Tag Archives: The Mummy

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted, but I think it’s important to come back with a bang. More accurately, a Gyllenhaal. In one of the best homages to a video game, this film takes the concept of the Prince of Persia series and takes another element everyone loves. Parkour. Combine a gameplay feel and straight ahead roller-coaster plot and you have yourself the next best thing to The Pirates of the Caribbean. Never mind the

We meet again, Sir Ben.

lackluster acting and portrayal of a country/nationality that doesn’t exist, Jerry Bruckheimer’s name is on this one. And if he did POTC, how could this be bad?

You may sense some sarcasm in the way I wrote that last paragraph. But, in actuality, I didn’t mind Prince of Persia. I had watched my girlfriend play a bit of the games (specifically Sands of Time) and I got a precursor to Assassin’s Creed that was a bit too much of a coincidence. Loving that idea and the inspiration that I’m sure AC drew from Prince of Persia, I was more than happy to sit down and watch the film. And what I got was exactly what I thought I was going to get. An adrenaline ride with pretty graphics and average characters. Think… The Mummy meets Indiana Jones, or something.

Get a load of that chest…

I think that’s what people need to realize when it comes to video game movies or action movies in general. What you expect is what you get. If you think this is gonna be an entertaining movie about a great video game, then you will get that. If you’re thinking Oscar worthy action thriller, you will be sorely disappointed. Please, critics out there, stop classifying all movies in the amazingly stellar films category. It ruins it for all of us with your snarky and harsh reviews, thus making everyone feel they should believe what one person’s opinion says in print. That’s B.S.

So, that straight ahead plot I was talking about. Jake Gyllenhaal plays Dastan, a made up name for the main character of the Prince of Persia series (he is the Prince after all). You wouldn’t be surprised how many times they use the title of the movie in the actual movie. Anyways, Dastan is a street rat (not far off from Aladdin) who is

Jakey’s angry face.

taken into the care of the King (Ronald Pickup) and treated as his son after an act of courage. After years of success and conquest, Dastan and his brothers, Tus (Richard Coyle) and Garsiv (Toby Kebbell) have come again to another city, the city of Alamut, in order to conquer it on what seem legit reasons. Oh, but the plot thickens.

Yeah, Arterton, you should be off camera for this shot…

After capturing the priestess Tahmina (Gemma Arterton) and promising her to Tus, the King and his subjects celebrate a misinformed victory. The King is poisoned by the framed Dastan while the King’s brother Nizam (Ben Kingsley) stares on in horror. He flees with Tahmina and a dagger he won, only to find it has the powers to control time. With such a great power, well, you know the rest. It is up to the banished Prince of Persia to save the ones he loves and stop the destruction of the world. The typical main points in any action film.

Of course, there were the obvious faults in the film. Jake Gyllenhaal is putting on a strange English accent and portraying a tanner race that no longer exists. Everyone speaks in either an English accent or some strange Middle Eastern tinged accent. The one actress in this film is annoying and godawful. What is there to say for action movies like this when one

Parkour to the extreme!

that is a decent video game remake has the worst female presence? Either get a better actress, or realize that most action movie females are there for sex appeal. At least there’s Lara Croft (but those shorts/tight fitting tanktop aren’t really helping…).

But I would say I was surprised that this film didn’t go for the cheesy lines as often or the special effects taking over the action. If I didn’t know better, I’d say it looked like Jake Gyllenhaal did all his own stunts. The parkour was entertaining and the sword fights are what you would expect from a Disney film. If you kick or punch someone, they’re down for the rest of the film. I had just as much fun watching the film as I did joking about it. Bruckheimer must be doing something right to keep my attention for more than 2 hours like he did…

Homage to a dastardly hero.

It was nice to see Tony Kebbell again, although his character was just a gruff and always yelling side character to the main plot. And I don’t know how/why Ben Kingsley does it, but he gets roped into these average films when he’s been Ghandi for crying out loud. Bloodrayne, The Love Guru, and The Last Legion? How does he do it? But seriously, get rid of that female actress. She added nothing to the film, and I didn’t mind the ending they had before the last 20 minutes. Get some of that, Arterton.

