In June, the gang went to see The Scorpion King. It was a good time: the movie was so bad that it was fun. I recently borrowed The Mummy and The Mummy Returns from Joel so that I could see the first two movies in the series.
The Mummy isn’t bad. It’s no work of art, but it doesn’t pretend to be. Despite some gaping plot holes, it’s a fun flick, the kind where one can just let go and enjoy the ride. It attempts to blend action and humor; for the most part, it succeeds. I watched it twice (once with the director’s commentary).
The sequel, on the other hand, is a festering pile of crap.
It’s the kind of movie in which the eight-year-old kid doesn’t act or speak like an eight-year-old kid, he acts and speaks like an adult. Conversely, the adult who is guarding him doesn’t act like an adult, he acts like a blooming idiot.
The Mummy Returns is the kind of movie in which two dozen bad guys with rifles cannot shoot the small boy from short range when he flees them. (Though you wish that the bad guys would nail the little bastard.)
It’s the kind of movie in which the laws of physics don’t apply. Not even the laws of physics the movie has previously established. The physical laws change on a whim, so one gives up trying to guess what is possible because everything is.
It’s the kind of movie in which mummies can not only outrun a bus, but they can also gain speed in the middle of a jump as they attempt to leap aboard.
It’s the kind of movie in which a man can run up a rising drawbridge and, while the bridge is at a thirty-degree angle, leap twenty feet across to the other side.
It’s the kind of movie in which a flimsy wooden scaffold can topple a massive stone column.
It’s the kind of movie that reuses gags from its predecessor bit-for-bit (wall of Y substance is summoned by bad buy to take out good guy’s flying vehicle; good guy topples X structures like dominoes; “I don’t know what this symbol is!”). Twice it even re-uses gags from earlier in the same movie!
It’s the kind of movie in which things happen simply because they make nice special effects.
It’s the kind of movie in which a drawn gun makes more noise than rattling chains. Swords raised in air, encountering no resistance, slink and chink like scissors.
It’s the kind of movie in which the hot-air balloon that’s been traveling at a snail’s pace for half-an-hour movie time suddenly can outfly a rushing wall of water when the plot calls for it.
It’s the kind of movie in which the editing is so poor that you give up trying to remember whether the good guy was holding his gun in his left hand or his right because you know it’ll just change hands again in a few seconds.
It’s the kind of movie in which the characters wear the same clothes for an entire week of movie time, through battle after battle, yet at the end of the film these clothes look like they’re fresh from the cleaners.
It’s the kind of movie in which the plot makes so little sense that you begin to wonder if it was tacked on as an afterthought, a clothesline on which to hang the action sequences. (It’s as if the writer and/or director (one man is both in this case) designed the set pieces first and then created a story around them.)
It’s the kind of movie that is so impressed with itself that it has slow-motion fight sequences. (I couldn’t help thinking that the movie would be that much shorter if there weren’t any slow-motion fight sequences.)
It’s the kind of movie in which the CGI bad guy at the end looks so fake that you laugh, though you’re sure that wasn’t the response the film’s creators intended. Stop-action animation would be more convincing.
It’s the kind of movie from which I can remember all of this without effort (despite my notoriously poor memory) because these are but few of the many problems.
It’s the kind of movie in which you give up trying to make sense of anything at all and just wish the damn thing would get over with — you glance at the DVD counter and think to yourself, “My God! Are there really forty-five minutes left in this?”
Some films, like The Scorpion King, are so bad that they’re fun. The Mummy Returns isn’t one of them. The Mummy Returns is so bad that it’s awful. It’s Attack of the Clones bad. It’s Devlin-Emmerich bad. And that’s damn bad.