Tuesday, March 26, 2019

The Mummy Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (2008)




So this bring us to the end of the Mummy movies in this franchise.

There is an appearance of the Book the Dead in the 2017 Dark Universe The Mummy but that's all folks. The Dark Universe seemingly killed off an new movie in the Mummy part of this franchise.  But with the less than stellar results of that movie and the new Scorpion King movie last year.  Let's not say never.

(I recall a rumour that Fraser said he was playing a descendant of Rick O'Connell in his GI Joe cameo but I can't find that reference now.)

I still have the Mummy Chronicles books to go but I'm still awaiting them to arrive and I'll review them as they come in.

So the third movie in the series has a lot in common with the fourth Indiana Jones film which came out the same year.  Both take the series in a new direction, both are set after WWII and hint that the main characters have had an extensive career in espionage during the war.  Of the two I think I like the Mummy more.

Set in 1947,  Rick and Evie (now played by Maria Bello) have retired after World War Two and are bored out of their minds.  So they leap at the chance for one last job delivering an artefact to China, Jonathan has a night club in Shanghai.

Wouldn't you know it but Alex (Luke Ford) has dropped out of college and has discovered the Tomb of the Dragon Emperor. Due to magic, the Emperor and his army have been turned into terracotta soldiers and they are awakened.

It's another fun romp of a movie,  Bello is fine as Evie,  I like Luke Ford as Alex,  there is a tension between him and Rick that plays out in this film (and sperates it from Indy which has a similar plot with Indy and his son Mutt).  Alex is so similar to his father and he chafes being in his father's shadow (and to a degree his mother).

This movie opens up the scope of the franchise, even setting up the sequel.  Taking the movie to China with another all powerful undead villain (something the Animated series did to a degree while still relying on Im Ho Tep to an extent.  The movie travels to Shangri La and the O'Connells encounter Yeti and fight a dragon.

The Dragon Emperor shows us that the O'Connells don't need Im Ho Tep to battle.

The end of the movie has Jonathon getting out of Shaghai and moving to somewhere they've never heard of Mummies, Peru.  (i have a vivid memory of text appeading that Mummies were found in Peru in liek 1952 - but that didn't appear)

If you like the first two check out this one.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

The Mummy The animated series Season 2





For the second season the animated series was subtitled The Secrets of the Medjai as the end of the last season Ardeth Bey promises to train Alex as a Medjai.

But for the most part they didn't need to subtitle the series as it mostly follows the same formula as season 1, we just a few episode with Alex working with the Medaji trainees.

(For the record Alex's training is also part of The Mummy Chronicles series)

We learn that Rick's father Jack was a Medjai,  which explains the revelation in The Mummy Returns that Rick is a Medjai except we seem to have forgotten that fact.  A couple of the other Medjai trainees tease Alex that he doesn't have Medjai blood.

We also seem to have forgotten that Evie was the reincarnation of Nefertiti as that becomes a point in the two part pilot.

And revisted later in a time travel episode where Alem travels back in time and meets the Princess who looks exactly like his mother with a different hair style.

Alex learns some new skills with the manacle and has a brief flirtation with his dark side thanks to some magic, it's subplot that perhaps could have been played a little more long game.  I nearly suspected that the episodes were shown out of order except for the fact that the enhanced leaping ability he learns in that episode being used in the later episodes.  However Alex is a moody teenager (something that carries over to Tomb of the Dragon Emperor.)

The series ends with the short term defeat of Im Ho Tep and the revelation that Alex is the Supreme Medjai and has special powers.

It makes sense that this is an escalation of the series but it takes away from the man vs supernatural aspect that made the movies so enjoyable.



Overall the series was fun version of the Mummy.




I'm going to mention the Mummy Annual here.  I ordered the annual had planned on a full entry.

Back in the eighties if I got a UK Annual, it had games, and fun facts and all new stories and comics featuring the characters, I presumed that this annual would be the same.     There were Mummy fun facts (actually a game Jonathan is giving us the facts and some are wrong and you have to identify what facts are wrong) The stories were however just retellings of the episodes with images from the episode.

The annual also retells the events of the Mummy and The Mummy Returns pointing out that the latter movie was set in 1935 not 1933 as in the film.  (The reason is that Alex is eight in The Mummy Returns and 1933 is only six years after 1927 and there's no way he could be eight.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

The Mummy the Animated series season 1 (2001)


After the Mummy Returns hit cinemas the next Mummy adventures came on the small screen.

The Animated series plays out as a stripped down version of the Mummy Returns.  The O'Connells find the Manacle of Osirus and young Alex puts in on his wrist.  Lots of running around the world trying to get it off of him.

Imhotep no longer was trying to ressurect his girlfriend, he was trying to steal the manacle.  Rick no longer uses guns, instead like another adventuring hero uses a whip.  But this is a kids cartoon and I'm willing to over look these changes.
 

