Horror, Monsters

Tale of the Mummy (1999)

0 Comments 18 April 2012

Studio: Miramax/Echo Bridge
Theatrical Release: August 3rd, 1999
Blu-Ray Release: March 20th, 2012
Rating: R
Directed by Russell Mulcahy
Review by Craig Sorensen

What is it with the ‘90s?  Why do they have to take a good thing and then just fuck it all up?  You’re over thinking things 1990s.  Everything is a goddamn revisionist take.  Which in and of itself isn’t necessarily a bad thing I suppose.  There are plenty of revisionist horror films that I really enjoy (Rosemary’s Baby, The Shining, Psycho, Burial Ground to name just a few).  The problem with the ‘90s (at least as I see it) is that it combines the ‘60s and ‘70s creator driven revisionist bent with the vapidness of ‘80s commercial filmmaking.  Everyone’s doing their genre revisions but no one has anything fucking useful to say.  So if you were going to, say, make a new movie about mummies, you can’t just get a guy and wrap him in some dusty bandages and send him out to crush some skulls, oh no.  You have to rethink the mummy.  It doesn’t matter if there’s no good reason to rethink mummies, just fucking do it anyway.  You see, this isn’t your daddy’s mummy film, because Russell Muchahy and Miramax think your dad is an asshole.

So how do these jerks ‘reimagine’ their mummy?  Well, what’s the best thing about mummies?  If you said the bandages, first of all go fuck yourself and second of all you must be Russell Mulcahy.  Seriously, this movie is not about a walking corpse fulfilling an ancient curse, it’s about flying bandages that pull people into toilets.  Yeah, they kill one guy by pulling him into a fucking toilet.  And it’s not like it has to rip and tear him apart to get him to fit through the drain,  it just squeezes him in Looney Tunes style.  And of course, this being the late ‘90s, it does this with some of the worst CGI that I’ve ever seen.  It really looks like a cartoon which is in complete discord with the fairly serious tone of the film.  Really, the CGI is fucking awful in this.  It just looks cheap.  There are numerous shots of the bandages flying around the city (yeah it looks as stupid as it sounds) that look like shit.  It sticks out like a sore thumb.  I think what makes it look off to me is that the contrast is different from the computer generated images and the film images.  I don’t think that this is a fault of the transfer as the film generally looks OK.  Really, the two worst scenes are the toilet scene and Christopher Lee’s death.  I won’t give it away as I don’t want to spoil the disappointment.

I went into this not expecting a great masterpiece, just a fun monster movie to pass an uneventful weekend afternoon.  I kind of like Mulcay’s Razorback and although I haven’t seen it since high school, I liked Highlander as well.  The film’s got a pretty good cast too.  You’ve got Christopher Lee, Sean Pertwee, Michael Lerner, Honor Blackman, Shelly Duvall and John Polito.  Of course Lee and Polito just show up for a day and collect their paychecks but they still add a degree of class to the stupidity (which Lee is an old hat at by now I guess).  I do actually kind of like the lengths that the script goes to to create the convoluted mythology of Talos.  I’d probably like this movie if it actually had a goddamn mummy in it.  I mean, come on, it’s about killer fucking band-aids.  No one wants to see that shit.

Echo Bridge’s new Blu-Ray looks decent to me.  It’s not a fantastic looking transfer but it gets the job done I think.  It’s not something you will use to show off your new high definition set-up but I’ve seen worse transfers.  Audio is about the same as the video.  It gets the job done.  The only extra is the theatrical trailer.

What I don’t understand about this (other than why there’s no fucking mummy) is why does this warrant a Blu-Ray release?  Echo Bridge has other, better films from Miramax that deserve a Blu-Ray release before this.  Why is Office Killer only available on DVD?  It’s the only feature by Cindy Sherman, that’s got to be worth something right?  And why is eXistenZ crammed on a single disc with two other movies no one cares about?  Surely eXistenZ deserves it’s own single release, if not a full special edition.  It’s fucking Cronenberg!  I don’t get it.  Why not just put Spymate out on Blu-Ray.

- who has written 151 posts on UnRated Film Review Magazine | Movie Reviews, Interviews.

Craig hails from 'Parts Unknown'.

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