Thursday, April 18, 2019

The Mummy Chronicles 4:Flight of the Phoenix by David Wolverton

The fourth and final book in the Mummy Chronicles YA series.  Alex O'Connell is again at the centre of this book and Ardeth Bay has taken him for some more Medjai training.

It turns out that a Phoenix egg as alledgedly turned up and the Medjai decide to send out three recruits to investigate.  (great plan guys)

And Alex discovers that his friends Rachel and Matt have followed him.

So Alex has to protect his friends without telling them exactly what is going on while competing against one of the other Medjai recruits.

To make matters worse, as they catch up with the traders who have the egg, they are attacked by slavers and robbers who steal the egg and capture Rachel.

The assault on the brigand's hideout is quite interesting.

Now that I've finished these books, the animated series, the movies, the novelisations, and  the comics. (OK I have three Scorpion King movies left)  The Mummy series as a whole is enjoyable. 

In many ways The Mummy Chronicles and the Animated Series  cover a lot of the same ground.  Both focus on Alex, and his Medjai training  both take the series in exploring other supernatural beings outside of Mummies (something the Scorpion King does too). 

Surprisingly, they work chronologically,  the first Chronicles book is set in 1937 and according to the Mummy Annual the Animated series is set in 1938.

I wish Wolverton did more books and let the O'Connell family work together more.  I like Rick and Evie (and Jonathon) .  Those are the characters we met in the first Mummy,  I get it Alex is the stand in for the audience in these younger skewing formats but those original characters are who we fell in love with.

(I wish they made the fourth movie with an Aztec Mummy, that got bumped in favour of the Dark Universe.)


Thursday, April 4, 2019

The Scorpion King 2: Rise of a Warrior dir Russell Mulcahy starring Randy Couture and Michael Capon

Funny story,  when I first saw the poster and promotional material I assumed that Randy Couture had taken over the role of Mathayus from The Rock.

Seemed reasonsable except that Michael Capon, the blue Time Force Power Ranger was Mathayus and Couture was the villian of the story - Sargon of Akkad.

It's a nice little adventure with Mathayus as a boy, against his father's wishes trying out to become a Black Scorpion, the elite Akkadian mercenary force. His father is killed through dark magic.  He goes off trains for six years and returns to discover that the man who killed his father has upsurped the throne.

There's a nice touch once he discovers Sargon is a magic user where he is off to Egypt to seek the Osiris Staff (from The Mummy Returns)  but he his advised against that and seels the Sword of Domocles.

Firstly do not use these films as any sort of historical reference.  The first film says before the pyramids, this film a prequel has a character saying they were going to Egypt to see the pyramids.

The CGI is not good Sargon becomes a giant scorpion who is mostly invisible which hides many sins but not all of them and at one point Mathayus and his party encounter a minotaur.  I think he looks like the one seen in The Animated series, but we never get a good look at the beast.

This was made in 2008 as a DVD tie in for Tomb of the Dragon Emperor.  It must have done alright as they made another three after this (and could be planning more for all I know).

Capon's Mathayus is fine, he's younger and I could see how he became the man from the first film.  His female companion Layla is okay and the Greek poet Ari is quite entertaining.  The trio put me in mind of Rick, Evy and Jonathon from the Mummy movies.

I enjoyed this movie,  it's not the greatest film ever but it wasn't trying for that.  It's a simple revenge story with the first big adventure of the man who would become the Scorpion King.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

The Scorpion King (2002) Dwayne' The Rock" Johnson

While The Mummy Returns was The Rock's movie debut, it was little more than a gloriied cameo and half of that was CGI. The Scorpion King was his debut as a leading man.

Seventeen years later and Dwayne Johnson is one of the busiest people in Hollywood but it wasn't a sure thing.

Watching The Scorpion King so soon after the Mummy Returns, there's big disconnect between the noble and heroic Matthyias seen in this movie and the villianous Scorpion King in the Mummy Returns granted there was some time between the two stories but as we get more sequels with a heroic Scorpion King the harder it is see Matthyias' heel turn  (The Scorping King 2 was a prequel to this movie but 3 - 5 are set after this movie)

I do wonder if the Scorpion King was never meant to be connected to the Mummy and the sudden success of The Mummy meant that they used ideas from The Scorpion King in the Mummy Returns.

There is an entry on TVtropes that Sommers considers the Mummy Returns Scorpion King to be the lookalike grandson of this Scorpion King.  Ican't find the actual source for that but It's an interesting way to look at two franschises.

The movie itself is quite enjoyable Sword and Scorcery film in the vein of Conan or Hercules.  (which reminds me I want to see the Hercules Movie that Dwayn Johnson made a couple of years back)

Kelly Hu as the sorceress Cassandra is quite good in her role and is quite able to handle her own in some of the fight scenes.  The Rock is charismatic and really good - it's hard to beleive that his is his second movie and first leading role, he hold his own with Michael Clarke Duncan's Balthazar.

Hey i wouldn't complain if every few years another DVD exclusive in this series was come out.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

The Mummy Chronicles 3: The Curse of the Nile by Dave Wolverton

 This is the third book of this young adult series.

Alex and his parents are investigating an artefact that might lead to a lost and long destroyed Temple of Osiris, in a prologue we see the temple was destroyed after a djinn invaded the temple and hid itself in a powerful amulet.  The amulet is hidden in a river temple.

Wouldn't you know it but guess who falls overboard and finds the amulet? Alex.

The Djinn is a nice change of pace and one that has not  appeared before. As per the typical legends three wishes will free the Djinn and he will be able to enslave the world.

There were somethings that bothered me about this story.  One Alex doesn't tell his parents or Ardeth Bay what is happening instead trusting Rachel and Matt hos friends from the last book.  We get a bit where the Djin tells Alex not to trust Ardeth or his parents but really all three have the knowledge and experience in these matters.  I get this a YA book but this seemed like the sitaution for the adults.

Another thing that annoyed me  was the constant reference to Alex's mother and Alex's father rather than Rick or Evie .

Ungricht the evil German archeologist from the first two book is back but is turned into a giant toad permanently.

Hopefully the fourth and final book will turn up soon, I'm looking forward  to see what it brings.

Monday, April 1, 2019

The Mummy Chronicles 2:Heart of the Pharaoh by Dave Wolverton

The second of the Mummy Chronicle books did not disappoint.  The year is 1937 and the O'Connell family are back in England.  The family gets a visit from Winston Churchill who wants Evy to investigate rumours that Italian Fascitsts have discovered Cleopatra's tomb and all her wealth. 

Churchill has brought a mummy with him.  Alex reveals that she wsa a young girl named Irani and her shadow accompanies them.

The family are off to Egypt and Alex reunites with his friend Rachel from the first book and she has been working as a spy against the Italians.  Rick and Evy head to the suspected tombsite leaving Alex, Rachel and Matt, the son of the British Ambassador.  Rachel discovers that the Italians have brought in more troops  after the parents have left.

Alex and his friends "borrow' Izzy's airship (last seen in The Mummy Returns) and race to warn their parents.

The archeologist Ungricht from the first book returns and the parties play hide seek through the tomb.

It was nice to see a Mummy adventure where the O'Connells don't have to battle a mummy, in this one the Mummies help them and Alex is able to help Cleopatra and her mummified retinue head to the afterlfe.

Really looking forward to the next couple of books.