Overall, I’m sure, this film isn’t the greatest. It is entertaining though. For those of us out there who find Jake Gyllenhaal to be a hunk, traversing over Agrabah’s rooftops and allowing his flowing mane to pierce the skies, this film was no probelm-o. There’s nothing wrong

Give him a lick, he tastes just like sexy.

with mindlessly being entertained, as long as you are aware that it’s all in good fun. That’s what this movie was. Good fun. For Alfred Molina to show up again after the supposed “disgrace” of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (same year), it takes guts. And I’m sure they all had fun doing it regardless. Gotta say, a lot of those costumes looked ballin’. 6.3 out of 10.

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Hellbound: Hellraiser 2

Round 2

Pinhead is back for another romp in the hellish world of pain and pleasure in Hellbound: Hellraiser 2. I have to wonder where the issue of pleasure comes in though, because it just seems like a lot of pain and screaming without any of the fetish of sadomasochism. Maybe that’s the moral of the story. Sadomasochism really isn’t for anyone. In any case, let’s jump right into the continuance of the first film, as told by Kirsty.

The movie opens on a scene of Pinhead (Doug Bradley) as his normal, WWII self. Discovering the evils of the box in his bunker, I found it was a great opener to delve into the world of the killer, and find out that Pinhead isn’t really the worst guy in the world after all. He was transformed by the puzzle box, becoming the evil person he is in Hellraiser 2. Or so we’re led to believe. Fast forward to a short period after the first film and we’re back with Kirsty (Ashley Laurence). I give Miss Laurence a lot of props for coming back to a series that, at the time, may not have been received all that well. Whether it was for the money who she saw promise in the series, I congratulate her effort in playing the female antagonist in this film.

That can't be pleasant...

So Kirsty is in a mental asylum. I know you’re thinking, “Hey, was the last movie all a part of her delusion? What a cop out.” But no, that’s not it at all. All of the events of the last film happened. Frank killed Kirsty’s dad and wore his skin. Who, accidentally, killed Julia and allowed her to be sucked into a mattress of the Cenobite’s design. And after all Hell(raiser) breaks loose, Kirsty somehow escapes and is now confined to aforementioned asylum. The detectives don’t believe it when they question her and decide to leave her there. Immediately, Dr. Channard (Kenneth Cranham) seizes this opportunity to examine her, because, as we discover, there’s more to Dr. Channard’s interest than we may know…

Look! Frank can spell!

But then a whole lot of redonkulous events goes down. Julia (Claire Higgins) is reanimated from the mattress by a writhing, bleeding lunatic. She proceeds to relentlessly eat Channard’s face (in the sexual manner) and suck the lives out of a few men, Mummy style (I’m glad this idea always comes back in these movies). The Hellverse is opened and Pinhead and the gang are once again allowed into our world. But, and here’s the twist, Kirsty and this catatonic puzzle solving girl, Tiffany (Imogen Boorman) follow Channard and Julia into Hell to bring the fight to the Devil’s door. Well, not necessarily the devil, but something similar.

I don’t want to spoil too much, but it’s worth watching at least up to the second in the series. (I’m up to number 5.) A lot is explained in 4 (Bloodline) although it may be considered the worst in the series. I just enjoyed finding out about

Julia, back with a bloody vengeance.

the Lament Configuration box and its origins in history. Pinhead becomes a better fleshed out villain than a lot of horror series give credit to their slayers. (The only exception to that rule is Freddy Kreuger, maybe Mike Meyers.) We learn about the man behind the pins and begin the road to sympathy, something most people don’t like to see in sadomasochistic serial killers.

