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DVD Review: The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor
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The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor
Two Disc Deluxe Edition
Directed by Rob Cohen
Starring Brendan Frasier, Jet Li, Maria Bello, John Hannah, Luke Ford, Michelle Yeoh, Isabella Leong
Universal Home Entertainment
Release Date: December 16, 2008

The third installment of The Mummy series is sure not to disappoint. Well, one thing is disappointing and I have to say it right from the beginning. What happened to the real Evelyn O’Connell? I really hate to start a review like this. I like to tell a bit about the movie and then give my feelings, but I couldn’t, and I am sure you won’t be able to. It’s not that Maria Bello (Thank You for Smoking, A History of Violence) is bad in her depiction of Evelyn, it’s just that, Rachel Weisz is our Evelyn. Maybe Weisz’s decision to do Definitely, Maybe or My Blueberry Nights blocked her from The Mummy project. If it did, I have one thing to say: she should have stuck with The Mummy series. No judgments on the other two movies, but, you get my drift.

In The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, a new kind of mummy is released, Emperor Han (Jet Li), by mistake of course, and it is up to Rick (Brendan Fraser) and Evelyn, along with their now-adult son Alex (Luke Ford) and Evelyn’s brother John (John Hannah) to save the world from complete enslavement.

The Mummy franchise has yet to disappoint me and Rob Cohen does not do so now. In the interest of not giving away everything in the movie, I am keeping my review short, but I will go in detail about this DVD edition’s many bonus features.

As for the movie itself, you only need to know that if you have a free 2 hours, if it’s raining out, if you and the kids want to spend quality time, if it’s date night and it’s her pick, or if it’s date night and it’s his pick, I would definitely pick this one up. There’s a little bit for everyone.

DVD Bonus Features

DISC 1

Deleted and Extended Scenes
There are 7 deleted scenes. I am a huge fan of this bonus extra when any movie has them. That being said there are two scenes that I really liked that I wish didn’t end up in the cutting room. Ok, I am a bit hokey, but I enjoyed the “Secret Lovers” and “Night in the Himalayas” scenes. Here’s where the hokey comes in: they are the romantic interludes/explanations. All of our die-hard action seekers could do without this portion of the movie I am sure, but the movie would have benefited from both of these scenes. Other scenes include a cool new one when the Emperor turns to dust and reassembles and a fight between the Lin (Isabella Leong) and Choi (Jessey Meng).

Feature Commentary with Director Rob Cohen
This is a “free association sort” of commentary of the entire movie from the director Rob Cohen. Never a favorite, I really couldn’t sit through watching this whole movie with Rob Cohen commenting. I am sure people find this interesting, but a movie should be watched and enjoyed. Not watched and listened to for the director’s meaning. I guess I am a meat and potatoes gal, I don’t need all the extra sauce.

DISC 2

The Making of The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor
The director, producers, art directors, and actors comment on the making of the movie. Rob Cohen is credited with knowing a lot of ancient Chinese history and this became a labor of love for him. He states this work is “using Chinese history in an unusual way.” I agree!

From City to Desert
No movie of this size has ever been filmed in China. This movie crossed continents to fulfill the franchise vision, and it was completely worth it. The majority of the movie was filmed in China in a town north of Bejing and in Shanghai studios in Shanghai. A few of the interior shots were done in Montreal, Canada. Tidbit: the entire cast loved filming in Montreal. What aboot that!

Legacy of the Terra Cotta
I loved the way reality and fantasy was blended in this movie. There is no better example of this than the usage of one of the most famous historical wonders, the terra cotta soldiers. Producer Stephen Sommers (who directed the first two films) came up with the idea of doing the third Mummy installment in China (thanks Stephen!). The mystery of the soldiers still affect historians today. Each soldier is different, and what better way to explain their mystery than to say they were cursed people. Tidbit: Jet Li was not available for filming the entire movie, so the CGI mummy in the movie are a direct result of his limited schedule.

A Call to Action: The Casting Process
Ok, best casting decision: Michelle Yeoh and Jet Li. Worst casting decision: Maria Bello.
I’m also happy they bought back John Hannah. I just wish he had more lines. Lastly, I was not interested in new edition Luke Ford who played a grownup Alex O’Connell. Tidbit: The producers found this Australian import (Luke Ford) and immediately cast him. I am still trying to figure out what got him the role. Watch the movie and decide, maybe you can tell me.

Preparing for battle with Brendan Fraser and Jet Li
The fight choreographer, Mike Lambert, mixed different styles of martial arts and street fighting for each character. Tidbit: Maria Bello received 2 months of sword training and wire training. Can you pick out which scene she trained for? Hint: It involves a chandelier.

Jet Li: Crafting the Emperor Mummy
Two words for the idea of the “liquid solid” idea that Rob Cohen came up with: TOTALLY COOL. Ok, so here is what liquid solid is. Since the Emperor and army are terra cotta, they don’t move like “normal” beings. So they came up with the idea that the army would be solid, but, a compilation of liquid also. They would have shatter like kaed clay, but, would fluidly regroup as a solid.

Creating New and Supernatural Worlds
This bonus talked about the sets that were built for the movie. All of the sets were built and CGI took care of the extras.

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