“WHY DID THEY MAKE THIS MOVIE?!”
That’s right, kids: Just when you thought it couldn’t get worse, they made another one. The newest development in the Mummy saga has single-handedly increased the number of murder-suicide pacts in the U.S. I don’t have any actual numbers or statistics to back that up, but you know I’m right. Anyway. I’m not going to lie to you, I went to the midnight showing of the movie. If it helps, I had friends with me (you know who you are, Candace and Jenna…well, now everyone knows who you are). I mostly went for the laughs. Part of me also wanted to see how far they would go. And a small, teeny, minuscule part of me even had just a little hope. I mean, the series had started out so well—the original Mummy was great. A little cheesy, maybe, but funny enough that the cheese didn’t matter and action-y enough to keep you interested. Yes, that was a good movie.
Then came the sequel. And let me just tell you, folks—yikes. YIKES. They took everything good about the first one and pulled a 180. Funny? Gone. Action? Lame. And then they added a few key elements, like parents who couldn’t stop making out for more than three minutes, screaming monkeys that drove me to the brink of insanity, and the World’s. Most. Annoying. Kid. Ever. So I really thought the third one would have to be better. After a disaster like the sequel, there was nowhere to go but up. Right?
Wrong. So, so wrong. The wrongest thing ever. The third Mummy movie could have gotten the second one an Oscar in the “It Could Definitely Be Worse” category. The makers should be dragged into the street and stand there while people throw copies of the DVD at them.
But, Kristen, you say—how bad could it have been? What made it so so so so so so bad? I’m so glad you asked, because that is the perfect segue—SEGUE, as in transition; not SEGWAY, as in mall cop. Learn the difference—into breaking down the horrors of this flick.
Where to begin? I know—the beginning. We see a Chinese emperor, whose name I’m pretty sure is Han or Qin (Wikipedia sucks), making plans to rule the world. Or something. (This might be a good time to mention that this is by no means an accurate recap of the movie—I’m just hitting the highlights. I mentally blocked a lot of the movie for my own sake. Sorry.) But Some Chick has an issue with that, because it turns out Emperor Han isn’t the nicest emperor in the dynasty. We learn later—I think—that Some Chick’s name is Zi Yuan, so we can go ahead and start calling her that. Aaaanyway, Zi gets into a fight with the emperor and winds up cursing him to remain a statue for all of eternity. Sad day for him. Also for his warriors, because she curses them, too, and we get to see some really gross transformation process as the emperor and his men become… muddified, I guess? It’s like they’re ice sculptures, but made out of mud, soooo… tell you what, you come up with a name and let me know. Zi has sustained some kind of injury but rides away into the sunset.
I forget who we’re introduced to next, but we’re going to start with Alex, who has grown from an annoying child to a more annoying twenty-something who apparently inherited his parents’ love for adventure. The first thing we learn about Alex? He has daddy issues—he and Rick don’t get along very well. WHAT?! You mean that this mediocre movie has employed mediocre writers to create the most cliché and mediocre problem possible? Jerks. This is when the last hopes that this movie wouldn’t completely suck began to falter. The other thing about Alex is that in the beginning he speaks with a British accent, which makes sense, because the O’Connells raised him in England. But after a few lines, the accent wanes so he sounds American, which makes sense…because…traveling so much as a child… might have…neutralized the accent? …wait. I thought I was going crazy until Candace leaned over and said, “What’s with the fake accent?” So this became a special point of interest for us, which doesn’t say much for the rest of the movie. The accent changed so much that we realized it would make an excellent drinking game. Except none of us drink, so we just had to endure. Alex’s purpose seems to be to find the tomb of the emperor previously seen, and he succeeds with the help of an old man, but then he is attacked by a tiny Chinese woman and gets his butt kicked, but manages to escape. It is a boring scene. Don’t watch it.
