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I Want A Yeti of My Veti Own……. July 31, 2008

Posted by Alichat in Life, Movies.
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I always find it interesting the things you learn in the most unexpected places.  I am registered on a site where you can sign up to see sneak peeks of movies.  So, I received passes to see a sneak peek of The Mummy: Tomb of The Dragon Emperor, which will forthwith be called The Mummy 3 because I don’t feel like typing out that damn title more than once.  I had been given the impression that these passes are given out at random, but apparently I was mistaken.  Abby and I arrive at the theatre a little after 5:30pm.  The sneak peek starts at 7:30pm, but previous experiences have shown it’s best to arrive as early as possible.   There are already about 12 to 15 people in line ahead of us.  As we are waiting to be let in, other movie goers wander into the theatre lobby.  It was the most interesting mix of people I’ve ever seen, the most aggravating digression of manners, and fastest dive into middle school mentality.  Even Disneyland didn’t have this much variety.  There was the couple in their mid 60s, third in line, who high-fived their grandchildren as they climbed under the barricade to join them.  The family of six in front of us, whose children were so obese, the son walked duck footed, and the daughter couldn’t stand longer than five minutes without needing to sit down.  To our left, as the line wove through the theatre lobby, two heavily tattoed men in their 30s, a pregnant woman, a few pre-teens, and a 6′ 6″ black woman who, if she isn’t, should be in the WNBA.  This is just a smattering of what we saw. 

The most educational movie goer, and I mean educational for Abby and I, happened to be standing behind us.  Bob was his name I believe.  I think he was between 65 and 70 years old.  Wearing a hawaiian shirt,  bermuda shorts, sandals, with a 5 o’clock shadow, which I assume was to make him appear he had a chin…..sadly he did not.  As we are standing there, the organizer of the screening approaches Bob with a friendly handshake and asks if he needs any additional tickets.  **PING**  My eyebrows raise.  “I’m sorry.  We can get additional tickets?” I whisper to Abby.  She replies that she heard that as well.  Bob replies that he doesn’t need anymore, but as the evening progresses, others approach him about additional tickets.  This time, they are asking if he has any they can use.  Apparently tickets aren’t given out randomly at all. The most common thing we heard was “I only need one.  I have one extra person.”   Now, I will be the first person to admit that I am cheap, I love movies, I like to see them in the theatre on opening weekend, and I can be quite critical of plot/continuity/CGI/etc.  All these traits make me a perfect candidate for early screenings.  But, I am not such a cheap movie-geek critic that I would come to a theatre 2 hours early on the HOPE that someone there MIGHT have a spare ticket and that they MIGHT give it to me.  Good ol Bob did have a spare seat, as he came alone.  So he did tell one moviegoer that he’d get his friend into the theatre.  As the line grows, the friend arrives and is introduced.  Roger is his name, and he appears to be in his 30s.  As they are making general conversation, the topic somehow shifts to Bob’s current legal woes.  Bob starts telling his new friend Roger about how his half-sister filed a lawsuit against him and is forcing him to move out of his house.  If he doesn’t pay $90,000, which is 1/3 of the value of the house, then he has to move out.  “AND IT’S NOT LIKE I HAVE $90,000”  Did I mention that Bob was speaking VERY LOUDLY?  He also has no concept of personal space.  Abby and I found ourselves leaning away from him as if doing our own Leaning Tower of Pisa impression.  So, here’s the lowdown on Bob.  His half-sister is illegitimate, older than him, and raised by his mother’s sister.  He’s lived in this house “for 60 years, and it’s not really a house so much as a cottage.  I mean it has two bedrooms and two baths, so it’s pretty small.  The land is what she’s after, since it’s worth about $200,000.  So now I have to go to court on August 18th at 3pm and if I don’t have the money, I have to move out.  I’m just going to let it go and when I leave, move to Germany and live the rest of my life there.”  Apparently Bob’s father left no will which is why this is all happening.  Although, I’m not understanding how the half-sister can do this to him and his younger sister since it sounds like she’s the illegitimate child of the mother.  So how does she have claim on this house previously owned by Bob’s father?  And why am I pondering this shit?  Could it be because the story has been reverberating off my left eardrum for over an hour now? 

Bob feels the need to share this with every person that approaches him inquiring about tickets of course.  The final annoyance was when another buddy of Bob’s approaches about tickets, setting Bob off on a rant about how he should have tickets because he gave them to him days ago.  Then….we fell into middle school.  “Hey Bob….how about letting me slide into line with you?”  “I don’t know.  There’s alot of people here.  I think they might get a little upset” “Aw, come on man.  It’s just me.  Just one person.”  He then proceeds to squeeze past Abby and I, as I say “welcome to middle school.” 

