Wow. That was so bad.
Really, really bad.
I had higher hopes for this one due to the casting of Jet Li and Michelle Yeoh, and when I saw there was even another woman of color in a strong speaking role (Isabella Leong), and another one in a smaller speaking role (Jessey Meng), I was pretty excited.
Once I started watching it, though, I was all over the map with how many stars I would give it.
Kind of like this:
- Evelyn has turned from an intellectual scholar of ancient languages and history into a writer of romance novels. Nice. Zero stars.
- Now she’s using memories of their wild adventures as a come-on to spark things up with her husband. Consider establishing new category for negative stars.
- Oh look, Alex is getting credit for finding the tomb when it’s actually the Chinese workers who located the door. And hey, they’re expendable, who knew? What will we call the new negative stars category?
- Hey, the assassin who’s guarding the tomb of the Emperor is a woman. Three stars?
- Oh, she’s young and pretty and they’re going to make her fall for the young white guy. One star.
- At least they’re paying lip service to the idea of digging up historical artifacts for study and preservation in their own country instead of taking them off to England. Two stars?
And so on and so forth. In the end, the movie stayed firmly in the “white people save the world” mold because heaven forbid that white men don’t get to be the ultimate heroes, even when women of color have put in 2,000 years of work and personal sacrifice to save the world.
I’m going to give The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor one star. It included just as many Chinese people as white people among the central characters, and that’s an upgrade from the previous films. Unfortunately, it falls back on the same typical tired stereotypes and plot maneuvers as its predecessors. Also, there’s no way Brendan Fraser was kicking Jet Li’s ass. That’s just silly.
Other Commentary: Feminist Mom Approved, a guest post by Rachel Feldman on Women in Hollywood
This post was originally published on Heroine Content, a feminist and anti-racist movie blog that ran from July 2006 to May 2012.