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Friday, August 1, 2008

High Museum opens Tomb of the Dragon Emperor. Sort of.

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The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (reviewed here) opens in theaters today. It's the third film in Brendan Fraser's Mummy series, not counting the spin-off The Scorpion King, and if you like the kind of sequels in which characters say "Here we go again!" it should be right up your sarcophagus.

I've noticed that some of the geekier movie critics have pointed out that, despite all the mummy references in the dialogue, Tomb of the Dragon Emperor does not technically feature traditional "monster-mummies." Jet Li, for instance, plays undead Emperor Han, who has a crumbling clay/metal body and power over the elements, but he's not the kind of reanimated, guaze-bandaged mummy of vintage horror fame. The film takes inspiration from the Terracotta Army of Shi Huang Di, the real-life First Emperor of China, who was buried with thousands of terracotta statues of soldiers and horses around 210 B.C. Apparently if they come to life and cross the Great Wall of China, they'll become indestructible warriors, too.

Coincidentally (or not), the bona fide Terracotta Army will descend on Atlanta in November when the High Museum presents the exhibit The First Emperor: China's Terracotta Army, which showcases 100 works from the ongoing excavation. The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor is a pretty frantic and labored piece of entertainment, but if it inspires just one person to go to an actual museum, it'll be worth it. Plus, visitors can rest assured that the terracotta statues won't rise up and throw fireballs at them. Probably.

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