Alex is now about 10 or so here so we are a couple of years after the Mummy Returns and you'd think Alex would know better.

There's no real mention of the earlier films.  The pilot "The Summoning" mentions that Evie discovered the Book of the Dead and donated it to the British Museum of Antiquities. But no real mentions of previous battles with Imhotep.

Evie is hired as Chief Archeologist of the Bristish Museum of Antiquities and given a Zepplin to fly around the world.  Her first job is the dig at Haminuptra, the city of the dead.

 However when Evie got the job, she got it over Colin Weasler who felt the job should have been his.  Weasler steals the book of the dead, sneaks to Haminuptra and ressurects Imhotep.  Silly man thinks he can control the mummy.

Weasler is a lot like Beni from the first movie.

The series is set all over the world as the family follow the path of the Scroll of Thebes and they encounter a variety of other supernatural creatures such as dragons, sand worms, werewolves, sea monsters, lave monsters, elemental creatures and griffons.

Some historical figures appear in the series as we discover that Rick used to play baseball with Babe Ruth and Evie studied mathmatics with Albert Einstein.



Each episode is about twenty minutes long and are enjoyable enough.  They are non essential but they do scratch the mummy itch if you want a little bit more.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

The Mummy Returns 2001 – Brendan Fraser, Rachel Weise, Arnold Vosloo and The Rock.





 The first Mummy was a success and a sequel was greenlit fairly quickly. I suspect the first movie was created as a stand alone and we see some retconning happening here.

Opps Evie isn’t the reincarnation of Anck Su Namun but of Pharaoh’s daughter Nefertiti and oh yeah Rick well he was always a Madji. Imhotep who we killed and defeated at the end of the last movie? Yeah he got resurrected returning for this adventure.

Evie and Rick are now married with an eight year old son Alex (but the movie is set in 1933 at most he should be six) but still adventuring. Alex is ok but he become the focus of the movie when he puts the bracelet of the Scorpion King on his wrist.

In a prologue we discover that the Scorpion King (played by the Rock) made a deal with Anubis for power to defeat all his enemies and he’s now the commander of Anubis’ army. He can be summoned with the bracelet and if you defeat the Scorpion King then you take command of Anubis’ army who threaten to take over the world.

There’s some nice meta gags as Rick guesses the story of the Scorpion King because it’s always that way. There are some fun Mummy battles bigger than the first movie a nice Mummy chase through London in a double decker bus.

Alex (Freddie Boath – who also had a role in the TV series House of Anubis) is kidnapped by the villains resurrecting Imhotep so he can kill the Scorpion King and let them control the army of Anubis. I actually liked how he played off his uncle Jonathan and later with Lock-Nah.

There are some twists and turns  as Rick and Evie race around the world to rescue their son, some really good fights between Evie and the reincarnation of Anck Su Namun. The reappearance of the Scorpion King is marred by some really bad CGI but a good follow up to the first movie.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

The Mummy 1999 – starring Brendan Fraser, Rachel Weise and Arnold Vosloo written and directed Stephen Summers 






I think I’d have to rate this as one of my favourite films, for the longest time this was the go to movie when there was nothing else to watch for my wife and I. Watching this again today, I was reminded why I love it. It’s a pure pulp inspired adventure romp – and is arguably the best of the “Children” of Indiana Jones.

The movie opens in Ancient Egypt and we are told of the forbidden love of Imhotep and Anck Su Namun and how they killed her husband Emperor Seti I. Anck Su Namun kills herself and Imhotep is caught trying to bring her back. His punishment eternal life so scarabs can eat him for all eternity with a host of powers and should he ever get free he will be super powerful and try to take over the world. No I can’t see a flaw in that plan either.

Next we flash to 1923 and a troop of Foreign Legionnaires are fighting some Arabic gents in some ruins. Here we meet Rick O’Connell. He’s the man who take command when his commander runs off, there were a LOT of Arabic gentlemen. Watching are the Madji – descendants of the Pharaoh’s guard determined to stop Imhotep being released on the world. We’re not told who or what or why they were fighting except when the Arabs see the statue of Anubis in the city, they run far away very fast.

The movie then jumps forward to three years later and we meet Evie and Jonathon Carnahan, the serious scholar and the charming scallywag respectively. Jonathon has ... liberated an artefact and that sets off the whole shebang. With our heroes and villains introduced the movie takes off. The Mummy is revived, thinks Evie is his former love Anck Su Namun our heroes race to save her and there’s a big fight. It’s a good solid adventure with rival archaeologists ending up as Mummy fodder their essence powering him up. The whole thing is just slam bang fun. I especially love the character Winston, the British pilot who survived World War I. Twenty years later and the special effects while not perfect still hold up pretty well. If you haven’t seen the Mummy, go check it out.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

This is the End: The Mummy/Scorpion King


I've been on a bit of a 1990s Mummy kick lately.  Brendan Fraser's The Mummy (1999) was a remaginging of the 1930s Universal movie of the same name bringing back the mummified Im Ho Tep. 

