Tuesday, December 9, 2014
"The Pyramid" (Movie Review)
Let's just do it. Like ripping off a band aid. No, not a band aid. More like that self dentistry scene in Cast Away. Let's hit the ice skate already.
Waxing poetic about how terrible a movie is on the internet is more worn out than a cash-grab found footage horror film, but The Pyramid deserves everything it's about to get. Let's rake it over the coals like a burnt piece of chicken.
The Pyramid, (because it needs a definite article so you don't mistakenly expect Donny Osmond forcing Anubis to guess a subject in a category based on vague clues), is a found footage horror film about a group of poorly characterized victims exploring a pyramid. There's a father/daughter archaeologist team whose "Luddite/TechnoGeek" conflict feels more artificial than the lead paint chips the writers ate as kids. This "conflict" is further stressed by the fact that she's dating adult Will Robinson from Lost In Space.
Remember in Jurassic Park how technology vs. traditionalism played out in Dr. Grant's conversation foibles and also in the main conflict of the film? "Technology is this wonderful miracle that bring dinosaurs back to life, but it can also fail and let these monsters loose and put us all in a grave!" That is how you have real conflict and weave it throughout your film.
This goes nowhere. Dad doesn't like technology. His kid loves it and wants to revolutionize archaeology. Boyfriend builds a creeper robot so he can spy on his girlfriend while she dresses. If you skipped the first ten minutes of the film you'd completely miss this being a big deal.
Also, we have a documentary team. Oh you've heard that one before? It's 2014. Even though we don't have the hover boards and flying cars that Marty McFly promised me we'd have by next year, we're doing pretty okay. Everyone has a million cameras available on phones, tablets, laptops, etc. Do we really have to massage the narrative and populate it with more victims (I'm sorry, characters) that we don't need just so we can force first person camera work?
Another (admittedly far more interesting) conflict that goes nowhere is the discovery of this three sided pyramid is jeopardized by political unrest in its country of origin. A current events conflict that is sadly just used as an excuse to get them in the pyramid faster and provide an additional victim.
Upon entering the pyramid the found footage verisimilitude is constantly broken by using unaccounted for cameras. If you're the sort that hates reality television when it's painfully obvious they set up the shot before the inorganic reaction, this movie will drive you crazier than me as I scoured Wikipedia to make a cheap joke that a three-sided thing isn't even a pyramid. (Turns out geometry proves it still is).
My biggest complaint about the film is both easy and difficult to articulate. The easy part is just three words: NO FREAKING MUMMIES.
And it's only those three words because the editor makes me play nice and only swear intermittently.
When Ben and I were chatting about who'd get the task of watching and reviewing this he said to me, "I hope that this movie makes mummies the new zombies."
And you know, that would have been really cool.
Do you remember when Brendan Fraser had a career? More relevant: Do you remember when the movie The Mummy came out? Mummies were suddenly cool and scary again and not just Halloween fodder for colorful breakfast cereal. The next step was obviously to make an R rated hard horror mummy movie.....and that never happened.
Sixteen years later we're delivered this hot piece of garbage.
Victims die from every crappy CG Egyptian monster you could conjure from zombie cats to Anubis, but no mummies. Where are the mummies!?
HOW CAN YOU MAKE A HORROR MOVIE IN A PYRAMID AND HAVE NO MUMMIES?
Were you really not brave enough to think you could pull it off, movie!? You were cavalier enough to think you could handle political instability in the middle east for god's sake.
Don't watch The Pyramid. Just don't do it to yourself. Watch The Mummy again instead and cross your fingers that someone will finally make a real horror movie about mummies soon.
We don't give review grades anymore, but Rotten Tomatoes currently has this at 7% and, trust me, that's too generous.