This week I saw The X-Files: I Want To Believe and The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor. My updated list of "Howard's favorite summer films" is below, but you'll have to scroll clear to the bottom to find these two:
2) Batman: the Dark Knight
3) Kung-Fu Panda
4) Speed Racer
5) Iron Man
6) Hellboy II
7) Get Smart
10) Indiana Jones
12) The Mummy 3
13) Prince Caspian
14) The X-Files
15) Journey to the Center of the Earth
The X-Files movie really didn't need to be an X-files movie. The Mulder/Scully interplay was baggage that slowed down what could have been an otherwise very engaging thriller. By making it an X-files film the producers hinted at the huge conspiracies and buried secrets that were the hallmarks of the TV series, and the result is that the big reveal ends up being a little disappointing. In a different context (let's say it's a police thriller featuring Morgan Freeman, Renee Russo, and Anthony Hopkins) it would have worked a lot better.
I think my favorite part of the film was figuring out that the lead FBI agent really WAS played by Amanda Peet.
On to The Mummy. I really like Brendan Fraser's "Rick O'Connell" character. I also loved Rachel Weiss's "Evie" character, but she's played by Maria Bello now, and that was disappointing. This film was disappointing, too. It began with a long narrative intro reminscent of 10,000 B.C and the most recent Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles flick. Hey, Hollywood! SHOW, DON'T TELL! The exposition could have been much more interesting. So, after the movie lost me during a five-minute history lesson it went on to be really, really predictable. Oops, we brought a mummy to life! Now the risen ghoul must do two things in order to reach his full strength, and our heroes set out to stop him. They fail, and must then face him at full strength. And then, against all odds they win. I hope those didn't constitute "spoilers." Sorry!
Fortunately for me, the effects and action were a lot of fun. Even though I knew all the twists and turns, I could still enjoy the ride for the scenery.
Sadly, I think that this summer's hit-parade has drawn to a close. It's been a great season for movies. I've had a blast. But what's left? Death Race? Well, yeah. I'll see that, but I'm not expecting much.