Blink, and it’s easy to find Tad The Lost Explorer and the Emerald Tablet has come and gone. Thankfully, finding it on Roku saved the day, since not everyone may have been aware of its limited run in the States at AMC Theatres.
Not everyone is aware of this Spanish film franchise, either. That’s because the time between releases is very long. The first self-titled movie was released in 2012. The Secret of King Midas was in 2017 and this latest in 2022. The graphic novels on which the films are based never got translated to English, and that’s why it’s never been on the radar for many. Had it been given the proper love by some publisher in the States, I’m sure no one would complain about enjoying a comedy-archaeological-adventure similar to Jackie Chan’s Adventures.
I enjoyed the first film very much–Tad was a construction worker who daydreams a lot. He longs to be an archaeologist, and the Indiana Jones archetype is well played up. But when he doesn’t have the education and instead has an innate ability to stumble into situations like Inspector Clouseau (of Pink Panther fame), he’s often in over his head than able to recover the treasure. It featured him searching for the lost treasure of the Incas, and meeting a living “Mummy” (that’s his name). The second concerns searching for King Midas’s tomb and the latest, a magical crystal that can fulfill one’s fondest desire–which includes bringing disaster to the world. Oh, and somehow in all this chaos, he awakens another mummy whose name is Ra Amon Ah. If the anglicised name is easy to figure out, then the other puns this film treats viewers with are a groaner.
Honestly, I’m a fan because of Belzoni, the parrot. He’s spiteful and the perfect foil for all that’s being parodied. The way he rolls his eyes and tries to be serious gets a lot more laughs from me. This bird is Sara’s pet, and this woman is Tad’s girlfriend (finally) in this third outing. Tad has his canine companion, Jeff, who is by and large Odie (from Garfield). There’s no denying the two must come from the same mother. Other running gags include a cyclist who appears at some point of each film, in some race, and often getting hurt in the process. While some humour wears thin, especially concerning Mummy’s antics (his actions are goofy in a Minions level), I’m mostly watching for the crazy pulp action that goes on in the finest of Tomb Raider traditions.
However, for this inept archaeologist who stumbles upon an ancient Egyptian sarcophagus in a Mayan dig, what he discovers reveals where that said magical tablet is hidden. Everyone wants it, but nobody can get it until the riddle is solved. The action entertains, but sadly, most of what’s presented in Tad The Lost Explorer and the Emerald Tablet is not all that memorable. I had to pen this review immediately after my fourth viewing.
The production quality between this film and what was presented ten years ago has changed dramatically. We have better CGI design, action sequences and matters of facial expression. In terms of what director Enrique Gato improved upon are where the stories take place. This latest outing suggests two ancient worlds from different continents met at some point. It’s everything I wanted to see happen had The Mummy 4 been made. That line proposed by Johnathan at the end of Tomb of the Dragon Emperor is more or less the big influence here. If I was to strip away most of the gags and reimagine this film with Brendan Fraser, Rachael Weisz, John Hannah’s characters in this adventure, I can see how they can not be as clumsy about saving the day as Tad.
3 Stars out of 5