I don’t think anyone is actually trying to convince me that Stephen Sommer’s The Mummy, a soft reboot of the 1932 flick with Boris Karloff as the titular Mummy, is a tightly crafted high-quality production. In fact I doubt many people even went into this expecting that, the trailer’s from back in the day evoke the tone of the film well, minus the constant banter between the cast. Growing up I was never a fan because I took a childish dislike to Brendan Fraser that meant I denounced these movies before I even took a peak. I don’t know why — I think it was his hair — God I hated him.
Westerns haven’t died out as much as I thought they had, now I think about it. I mean, they did but they are still popping up around the place. I remember in “Argo” in a scene when they are trying to come up with a fake movie idea to cover up their plans to enter Iraq, they decided not to feature a horse because that would automatically make the film a western, and “nobody makes westerns anymore”. That was just after John Wayne had died, one of the kings of the genre back in its hay day. Now though, films like “3:10 to Yuma”, the “True Grit” remake from the Coen brothers, the overtly lengthily named “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford” and even “Rango” which is by all means a fine Western. These are all fine Westerns, but the beauty of “Django Unchained” is the way it truly brings us back to what a Western was and still can be. It’s not just about dusty brown backgrounds, small towns with saloons and a Sheriff with a star badge, though that is a big part of it. The nostalgia “Django” will bring to lovers of classic Westerns will be just one of the things that make the film truly great and in this day and age, unique.
“Rise of the Planet of the Apes” might be marketed as a prequel, and it certainly feels like one, but it definitely isn’t something you should watch before the original series or the Tim Burton remake. It takes the established concepts of “The Planet of the Apes” franchise and rewrites the beginnings of the rise of the apes and the decline of humanity. “Rise” certainly begs for a sequel and I eagerly await to see it, but “Rise” doesn’t cheaply give you a cliffhanger ending just to entice you for it. It does what all blockbusters, or any film in fact, should do. It makes you want more by proving to you that what it has to give is grand ideas and even grander execution. “Rise” is amazing, dare I say it, it’s even better than the original and certainly better than any of it’s sequels.
There are few times I find myself happier than when I expect a film to be bad, and it turns out to be of actual quality. It’s a rare occurrence, usually I am not too far away from the general consensus of the audience and even if I am, the critics tend to represent my opinion more reliably. “Planet of the Apes”, which was directed by none other than Tim Burton (Frankenweenie, Edward Scissorhands), isn’t just not terrible, it is a genuinely good film that just suffers from a few evident flaws that cause it to lag just behind the heights of the original.