Sunday, August 03, 2008

The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor

Maria Bello is no Rachel Weisz.

Bello was chosen to replace Weisz as Evy O'Connell in this particular Mummy edition. Obviously the producers didn't want to put in any effort to entice Weisz with a good script, or pony up the funds to bring her back.

You get what you pay for.

Bello has the sex appeal of a frigid nun and the personality of a piece of Iceberg lettuce. Among a constellation of stars, she is a black hole.

Bello's drab, lackluster performance might not be as glaringly obvious if one hadn't seen any of the former mummy movies. But her current presence shows us just how much Weisz contributed to the series.

Weisz's absence is striking.

I truly believe that if Weisz had been in this last movie, it might have made all the difference in the world. It's difficult enough to make the supernatural a believable concept. And though the other actors attempt to make it plausible, Bello is a constant reminder that everyone is merely playacting.

The producers should have simply killed off Weisz's character. Bello just can't fit into Weisz's shoes, and it's cruel to make her try. It's like asking Keanu Reeves to play Al Pacino's part in a remake of the Godfather.

Because of this, the Mummy is as doomed as its title character.

The graphics are great. Some of the concepts are wonderful. However, they needed to flesh out the concepts more than they needed to flesh out the relationships. To make a relationship believable, the actors must be believable also. But seeing Brendan Frasier in romantic scenes with this rigid school marm is enough to make you cringe.

Weisz was able to emote humor and restrained passion in a role which takes a deft touch in order to convey it to the audience, but Bello simply doesn't get it.

Even Frasier doesn't seem to get it. He seems to be somewhat puzzled by his role in this movie, as if to ask "What am I doing here again, and who is this woman?" However, he tackles his role with good humor, giving it the old college try.

We are introduced to their son in this film, who may have potential although he has aged quickly from age 10 to age 27 in only two years. Because of this, the father-son moments are a tad creepy, and I wonder if they're attempting to edge Frasier out with someone who is obviously more fit to be his little brother than his son. If so, they might as well retire the series now.

There are some wonderful gymnastics by Jet Li and another fabulous performance by famed actor Michelle Yeoh (of "Memoirs of a Geisha") but even these actors cannot hope to save a stale plot, as it's often difficult for anyone to counter Bello's plasticine performance or the lack of believability in the O'Connell family dynamic.

This movie seems to go in the direction that many Hollywood movies take these days: Just worry about the graphics, and to hell with the plot. That is why The Mummy lags behind the latest Batman movie, which is now in its third week.

We've all heard the classic argument that comic book nerds love to get into: Would Batman beat Superman? We may never know the answer to this question, but we do know this: Batman beats The Mummy.


M@ said...

I hate comic book nerds but I'd never heard that one? How the FUCK would Batman beat Superman? That's ridiculous. I'm ashamed that I have an opinion on this matter.

Saur♥Kraut said...

m@ :D Funny. Well, one of the arguments is that Batman would arm himself with Kryptonite, of course...

The Lazy Iguana said...

Are you seriously giving a review to a mummy movie? A sequel to a mummy movie at that?

What did you expect? First off it is a remake / sequel of another mummy movie and second off it was a mummy movie!!

I could beat the mummy with a lighter. You know something that was dried out for the past few thousand years would go up like a torch. And then there are all those mummy oils - flammable oils - used in the mummification process.

Yup, all I need is a lighter or some matches and a propane torch.

The movie would be 5 minutes long.

Saur♥Kraut said...

Lazy, But I really adored the first two mummy movies (as most people did) and I was hoping that this one would recapture the magic. Of course I didn't realize that they were replacing the director AND the leading lady...

Didn't you see the first two mummy movies? They aren't like the old Lon Cheney ones - these mummies were on steroids!

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

Mummy was never going to be a good film, the last bits of good art juice were sucked out of this idea far too long ago.

And actually, Batman does beat Superman, when they eventually fight in The Dark Knight Returns. If you really want to know how, just let me know and I'll fill you in.

The Lazy Iguana said...

I did see the "original" mummy. The color action film not the moldy old black and white monster movie. I was only mildly amused. I mean it was OK, but not great. If you had nothing else to do with 1 1/2 hours of your life then the first movie was an OK way to pass that time.

But at this point I am all mummied out. One was really enough. I suppose two were acceptable.

but three? Think of all the homeless people that could have been fed with the money wasted making that abortion of a movie....