The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor
The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor is a 2008 American action-adventure fantasy film and is the third and final installment in the Mummy trilogy. The film stars Brendan Fraser, Jet Li, Maria Bello, John Hannah, Luke Ford, and Michelle Yeoh.
The film was directed by Rob Cohen, written by Alfred Gough and Miles Millar, and produced by Stephen Sommers, Bob Ducsay, Sean Daniel, and James Jacks. The film is set in China, departing from the previous Egyptian setting.
In 1946, Alex O'Connell, Rick and Evelyn O'Connell's son went to visit China with a precious relic, which is capable of resurrecting people back from the dead, Alex O'Connell discovers an ancient tomb and accidentally resurrects a mummy, and he battles the mummy of the First Emperor of Qin, a shape-shifting entity cursed by a witch centuries ago.
Why It Doesn't Feel Like a Mummy Film
- The idea of a Mummy film taking place in China is a horrible concept in the first place. Even though that China actually did have mummies, the movie tried to make Chinese mummies the same as Egyptian mummies, and worst of all, the changing from an Egyptian setting to a Chinese setting doesn't make any sense at all.
- This is a complete inferior to what the original two films so great, It feels all different with a lot of changes to the point where it didn't feel like it's a Mummy film, it also serves no charm, no hearts, or any horror genres and just does whatever it can to exist.
- Maria Bello is a very bad replacement for Rachel Weisz (who refused to return due to a combination of wanting to spend time with her son and hating the script after reading it) as Evy. She tries her best, but really can't nail down an English accent, and doesn't feel at all like the same character. Not helping that Bello is American.
- Except for Brendan Fraser, there is horrible acting from Luke Ford, and the Asian actors.
- Several plot-holes, and unexplained details everywhere.
- The mummies were hostiles from the first two films, but now they're friendly and good mummies?
- Halfway through the movie the titular Dragon Emperor obtains the only weapon in the entire world capable of killing him. But instead of either destroying it or putting it somewhere that the heroes could never obtain it, he keeps it on his person, which of course allows the heroes to steal it and eventually kill him.
- Terrible CGI effects, especially for Jet Li turning into a statue, with the brown melts almost look like chocolate.
- While the soundtrack that was performed by Randy Edelman is well done, it's not as memorable as the first two films.
- Terrible story that feels like a pale imitation of the second film.
- Jet Li doesn't appear in it that much, with his character being entirely shown through CGI until the last third of the film.
- Despite Li and Michelle Yeoh being two of the most acclaimed martial artists in the acting world at that time, they only spend about a minute or so fighting together.
- The film keeps giving the Dragon Emperor all sorts of additional powers in each new scene, but also throws in some pretty weird limitations on his abilities, somehow making him seem ridiculously overpowered and ridiculously weak at the same time.
- This film blatantly rips off plot points from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (the son needing to save his wounded father by using a liquid which can grant eternal youth).
- The Dragon Emperor's two lieutenants both end up dying laughably bad deaths in a scene that almost seems like an afterthought; one of them trips up, gets dragged underneath a giant water wheel and crushed to death, and the other ends up suffering the same fate while trying to save her.
- A blatantly sequel-baiting ending that has Jonathan suddenly sell his club in Beijing for no reason and move to South America, because he thinks there are no mummies there; a caption card then informs us that there are. Because of the movie's underwhelming box-office total, no such sequel was ever made.
- The pacing isn't very good.
- Bad direction by Rob Cohen.
- It sadly ended The Mummy films on a sour note, due to the negative reception this film got. It was going to get a fourth film, but was however cancelled due to this film's negative reception.
- Brendan Fraser's performance is still good, and he is still a likable character from the first two movies.
- The Universal logo variant at the beginning is pretty cool.
- Although not memorable as mentioned above, the soundtrack is still well done.
The film received mostly negative reviews from critics audiences and fans of the first two Mummy films. The film currently holds a 12% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 177 reviews, with an average rating of 3.69/10. The site's critical consensus read, "With middling CG effects and a distinct lack of fun, The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor finds the series past its prime." Metacritic scores a film a 31/100 based on 33 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".
However, Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times somewhat gave the film a positive review, awarding it three out of four stars. Ebert remarked, "Now why did I like this movie? It was just plain dumb fun, is why." Ebert also stated that Tomb of the Dragon Emperor is the best in the series.
- There was originally gonna be a fourth movie for the franchise set in Peru, The Mummy: Rise of the Aztecs, according to actress Maria Bello, who agreed to star in it. However, because of the third film's poor reception, it was cancelled and rebooted, nearly nine years after the release of this film.