brendan Fraser,) our intrepid heroes from the first two movies, fifteen or so years after the second movie. Their son has grown and is now estranged while the two try to enjoy their golden(?) years in retirement. This relationship is not the focus of the movie, and perhaps that is one reason it fails so miserably. I had no investment in the conflict between them. We came in during the middle of it with only vague reasons behind the split. The eventual reconciliation suffered for the lack of characterization. I could even have taken Rachel Weisz's almost criminal absence from the movie if Bello was better written. She lacked the chemistry that Weisz and Fraser steamed up the big screen with in the first two movies. Shes' pretty, not a bad actress, but she was set up to fail.

Relationships make up a large portion of the movie: the relationship between the O'Connells with Evy's brother, Jonathan (John Hannah,) thrown in for comic relief, the relationship between the Dragon Emperor (Jet Li,) his lieutenant (Russell Wong,) and the witch (Michelle Yeoh,) the relationship between the witch and her daughter (Isabella Leong,) the relationship between the O'Connell lad, Alex (Luke Ford,) and the witch's daughter. It was a bit much, especially with the trite lines and weak dialog. I was very disappointed with that aspect of the movie.

Other inconsistencies sprinkled throughout the movie were all the more glaring with the failings in the characterization and script. As far as summer movie eye candy, it fits the bill. As far as the Mummy series goes, I'd call this the weakest of the bunch, and that's including The Scorpion King. It's the tail end of the blockbuster season. If you want your eye candy before it ends (and don't intend to see the animated Star Wars: The Clone Wars,) then I'd recommend this movie. Otherwise, wait for video, you won't be as disappointed.

I give The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor five out of eleven bat-imposter corpse freakouts on a scale that I just made up that doesn't mean anything.

Okay, maybe the movie suffered in my estimation for being the first movie I've seen since watching The Dark Knight in friggin' IMAX. Not much could stack up well to that experience.

Scott: 1 1/2, !@#$% Wasps: 0

I hate stinging insects. Flying ones, whether they're bees, wasps, or whatever, are even worse for me. I wouldn't say that I have a phobia, but it's pretty close. It's bad enough that I flinch any time one flies near me. Let's just say that the few times I was stung as a lad gave more than a healthy paranoia for anything with a stinger.

That brings us to yesterday. Remember those charming cicada killer wasps I wrote about last summer? Well, they're back. No, I take that back, they're not just back, they're BACK. It seems that my yard was so popular last year that some enterprising wasp opened up a time share and invited all of the extended family over for the Summer. Last year, I think I counted five or six burrows, mostly around the shed. This year there's at least three times that many, probably more.

I had to mow the lawn yesterday. It's been three or four weeks. When it's been three or four weeks in a wet Virginia summer, lawns become feral. They are full of wild beasts and foul insects lurking under the man-sized vegetation. I geared up and set forth to reclaim my lawn with my electric implements. I failed to take into account the inquisitive nature of the non-stinging male wasp and was freaked the hell out when a few kept dive-bombing me and the lawn mower. After about an hour of enduring the wasps doing fly-bys and barrel rolls past my ears, I had to take a break.

I headed back out after refueling and continued my reign of terror on the land-bound insects while their air force wreaked havoc above. With the density of the jungle undergrowth, it took me some time to finish the mowing. At one point, I found that I had actually rolled over one of the wasps before it could get off the runway. It was floundering near a burrow. I didn't know whether it was a male of female, but I knew if it found its wings and was vindictive, then I might as well be a big round target. I put it out of its (and my) misery (Scott: 1.) After I finished clearing out all of the vegetation, I found a ridiculous number of wasp burrows. They were hard to count since some had burrowed near each other.

Finally, it was my turn to terrorize the giant wasps. I broke out the weed eater. Every time one would start zooming in my direction, I'd brandish my whirling plastic spline of doom. They'd generally take one or two angles of approach before breaking off the attack and retreating over the fence for a short time. I'm pretty sure I gave one a little insect heart attack. It just wouldn't stop zooming near me, so I mulched the air around it with the weed eater until it limped off. I didn't hit it, but it didn't look healthy afterwards (Scott: 1/2.) That'll learn ya ta invade my territory, !@#$% wasps!

By the time I was done, my nerves were shot. I headed in with my legs covered in green and brown, disintegrated weeds and dust. I found that Stacy had fought her own battle with the kids and was convalescing in bed, so I headed into the bathroom to wage another battle, this one on the dander, dirt, and stink encasing our dog.

But that's a story for another day.