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.