The line starts to move, and we are let into the theatre.  I ask if I will be able to come back out to get popcorn after I find my seat.  The organizer tells me it would be no problem, as I will be given a pass.  My pass……a Jack of spades.  No lie.  As we are waiting for the theatre to fill, Kevin from G105 gets on a bullhorn to announce a contest to give away a free trip to……….wait for it…………..wait for it………ATLANTA!  Oooooooo……ahhhhhhhh!!!  (For those who don’t know, G105 is the Clear Channel owned, Top 40 station here that never plays any Duran Duran, yet their Music Director is a Duranie……go figure.)  Now had the radio station been giving away a free flight and hotel to LA or NY, then I’d have jumped up.  But Atlanta didn’t really do it for me.  You’d have thought they were giving away a trip to England because 70% of the audience jumped up to put their name in the pot for the drawing.  Kevin suddenly had that “holy shit!” look upon his face.  After the drawing, and the obligatory “Price is Right” run for the prize, the movie begins with a preview for Jason Statham’s new movie Death Race.  More on that later.  All this Abby and I had to endure to see The Mummy 3 before it’s release date.   

So, The Mummy 3….what you’ve been waiting to read about but instead have been subjected to Bob and his legal woes for four paragraphs.  First, let me say, I love John Hannah!  Ever since he spoke at the funeral in Four Weddings and A Funeral and tearfully recited the poem from WH Auden, I’ve always loved to see him on screen.  In the Mummy movies, he’s shown that he has fabulous comedic timing and does well with the slapstick.  I mention him first because he’s one of the highlights of this film.  There’s a reason this is The Mummy 3, and no it’s not because of chronology.  Of the three, I’d rank this at third.  Don’t get me wrong.  It is entertaining, action packed (to a fault), and funny.  A few times it crossed the line into Cheeseland.  I think had they cut out some of Brendan Fraser’s quips, it would have been ok.  (“Welcome to the 20th century” being one of them.)  Fraser, who doesn’t seem as comfortable in this role as he did in the previous two films, causes a campiness to Rick, but still has that great ability to stare into nothingness and make you believe he really is seeing a three headed dragon.  Jet Li is powerful as always, and has a few good fight scenes as Emperor Han.  Michelle Yeoh is graceful and amazing to watch.  I’d have liked longer fight scenes from her and Jet Li.  It is set in China after all, and contains two marital arts experts.  There are some big action sequences, and very funny moments, one involving a yeti and football, causing Abby to exclaim that she wants a yeti of her own. 

What I didn’t like about the movie and really disappointed me was they sacrificed the emotional and romantic plots with the O’Connells for action and CGI. Let’s put aside that the mummy Emperor Han’s backstory is just a reworking of Imhotep’s storyline.  This was the biggest issue for me.  Rachel Weisz chose not to revise her role as Evelyn Carnahan O’Connell, allowing Maria Bello to step in.  I decided to give this a chance, but I won’t lie and say I wasn’t concerned about her casting.  Brendan Fraser and Maria Bello were lacking chemistry.  Weisz and Fraser always had a natural, sexual chemistry between them.  Amidst all the mayhem with mummies, undead monkeys, scorpion kings, sand storms, gun play, and a few plagues, their characters falling in love, marrying, and having a precocious child seemed very natural and normal.  Their character’s relationship was well built within this mystical action world.  I felt Bello and Fraser’s scenes were a little forced and “acted.”  Also, Bello had a great accent at the beginning of the movie, but as it progressed, she lost the accent, especially during the action scenes. This made the loss of Rachel Weisz in the cast much more apparent. Luke Ford, the Australian who portrays Alex O’Connell, didn’t look like he could be the spawn of Fraser and Bello (perhaps it was his squintchy face??), and he was too old for the part.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  It annoys me when people complain that Daniel Radcliffe can’t play a 16 year old Harry Potter at the age of 18.  Puhlease.  But Luke Ford is a 27 year old playing an 18 year old, and while that might have worked for Luke Perry and he-of-the-gargantuan-head, James Van der Beek, it didn’t work for Luke Ford.  Fraser is 39 and therefore old enough to have an 18 year old child, but perhaps they should have kept ol’ Alex at a younger age.  Maybe Steven Sommers should have stayed on as the director.  He did write the original screenplay back in 2001, after The Mummy Returns was released.  I’m assuming in the 6 years it took to get this film completed, the script went through some big changes.  But since he stayed on as producer, you’d think he’d notice when the human element of his franchise is missing.   So, if you are looking for an entertaining film for the evening, I’d recommend The Mummy 3.  Just don’t go in as a critic as I normally do.

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