Adventure Is Reborn

I remember a few summers ago I was able to go to the air-conditioned theatre, slap down six bucks, and enjoy whatever explosive mess was lighting up the movie screen. But then I became a grizzled old man who forgot how to appreciate the scrupulously crafted piece of fluff known as the “summer blockbuster”. Defined as a movie that only promises to keep your eyes racing so your brain can take the afternoon off. Maybe it was the fact that I decided that I liked my brain and hated being told by some big-studio marketing honcho that I am obligated to pay nine dollars to become a drooling zombie for three hours; but it's more likely that I'm a bitter old man with no marvelous boy left inside. With that said you can take or leave anything I might say about these summer extravaganzas.

I applaud The Mummy and I applaud its writer/director Stephen Sommers. It took an industrious mind to wake up in the morning one fine day in Hollywood, scratch one's head, and realize that Indiana Jones was a made a long time ago and much potential lay untapped. So in 1998, Sommers and Co. slapped together an “adventure/romance” called The Mummy and America flocked to theatres to satisfy the craving they didn't even know they had for a repackaged Indiana Jones flick. When the dust settled and the many, many millions of dollars were counted, anyone with the slightest amount of conciseness realized that the “plot” was completely flawed and baffling, that Sommers had nothing on Lucas or Spielberg, and that Brendan Fraser could, if he was having his most superb day, clean Harrison Ford's underwear. But in Hollywood, quality, while penciled in somewhere on the map, takes a back seat to the green- and the opportunity for tons of green sends it someplace in the back of the trunk. This is not a good thing or a bad thing, per say, rather it just is. Sometimes the formula benefits the movie-going world (Lethal Weapon, Terminator) and sometimes not (Beverly Hills Cop, The Crow).

The Mummy Returns arrives in theatres purely as a calculated attempt to squeeze more money out of a previous hit (and it has certainly done so raking in the largest regular weekend opening ever!!!