Gather ’round, folks, because your queen has arrived.
Stephanie Zacharek is the most active movie reviewer for Salon.com, and has long been one of my least favorite reviewers working for any publication. Recently she took a lot of flak over her review of “The Dark Knight” – basically the only part of it she singled out for significant praise was Heath Ledger, with nods to Aaron Eckhart and Maggie Gyllenhaal as well. The rest of the movie she disliked, was bored or confused by, or outright hated. Well, my opinion differs from hers in most respects, but she’s entitled to be That Guy* – the guy who hates everything that other people like, and sticks up for mediocre underdogs for reasons most inscrutable. She’s just loyally following in the footsteps of her obvious inspiration, Pauline Kael – though, alas, with significantly less talent, and a lack of Kael’s ability to make us temporarily feel like we might actually share her biases and opinions.
So whatever. Zacharek sucks, but she can suck all she wants. That’s what I’m saying.
But this part of her review of the new “Mummy” movie actually made me angry:
In some ways I feel sorry for “Tomb of the Dragon Emperor” as an enterprise: Not only is it shoehorned into a forlorn early-August slot, by which point most of us are already suffering summer-blockbuster fatigue; it also has the further misfortune to arrive just a few weeks after the release of “The Dark Knight,” a movie so revolutionary that Orson Welles himself has reportedly risen from his own emperor’s tomb to concede that, you know, that “Citizen Kane” thing he made really wasn’t so great after all.
“The Dark Knight” does make somewhat more visual sense than “Tomb of the Dragon Emperor,” but both pictures suffer from similar delusions of grandeur, mistaking oversized scale for solid storytelling.
Hey Stephanie: Salon called, and they’re looking for their review of “The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor.” Could you tear yourself away from “The Dark Knight” for a few seconds and track that down for ’em? Thanks.
* Even though she’s not literally a guy.