Morena Baccarin vs. the giant killer Anubis: “Sands of Oblivion”

July 7, 2010

Okay, Sands of Oblivion. I’ve been sitting on this one for a while, so some of the details are a bit hazy. Mostly I remember Morena Baccarin. As a matter of fact, I’m pretty sure that most of the finer points of this film were lost to make room for memories of Morena Baccarin. I think my brain overwrote a lot of things to make more Morena Baccarin space. I no longer remember my social security number, the details of my health care plan, or my mother’s phone number, but I will remember Morena Baccarin wearing only a towel in the hotel scene until the moment I shuck off my mortal coil. And probably for a while after that.

So, Morena Baccarin is in this movie, did I mention that. Yeah, she is. So is her Firefly/Serenity co-star Adam Baldwin. They play an estranged couple who happen to be partners in an archeological dig in Guadalupe, California. They’re searching for the lost, er, movie set from Nelson De Mille’s production of Cleopatra. Now, hang on a second…um, why would a movie set be worth an archeological dig? I mean, yeah it’s shown as being big and all, but…a movie set? Is this, like, the JV archeological team that doesn’t get to go to Egypt to dig stuff up? Did the Archeology Department’s budget get slashed? Oh who cares, it gives us an excuse to look at Morena Baccarin.

The movie’s prologue, set during the actual De Mille shoot sets up a bit of the story for us, as we see that De Mille actually recreated ancient Giza in the middle of the California coastline. But he did so to hide something…nefarious. He decides the best way to keep his nefarious amulet safely hidden is to bury in a kid’s time capsule. Okay, I can probably think of a few better places to put it, but, well, hey Morena Baccarin.

The kid grows up to be George Kennedy and he spends his days with a metal detector combing the sands of Guadalupe looking for his old time capsule. Assisting him his his grandson Mark (Victor Webster), and EOD specialist just back from a hitch in Iraq. So he knows a thing or two about digging stuff out of sand.

Well, they stumble into the archeological dig run by Alice Carter (Baccarin) and her scumbag estranged husband Jesse (Baldwin). Mark and Alice make goo-goo eyes at each other while Mark’s grandfather find his time capsule. Yay! Life’s quest fulfilled! It’s Miller Time! Except when they take the glowey amulet thing out of the box, the sand sucks the old man into it and he breaks through to a hidden chamber in the buried film set. And it contains a big, moth-eaten Anubis which promptly rips his arm off. Boo! Bad movie! Why did you rip George Kennedy’s arm off? All he’s ever done is make us laugh in The Naked Gun movies and the Airplane! movies and (albeit unintentionally) in the Airport movies.

Well, neither Alice nor Mark saw the Anubis, so they just figure…I don’t know, his arm fell off or something. Anyway, this causes a lot of commotion on the film set and brings Jesse around. And he’s all like “Grr! I’m a big douche bag. Grr! Who’s the dude with the one-armed George Kennedy, and why does he keep looking at you? Grr!” That might not be the exact dialogue. There’s a lot of Morena Baccarin in my head.

So, George dies–big shock there–and Alice shows Mark around the dig, where they’ve inexplicably camped out. Um, okay, movie, you do realize there are hotels in California? These people don’t need to unfurl pup tents as if they were on an expedition in the Andes? Whatever. So we’re briefly introduced to some of the other archeologists, and wow! These are some hawt archeologists. I mean, this is the expedition Indiana Jones dreamt of leading. And then they get killed off mysteriously. Really, movie? Again with killing off the eye-candy?

I mean, we’ve still got Morena, and that’s great. But why waste Azie Tesfai, fer chrissakes? She may not be able to act, but she’s a column of sheer hotness! Just looking at her makes my fillings hurt. Surely you can give her a couple more scenes, right? And you’ve got Kristina Sisco. And April Bowlby. There’s  a lot of hotness here, why do you have to kill it all at once? The movie doesn’t even give them decent death scenes. Azie and Kristina both get hugged to death by the Anubis and April gets eaten by a giant cobra made of sand. And they’re all wearing jeans. I mean, even Supergator was smart enough to put Holly Weber in a thong and have her run around for a good twenty minutes before dispatching her. Okay, that was the only competent thing Supergator did, but still…

So, Alice and Mark figure something’s screwy, what with their hawt archeologists disappearing and all. So they check out the underground chamber again and discover that it was an actual keep transported there from Egypt, and it was safeguarding the amulet that Mark’s grandfather found. And now the killer Anubis is after it. Well, he attacks them and captures Jesse. Meanwhile, Alice and Mark find a walking exposition-delivery system who lays out the whole story. I forget a lot of it–Morena Baccarin–but in involves Freemasons, a Pharaoh’s curse, and an anti-pyramid (whatever the hell that is). You can probably fill the rest in yourself. It’s pretty self-explanatory.

In the meantime, the killer Anubis has taken over Jesse’s mind–wasn’t it really only a matter of time, though?–and he is hunting Alice and Mark, who have holed up in a hotel so we can get some sexual tension and so Morena Baccarin can wear a towel and show some skin (though not enough). Oh, and then they’re attacked by killer locusts, who miss them but eat the maid. Wow, that really sucks for the maid. Poor maid.

So, Mark decides to get proactive and takes Alice to see a paranoid survivalist friend of his, so they can grab some weapons (because paranoid survivalist gun-junkies always just give away their stash. No really, go and ask one for his Barrett and see what he says. Well, Mark’s buddy turns out to be a big combination of Santa Claus and Charlton Heston and gives them his stash. Mark wisely takes an MP5 subgun and gives Alice a Springfield 1903 rifle. Because the best gun to give the amateur is a massive, World War I bolt-action rifle.

Well, Jesse shows up, and he’s looking all icky and gooey from his unholy pact with the giant killer Anubis. There’s a standoff and some gun play that hammers home the point that none of these people have ever fired a gun before in their life. And then Jesse grabs Alice and takes off in a dune buggy. Mark follows in another dune buggy.

Really? A dune buggy chase? Thanks, movie. I mean, despite being about an ancient Egyptian curse you’ve given us neither a mummy nor Egypt. But, hey, we have a dune buggy chase. Nice. (Okay, we also have Morena Baccarin).

So it all ends at the movie set where Jesse announces, “The Master has come for us! Ha!” (It’s the “ha!” that really sells it). And the Anubis emerges from a massive sandstorm and…uh…I think he kills Jesse. Jesse gets killed somehow–let’s say the Anubis eats him. Mark then shows his sensitive side by comforting Alice on the death of her estranged husband by saying things like, “It wasn’t really him.” Oh, you mean she didn’t marry a homicidal, Anubis-worshiping froot loop? And “He was just a walking meat-puppet.” Oh, very comforting Buscaglia.

Then the Anubis attacks Mark and Alice, and so do some wall-paintings (really). And it all boils down to a fist fight between Mark and the giant killer Anubis, which Mark destroys with a rocket launcher. And phosphorous grenades. At a distance of about twenty feet. Right, no danger there…

So, um, that was Sands of Oblivion. A mummy movie too cheap for a mummy.  But Morena Baccarin was in it. Yes, she was.


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