The later Universal films all featured a mummy named Kharis, except for Abbot and Costello meet the Mummy which featured Klaris.  Hammer films also made several mummy movies but none of theirs featured Im Ho Tep and none connected to each other. 

The 1999 movie shfted away from horror and became a slightly more supernatural version of Indiana Jones.  There's a joke that the three best Indy fims are Radiers of the Lost Ark, The Mummy, and the Mummy Returns.

It might appear that the 2017 Dark Universe The Mummy starring Tome Cruise put an end to the franchise but 2018 brought a new entry that sparked me off on this search.  The Scorpion King 5: The Book of Souls.

So what do we have in this franchise?

Movies

The Mummy 1999
The Mummy Returns 2001
The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emporer  2008

with the spin-off




The Scorpion King (2002)

Which is all the theatrical movies.  However Universal made

The Scorpion King 2: Rise of a Warrior (2008)
The Scorpion King 3: Battle for Redemption (2012)
The Scorpion King 4: Quest for Power (2015)
The Scorpion King: Book of Souls (2018)

None of which starred the Dwayne "the Rock" Johnson.  2 was a prequel  starring
Michael Copon, the Blue Ranger in Power Rangers: Time Force.

3 and 4 starred Victor Webster (Mutant X, Continuium)  5 starred Zach McGowan (Black Sails).

I've loved all the movies - the Scorpion King series have been fun sword and sandal romps.

There was also a two season animated series set after The Mummy Returns



Then I discovered the books;

All four theatrical movies were novelised by Max Allan Collins.

Dave Wolverton wrote a four book YA series The Mummy Chronicles which featured Alex learning to be a Magi.

There was also a tie-in Annual for the Mummy TV series.

1) Revenge in the Scorpion King
2) Heart of the Pharoh
3) The Curse of the Nile
4) Flight of the Phoenix

Then there were three different comic series

Only one of the three proposed issues of Chaos! Comics The Mummy: Valley of the Gods was released and was set during the O'Connell's honeymoon with prophetic dreams of the Scorpion King.  Chaos went out of business before the rest of the series could be released.

Next was Dark Horse's 2 issue The Scorpion King: The Akkadian Prophecy" set just before the Rock's movie (and before Rise of a Warrior)

Just before the third movie IDW released the four issue miniseries The Mummy: The Rise of Xango's Ax  set just before that movie.

The whole Scorpion King/Mummy franchise is a lot of fun to read/watch and I do hope that we will see more from this world.  The third movie set up a sequel with Jonathon moving to Peru just before the discovery of Mummies there.

I'm still waiting on several of the books to arrive but I'll review them when they arrive.  Actually I might do a Mummy March.




Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Aquaman (2018) Jason Momoa, Amber Heard and Patrick Wilson

For New Year's Eve, the family decided to take a trip to the movies to see Aquaman.  What a fun ride of a movie this was.

Jason Momoa is having the time of his life playing Aquaman - intially a surprise casting choise in Batman V Superman and Justice League.  While he may not look exactly like the comic book character, he has the spirit of the character down pat. 

With a touch of the bad-ass "I have a hook for a hand" version of the nineties with a pinch of the blowhard character seen in Batman Brave and The Bold, Momoa nails the character, a child of two worlds, scared of the destiny to unite them both.

There are a couple of intertwining plots - the movie starts with Aquaman foiling a pirate attack on a Russian submarine and a decision he makes causes the creation of one of his arch enemies.

The second plot involves Arthur trying to claim the throne of Atlantis, there are some gorgeous underwater scenes then a quest arounf the world to find the trident of the last great Atleanean king. 

The whole thing ends in a giant underwater battle with sharks with 'friggin' laser beams and giant seahorses and a big ass sea monster.

The search for the trident was a fun Indiana Jones/Tomb Raider/Uncharted style adventure (with a generous side of Disney's Atlantis THe Lost Empire) 

[As an aside - this movie has probably ruined the chances of a live action version of Atlantis: The Lost Empire or  The Deep, - but damn it made me wish for them]

Then the movie did the most awesome thing the quest for the trident ended in the lost sea in the hollow Earth - they went to Skartaris.  And queue the blank looks, for newbies to the worlds of DC Skartaris is the centre of the Hollow Earth created by Mike Grell (also known as the greatest writer on Green Arrow ever)  for the comic book known as Warlord. Skartaris has appeared in a couple of episodes of Jusice League Unlimited.  Could this be a set up for a Warlord movie?  Oh I hope so.

The whole movie was so much fun to watch from start to finish that everyone left with a big grin on our faces.