Tuesday, October 19, 2004
Partial review by Sombrero Grande
You know, folks, here I was all ready to write up a review of the Elvis vs. The Mummy movie Bubba Ho-tep, and the words just started flowing like molasses. Don’t ya just hate it when that happens? So I took a break and went and read El Bicho’s review, and I’ll be dog-goned if he doesn’t hit the nail on the head and say the same things about the film I was going to. I won’t waste much of your time here--go read his review and then I’ve just got a few addendums to get off my chest.
The best thing Bubba Ho-tep has going for it is the film’s premise, which never really pays off. I know what you’re thinking, “HOW can an Elvis vs. The Mummy movie NOT pay off?” It just doesn’t. Suspense in this film is sorely lacking. The few scares are offensively predictable, kind of like when your little brother is hiding behind the couch, ready to pounce on you as you walk by, and you can hear him giggling from three rooms away.
“So if it’s not scary then it’s got to be funny, right?” Well, I had a few small chuckles during the course of the film, but by far my biggest laugh came not from any of the "jokes", but the first sight of the rubber scarab beetle. Seriously, the thing looks like it was purchased at an ordinary toy store or stolen from the set of a 1950s B-movie. Throughout Bubba Ho-tep, I couldn't tell if the movie was trying to be cheesy (like The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra) or was earnestly trying to do the best it could with a tiny budget. By the end of the film I was betting on the latter. Sigh. What were the filmmakers thinking when they shot Bubba Ho-tep walking down the rest home hallway with the same swirling light effect behind him that you see on the second lift hill of Space Mountain at Disneyland?
And WHY is he “Bubba” Ho-tep? What’s with the cowboy duds? Is that just ‘cause he ended up in Texas? It makes no sense and is never explained. I guess a regular mummy just didn’t look interesting enough. Another thing that made no sense was JFK’s room at the rest home. Sure, it’s a cute idea to make it resemble presidential quarters, but how come he gets such a fancy room while the rest of the building is so dilapidated and rotting?
What the film lacks in humor, suspense and interest, it attempts to make up for in vulgarity for some reason. Whether it be from the amount of time spent discussing Elvis’ penis or the fact that Bubba Ho-tep sucks souls from the anuses of the elderly, prepare to have your appetite ruined. All this bathroom talk makes the film feel like some junior high kids wrote it. For me, Bubba Ho-tep as a whole was embodied by the scene where Elvis thinks he’s setting off on an exciting, new adventure, only to be led into a bathroom stall where JFK shows him some dirty hieroglyphic graffiti.