Then, of course, there’s “Evy,” whose name will remain in quotes because the Evy I know and love is NOT Maria Bello. We are introduced to her as she announces to her book club that she is a “completely different person” now. OH, I get it, she’s a different actress, HAHAHAHA, Mummy 3, what a clever way to make fun of your own movie, HAHAHA, wow, I cannot stop laughing AHAHAHAHAHA… wait, are you not laughing? Huh. Maybe that’s because IT’S NOT FUNNY. So “Evy” is all sad because her publisher wants a third book from her (the first two were about the other Mummy adventures. Original.), and her life is so, so, soooo dull that she can’t write anymore. I’ll pause for your tears… Oookay. “Evy” desperately wants to go on an adventure again, but she and Rick have made some kind of pact to stay at home forever or until even God can’t take it anymore and smites them.
Then we have Rick, who… well, I’m not 100% on what his deal is. He wants to go on an adventure as well, so he’s taken up… fishing. Except he sucks at fishing, so he shoots the fish instead, so I guess he’s taken up shooting? Let’s just stick with that. My hopes are edging toward the exit at this point. Rick is also longing to go off and fight some more crime, but since he keeps finding treasure he can retire and since he is pushing like 70 at this point he’s not all that useful. In spite of my assessment, he and “Evy” are approached by a SOOPER-SEKRIT spy who wants them to go on Some Mission to return Some Item to Some People in China. So Rick and “Evy” go to drop off their item (it is the Eye of Shangri-La. Ooooh.) in China where LO & BEHOLD they run into Jonathan. Just when you thought you were safe…
Jonathan has set up a Middle-Eastern/Mummy-themed casino. In China. My hopes for this movie are now running away and crying as they burst through the theatre doors… come back, hopes… I need you so I can get through this…
Anyway, Jonathan is just as annoying as he has been for the last two movies. Everyone greets each other, and Alex (who came to the casino to visit Jonathan earlier) and Rick promptly get into an argument that I was positive was going to end with, “No, YOU shut up.” Instead, the O’Connells plus Jonathan all go to drop off the Eye of Shangri-La. Or maybe just Rick and “Evy” go and Alex meets up with them later. Again, not shootin’ for accuracy, folks. Either way, they all end up in a museum where they are led to the (cue scary music) statues that Alex uncovered earlier. The old guy who helped Alex before joins them and suddenly pulls a gun and demands the Eye from the O’Connells in order to—you guessed it—awaken the emperor. Anyone else getting déjà vu? Or maybe that’s just the feeling of hatred for the writers and their unashamed use of the exact same plot for the THIRD TIME.
In spite of the O’Connells’ efforts—along with Lin, who is the tiny woman from before and who is now apparently on their side—the Eye is wrested away, the emperor is awakened, and a chase ensues for the next 2 hours. For real, it is like fifteen minutes of the emperor chasing the O’Connells, the O’Connells chasing the emperor, me chasing my hopes and begging them to come back to me. During this chase we learn (or maybe we learned it before. It could even be after…look, I’m just the messenger) that the emperor can control the five elements—earth, fire, wind, water, and metal (GOOO PLANET!)—and that this mummy is miraculously immune to gunfire…much like the other mummy. And when I say immune, I mean that someone (usually Rick) shoots him and his face gets kinda crackly, like dry dirt. Then he makes a face like he’s severely constipated and becomes muddy again, regenerating whatever body part was severed, burned, etc. We also learn that Lin is either OMGSH SO FAST or extremely resilient, because I know I saw a bullet head her way.
If you were still awake at this point—and let me tell you, 1:00 am suddenly seemed a lot later—you breathed a sigh of relief as the chase scene finally ended. But don’t invite those hopes back yet. Because we’ve still got like 14 hours to go. Well, really only about one. But I promise it will feel like 14.
