I was reading a recent post on a discussion board for writers that lamented the fact that The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor was a poorly constructed, written, acted and directed piece of shit.
I would only be surprised if the movie hadn’t sucked.
Full disclosure demands I point out that I haven’t seen this movie or either of the other two Mummy flicks. Nor do I intend to. Life is short and way too short to waste a minute of it on bad Brendan Fraser movies. I happen to think a freshly painted park bench can out-act Brendan Fraser.
If timing is everything, this third edition comes seven years too late to capitalize on whatever success The Mummy (1999) and The Mummy Returns (2001) enjoyed. While Fraser is back to recreate his role, Rachel Weisz has won an Oscar and has moved on to less schlocky fare. Apparently, so have the critics as the flick has drawn an embarrassing 10 percent positive reviews from Rotten Tomatoes.com.
In the fine tradition of The Godfather III, Aliens 3, Spider-Man 3, Jaws 3-D and other third time around turkeys, why would anyone think another Mummy movie would be good? Talk about hoping against hope.
My rule of thumb about the way Hollywood handles film franchises is this:
The first movie gets made virtue of sweat, blood and wrangling a itty-bitty budget out of some tight-fisted studio. The director wants $100 million to make the movie his way, the studio gives him $50 to $70 million instead and the director goes off and tries to make the best movie he can with what he’s got.
The first movie becomes either a modest or monster hit. That gives the director the clout he needs to go in and make the movie he wanted the first one to be but didn’t have the budget for. Now he’s got the $100 to $200 million to make the sequel a state-of-the-art slam dunk, but now he’s got to deliver because the studio is making the second film a summer “tentpole” flick and it absolutely, positively HAS to be done in time.
The second movie is even bigger than the first, but the director isn’t obligated to make a third installment and may be thinking now about using his box office drawing power to make that “dream project” he’s always dreamed of. Maybe that all-star remake of “Gilligan’s Island” or something similar.
So for the third movie, Hollywood’s newest auteur decides to only take an “executive producer” credit and turns over the directing reigns to a second-unit director, screenwriter or some other guy whose major qualification is they can point a camera lens without getting their thumb in the shot.
The result is when the third flick drops it’s a turd of mammoth proportions. The money was there, but the script needed another rewrite, the lead actor is sleepwalking through a part they’ve grown throughly bored with, an important supporting role has been recast because the original actor wouldn’t sign up again without a huge pay raise and the movie stinks on ice.
The preview screenings are terrible. The reviews by the critics are even worse. They’re treating it like a $100 million dollar pinata. The star of this mess won’t do any promotional interviews and is trying to stay as far away from this bomb as humanly possible The only reason this turkey isn’t dumped straight-to-video is because it’s been advertised for months as one of the summer biggest movies.
Yeah, and so were Meet Dave and Speed Racer.
Long story shorter, thanks to a halfway decent trailer that shows all the best part of this farce, the movie enjoys a decent opening week despite the horrendous reviews. By next week the word of mouth on this stink bomb will have spread and the box office numbers will sink like a stone, but by then the newest sequel megalith will be in the theaters even as this one is on its way out.
The first movie is made for art. The second one is for art and money. The third one is for nothing but robbery. A fourth one? You gotta know when to hold ’em and when to fold ’em.
If I were a Hollywood producer, I’d just skip the third movie and quit before the sucking really sits in. That’s how you avoid calculating crap like The Mummy: Tomb of the Suckers who couldn’t get in to see “The Dark Knight” again.