As far as this movie doing justice to the first one, I would say it came about 3/4 of the way and then petered out towards the end. The ending itself is kind of a buzz kill to the rest of the series, but don’t worry, it’s not over for Pinhead and Chatterbox anytime soon. It still has all the gore and claymation animatronics you’re looking for in this groundbreaking series. It lays a basis for the series and doesn’t beat a dead horse with its plot. It picks up where it left off with no complaints. I was happier with the acting in this film and I felt the amateur returners to this film hit their stride and knew what was expected of them. I was a bit disappointed in the haunted house feeling that Hell had, or, the MC Escher style the art exuded(shout-out to Max for that one), but it’s all the past. The movie came to do what it did and did it with no fuss. Can’t fault it for that. So I’ll give Hellraiser 2 a solid 6.5 out of 10. And I hope you’re all looking forward to my Hellraiser 3 review.

Ahhhh yes, Dr. Channard...


Hellraiser: It’s Pinhead Time.

As I frequently do with my friends, it’s time to begin the watching and review of another classic horror film series. This time (and soon to follow, others) it’s the Hellraiser series, the brainchild of Clive Barker. In the vein of sadomasochistic pleasure and pain in the extreme, this movie explores the avenues of prosthetics and  stop-motion animation in a way to frighten and disturb. With a new chapter in gore created, Stephen King said it best. “I have seen the future of horror and his name is Clive Barker.” Ebert might not believe this statement, but what does he know, right?

At the start of this movie, we encounter Frank (Sean Chapman), a two-bit, no good, gangster of a hoodlum. He has found this box on the other side of the world and plans to use it to explore the extremes of pleasure and pain. Upon solving the box in his “zen temple of an attic”, the Cenobites (creatures from Heaven and Hell) come to him to show him the way of the flesh. As Pinhead (Doug Bradley) says, “We have such sights to show you.” Upon ripping his flesh and bones from his body and dragging him to a Hell brought on through a wall, Frank says bye-bye to the world.

Ahhhh, the Cenobites...

Years later, and for no perceivable reason, Frank’s brother Larry Cotton (Andrew Robinson) brings his strangely detached wife Julia (Claire Higgins) and rebellious daughter Kirsty (Ashley Laurence) to live in merry ole London town. Although only his wife is English. And there may or may not be an issue with accents in this movie for people perceived to be residents of the U.K. You make the call.

Have you learned anything, Frank?

While here, Larry Cotton absolutely destroys his hand on a rusty nail (check dat shizz for tetanus!) and accidentally brings back the remains of Frank’s body from the other side. It is then up to Julia and her past affair with Frank to reanimate his body, Imhotep/Mummy style. Bring on the parallels. Oh, and it’s up to Kirsty and her “boyfriend/interested bystander” (Robert Hines) to stop them. Get it goin’.

There were a few things that, after watching this once before at night, that I was in love with. I loved the reanimation scene of Frank’s body. It was absolutely grotesque and ballin’, all at the same time. Stop-motion animation, like in Sam Raimi’s The Evil Dead, just gets my horror juices flowing. I wish more movies went back to the days of the clay. Accompany this with a Mummy worthy stand in of Oliver Smith as Frank’s decayed, yet regenerating body and you have the creepy crawlies when you see his muscles moving over bone.

The images of Hellraiser.

There were a few things that doesn’t work either. The believability of Frank and Julia’s affair. I liked the tie in to the sadomasochism with their violently physical relationship, but there was no real sizzle at any point in the movie. Yes, you get a bit creeped out when she kisses Frank’s unfinished body, but what can you do? Another thing. The strangely over the top acting from Larry Cotton. I don’t know what this guy was shooting for, but it really was absurd. Thank God for the Cenobites coming in to bring some acting chops (pun intended with Chatterbox) to this film. Kirsty wasn’t too bad, I mean, they invited her back for the second…

So pair these lacking parts with a breakthrough into the genre of gore/horror, and you have my favorite genre. When you can overload someone’s senses with horrifying images and a few jump scenes, what’s better than that? And the simple fact that Clive Barker’s vision for this film sparked 7 other movies? Let me get a piece of that action. With these cult classics comes some of the best horror of its time, and one of my favorite horror series in the collection. Thanks Netflix! A solid 7.3 out of 10 for this groundbreaker.