So Rick, “Evy,” Alex, Lin, Jonathan, the Russian circus, Tupac, and the Argentine soccer team (okay, I made up the last three. I’m just saying, it’s a large group) have to trek after the mummy to bring him down. Hopefully for good, because I can’t sit through a fourth movie. Apparently, the mysticality of Shangri-La (the place, not the super-sparkly Eye) includes a pool that will give you eternal life or youth or free tacos for a year. For the record, I’d pick the tacos. But apparently, if you place the Eye on top of this golden dome thingy in the Himalayas, you can see the path to Shangri-La. If the emperor gets there and then takes a dunk in the pool, he’ll be able to resurrect his army and command them to un-die and attack the world. Although if being ruled by an evil, un-dead emperor means this movie would be OVER, sign me up. So the O’Connells and Co. race to the Himalayas in an airplane piloted by a friend of Rick’s. Say it with me: Exact. Same. Plot.
There is a yak (?!) on the plane, which…isn’t significant, except it ralphs all over Jonathan, who then makes the obligatory “the yak yakked” joke. 15 points for managing to incorporate a yak into an airplane, mummy movie-makers. Minus eleventy-billion points for incorporating it solely for the purpose of that joke.
The plane winds up crashing, because in spite of Lin’s numerous warnings that the emperor can CONTROL THE ELEMENTS, EVEN IF THEY’RE FROZEN, the O’Connells still decide to take a plane ride in the snow. But they all manage to survive the crash, and…honestly, I don’t know what they hoped to accomplish, because all they can do is sit around and wait for the emperor to show up. Frankly, I don’t see why SURPRISE THE UNDEAD EMPEROR IS HERE RUN RUN RUN.
Emperor Han promptly opens his can of butt-kick and proceeds to start a swordfight with Rick. At first, it’s just your lame sword fighting/gun shootin’. And then the Yeti arrive. No, seriously. NO. SERIOUSLY. YETI. THREE YETI. Snow-crunching, bone-munching, eat-people-for-breakfast-and-clean-my-teeth-with-their-bones Yeti. Congratulations, Mummy 3—I really thought you couldn’t get any lower, and once again, you’ve proven me so, so wrong. So then Lin is like, “Hey, Yeti? Can you break some un-dead necks, here?” and the Yeti are all like, “Mmmm, un-dead people tasty,” and TOTALLY LISTEN TO LIN AND CHASE THE MUMMY’S STOOGES AWAY, WHAT.
Unfortunately, it’s not in time to stop the Emperor from attempting to stab Alex BUT, NO, RICK JUMPS IN THE WAY AND TAKES ONE FOR THE TEAM, NO, RICK, NOOOOOO. Rick is shish-ka-bobbed as “Evy” screams and Alex is like, “Oh, so he DOES love me.” No, moron, Daddy just likes being stabbed with ancient swords. But the emperor can’t stick around to see this; he’s got worlds to conquer, and sometime during the fighting he put the Eye on the little dome and found the way to Shangri-La. So off he goes, skipping gleefully.
Meanwhile, Rick is all bleeding out and moaning (pansy) as “Evy” holds him sorrowfully, when Lin approaches, followed by Some Chick who looks suspiciously like the woman who cursed the emperor way back when and HEY, WAIT. IT IS HER. But she—how did she—there was stabbing, and—she—WHAT IS HAPPENING. But the mystery is going to have to wait, because the woman is totally Zi Yuan and can help Rick! Yay! Although the way she offers help comes across a little suggestively. I’m not sayin’, I’m just… sayin’. She pours some magical water on Rick and we cut to Alex sitting mournfully in a dark corner, wondering if it is all his fault. Yes, Alex. Yes, it is. Feel guilty.
But don’t feel guilty for too long, because Rick is saved! Huzzah! Zi used something wayyy mystical to heal him (my money was on pot before we found out the real truth), which I sense is about to become significant. Yep, I was right—Lin and Zi have a clandestine convo in which we find out that a) Lin is Zi’s daughter, and b) they are both immortal. Now we know why Lin was unfazed by such silly things as bullets in the Never-Ending Chase. Kewl. Except Lin doesn’t want immortality. She wants Alex. Wait, what? How long has she known this guy, like a week? You have IMMORTALITY, Lin; wait around for a couple hundred years and I’m sure someone much less idiotic will come along. But, no, the feelings have been felt, and Lin is sad because she knows she can’t be in a relationship with Alex because he’ll get all old and dead one day. Though it’s not like dead people in these movies stay dead very long anyway; maybe she can resurrect him or something. Mama Zi talks to Lin and basically says, “Oh, pumpkin, you’re…pretty much screwed,” to which Lin is like YEAH THANKS MOM and then she goes off to be sad some more.
