Friday 6 March 2015

Dawn of the Mummy

I should never get my hopes up. Never. You see, back in around 2006 (yes, 9 years ago!) I heard about a movie being made called Prisoners of the Sun. I only knew two things about it, but those two things were enough to get me interested. I knew it starred John Rhys-Davies, and after really enjoying his work in the Indiana Jones series, the TV show Sliders and most recently at that point, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, his name was a good sign of quality. Then I noticed that it was directed by Roger Christian, a guy who is mostly known as the set decorator and production designer of both The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. Surely his involvement was another seal of approval, right? Well despite being finished in 2007 (yes, 8 years ago!) the movie was released back in 2013 in America and only now in the UK. However, alongside an updated title to the movie itself comes the revelation that, like dude, it's complete shit!

Directed by Roger Christian and out now on Blu-Ray and DVD comes Dawn of the Mummy, a movie I was looking forward to for a decade that turned out to be worse than a kick in the teeth with a steel-capped boot. Literally. The plot is one we've seen a million times over, and the movie begins with a brief back-story of how the Ancient Egyptians were contacted by aliens. The aliens gave the Egyptians advanced technology, and this ties in with the whole “Ancient Aliens” theory that the likes of Erik Von Däniken has been peddling since the late 60's. The aliens wanted to eventually take over the world, but something happened whereby the pyramid they were in was buried. The movie then cuts to modern day, and after an usually large sandstorm hits Egypt, the once forgotten pyramid has been unearthed. This also happens to be a time when the stars align in a certain way, and this will allow the aliens to once again rise up and try to conquer mankind. With a largely incompetent team sent into the pyramid to find out its mysteries and a crappy mummy on the loose inside its walls, Dawn of the Mummy should be called... wait for it... Yawn of the Mummy. Eh?

OK, I first knew it would be shit during the first 10 minutes when Shane Richie showed up. Yeah, Shane Richie, that guy who played that dude in EastEnders for a few years. Channelling Jack Sparrow for his 7 minutes of screen time, his inclusion kicked off the movie worse than I could have imagined. But leading the cast are John Rhys-Davies as an old guy who knows about pyramids, and David Charvet as a Lidl's tier knock-off of Uncharted's Nathan Drake. The rest of the cast follow the most generic roles too, as in Dawn of the Mummy you also have the girl who always cries, the uber religious dude, the guy who gets his hands dirty but always gets the job done, the girl who was likely only created for the hero to bed at the end, and random, generic merc thugs. It's by-the-numbers in terms of plot, characters and acting. Going by the trailer the main hook of the movie is the journey into the pyramid, but that only happens after the halfway point and even then it's completely and utterly disappointing. This all comes to ahead when the team faces off against the mummy that has been hunting them down. This confrontation is short, terribly shot, unbelievably cheesy and a complete waste of a moment that could have been genuinely scary.

The movie also looks bizarre, because though it was shot back in 2006, it's clear that over the years the CGI was updated and whatnot. The CGI is bloody awful, but compared to its original trailer the look of the movie now comes across as tacky. Aside from the puke inducing overuse of grey, blue and yellow filters terribly layered on top of the movie, the amount of shoddy green-screen here is unforgivable. It's everywhere but the deeper the team gets into the pyramid, the use of green-screen and filters goes nuts. It all ends up looking like one of those weird porn parodies of a blockbuster movie, with the CGI-fest that is the final 10 minutes of the movie looking laughably bad.

I had good intentions looking forward to this guys and gals, I really did. But after a decade of wanting to see a cheap, fun B-movie about a mummy killing dudes, I ultimately got a terrible B-movie masquerading as a blockbuster, that's filled to the gills with awful CGI, a massive overuse of post-production green-screen, a cast of nobodies bumbling their way from set to set, Shane Richie's mug on my TV as I ate my breakfast and a mummy that's barely on-screen for 5 minutes. Then again, I guess I should have known it was going to be terrible. After all, Roger Christian did direct Battlefield Earth...

Dawn of the Mummy should stay dead and gets a 1/5.


Denis Murphy

Dawn of the Mummy at CeX

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