Pinhead says word. Rollin' with the homies.


The Mummy/Mummy Returns: The Greatest Thing to Happen to Archeology and Egyptology Since Indiana Jones

So I just recently re-watched The Mummy and The Mummy Returns with my roommate and it was quite the nostalgic experience. I went back to a time where I used to be obsessed with the Eqyptians. I read books about them, I talk with my grandma about her trips to Egypt, she showed me slides, and, most importantly, I watched The Mummy series. I loved the story of Imhotep and how the story was interesting and at the same time based on historical evidence. The people, the places, the times of the Pharaohs, it was all real and interesting. And it was all set in the era of the archeologist. And automated weapons. What could be better?

So, basic plot of both films. Rick O’Connell (Brendan Frasier) and Evelyn “Evy” O’Connell, (Rachel Weisz) (Yes, they get married in the second. They even have a child! Imagine that!) accompanied by her brother Johnathan, (John Hannah) awake a mummy named Imhotep (Arnold Vosloo). He was never meant to be awoken, because of his travesties against Seti I. He was given the Hom Dai, the worst of all curses that transfers over into the afterlife. He fooled around with Seti’s wife-to-be Anck Su Namun (Patricia Velasquez) and killed Seti I. This story is all explained and re-explained in the two movies.

So Evy awakes Imhotep and the whole rest of the movie Rick and Evy race around Egypt attempting to stop the creature. And thus does the first one end. What’s nice about the second one is that it picks up from a point later on, and now Evy and Rick have a kid in tow. Their little “bundle of fun” Alex (Freddie Boath) puts on the Bracelet of Anubis and awakens the Scorpion King (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) who will bring about the next apocalypse. Those are Ardeth Bay’s (Oded Fehr) words, not mine. So this movie is about Rick and Evy vs. Imhotep in their race to the lost oasis of Ahm Shere to stop/utilize the Scorpion King’s army.

And these nice little action/adventure plots are what makes the movies. They’re not hard to follow, the keep up the suspense and action, and they’re academically infused with a bit of mythology and history. All based around the idea of a mummy coming back to life. Frightening, and at the same time mesmerizing.

I might be a little biased in my review because I grew up with the Mummy series, but these movies are quite fantastic. And no, I’m not including that hulking piece of garbage known as The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor. That thing was awful. There’s no Rachel Weisz, the plot is rocky, there’s no Egyptian aspect to it, it’s just trash. If I had to do it, I would compare it to Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Not as bad, but really detracted from the Indiana Jones series. But yes, The Mummy/Mummy Returns are quite fantastic in their scope. They use the history of the Pharaohs and the rituals of Egypt to spook and entertain. Setting it all in a early 1900’s era gives it that age of discovery and adventure around the world. And the use (?) of actual (?) locations really ties it all together. (I don’t know if it was filmed on location, but I do like all the pyramids.)

Brendan Frasier at his finest.

And the acting, quite frankly, is some of Brendan Frasier’s finest. He’s witty, but at the same time he can be serious. But I feel like that’s the way this movie was set up. It has the witty, corny lines (to a degree), but at the same time it has its serious parts and serious acting shines through. Rachel Weisz is always great (I can understand why she did resign for the Dragon Emperor) and John Hannah (although Scottish) does quite a good English accent. Probably not the point, but you can only see a little Scottish that pops through throughout the films. Oded Fehr is amazing and does a great job as an Egyptian Medjai. Kevin J. O’Connor always makes me laugh as Beni in The Mummy and whenever Rick O’Connell deals with him is great. I really appreciated Patricia Velasquez’s acting in the second Mummy as Anck Su Namun, trying to pretend to be a reincarnated version of herself. And the list goes on with cameos and small supporting roles that are all quite great.

So if you haven’t already seen these films, check them out. They’re worth the watch and are great for their entertainment value and scope in what they deal with. A definite 8.9 out of 10.