Since Zi took her sweet time restoring Rick back to health, the emperor has reached Shangri-La and the Bathtub of Eternity. Our heroes catch up just in time to see him take a couple of laps and become human-esque again. Then he turns into a three-headed dragon (Tomb of the DRAGON EMPEROR, I get it) and snatches Lin away into his Batcave. Once there, he announces it’s time for a field trip—once he brings his army o’ clay across the Great Wall (of China) and says some spell, they will be forever immortal, MUAHAHAHAHA.
But the O’Connells and friends are having none of it. They arrive in full battle mode, preparing to slice and kill and whatnot. Zi runs ahead and somehow—this part just confused me—sacrifices her and Lin’s immortality by saying some little spell. This is apparently one of those two-in-one spells you can buy at Costco, because she simultaneously calls to the warriors buried beneath the Great Wall and is like WHAT NOW, DRAGON EMPEROR, GOT MY OWN NOT-DEAD ARMY, SO I HOPE YOU PUT YOUR BIG GIRL PANTIES ON TODAY. But I did wonder—if memory serves, we still don’t know if Lin’s all right. And even if she was safe in Alex’s arms (gag me), they’re in a BATTLE. Maybe she should wait to get rid of Lin’s eternity when death doesn’t loom so near. Anyway, the emperor’s army and the other un-dead army totally start snapping their fingers and doing pirouettes and begin to rumble.
Where are “Evy” and Rick, you might ask? They would be hiding behind a rock in fear, thanks for checking. Seriously, I know college students who have seen more war action than these two see in this battle. I think at some point Rick tries to shoot some people BUT OH YEAH THAT STILL. DOESN’T. WORK. The learning curve for these people is disturbingly low.
Meanwhile, Zi steals this scary black dagger that will supposedly kill the emperor or some such nonsense, and the emperor is like “OH NO YOU DI’INT” and morphs into this chimera-looking thing in order to better defeat Team Un-Dead But Good Anyway. Alex manages to stop him, so we know that this kid is good for something, and then Rick (who now has the dagger) starts getting his butt kicked spectacularly.
Deciding that this just won’t do, Rick challenges the emperor to a fair fight, without the use of magical powers or unbelievably terrifying monsters. Right, because if I were the emperor I’d totally be like, “You know what, man? You’re right. This just isn’t fair… Yeah, right, lol, jk jk,” after which I would CRUSH him and do a victory dance. But since I’m not the emperor, and since it turns out you can’t change the endings of movies by shouting at the screen, I was forced to sit and watch as the emperor is like YOU’RE ON and proceeds to fight without his powers. It’s your (second) funeral, man.
So the emperor starts fighting, and it turns out magical powers weren’t stopping Rick from winning; he’s just old now and sucks at fighting. But never fear, Alex is here! He and Rick team up, and through the power of father-son bonding they manage to stab the emperor from both sides—now who’s not playing fair?—and he literally crumbles down into a pile of dust on the floor. That’s it? I paid eight bucks for a movie and drove out in the rain (don’t judge me; there’s not a lot to do in Lawrenceville) to see a pile of DIRT?
But wait, there’s more… now Alex and Lin share a tender moment. They are in love, soooooo in love, and while I missed a small part of this due to trying not to fall over dead, they are so totally together now. Jonathan—who has done NOTHING in the last half hour, by the way—takes the Eye of Shangri-La, because THAT hasn’t already caused us trouble, and decides to live in Peru. Ooookey-dokey.
Whew. The end. It’s almost bittersweet. But don’t be sad—a fourth one has gotta be on its way.