Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Mummy (3): Tomb of the Dragon Emperor

This is simple storywise, in "The Mummy (3): Tomb of the Dragon Emperor" things aren't bad at all, and although I love Maria Bello I miss you know who, and perhaps Kate Beckinsale, if avail. would have made a little more sense there.

What's first wrong, though, is that "Alex" has an American accent. How'd that happen? And, it wasn't necessary to try and top Brendan Fraser by casting a even more huge guy as his son. The guy is not Fraser, whenever Fraser is near, you go, "Oh, I get it. Fraser, STAR! And other guy, who got a good acting gig, with which TOO MUCH SCREEN TIME." Yes, he kind of makes the screen dreary, nothing personal but dry. Wrong part, wrong guy, something.

Just think what James McAvoy of "Wanted" would have done with the part, the time period, and the fun of playing off his being small and dark as mom, and with a UK accent, but tough as she AND dad. The mind boggles.

Second and most important wrong.

The original and the second Stephen Sommers outing had two parallel love stories, both strong, one always flawed. We don't have that in M3. Alex and his two thousand year old girlfriend don't have the chemistry or solid writing/performing that the first two films had.

The girlfriend's mom and dad do, but were woefully underused in that regard. They have instant chemistry in stills, let alone on screen; Russell Wong and Michelle Yeoh are hot together and have the power of being a couple that the Egyptian mummies/reencarnation couple of films one and two had, and of Fraser and his paramour as well.

Time should've been taken from Fraser Jr and given to the Chinese to strengthen the father-mother-daughter story there, and the second triangle of general-sorceress-emperor. Think of what was missed when the general wasn't given the chance to attempt to pay back his former friend and cut him off from immortality, as any good general, let alone an excellent one who'd delivered so much into the emperors hands thousands of years previously, yet lost it all for love.

Where was our chance to see his concern for his still living family, to perhaps try to save the mother of his child, the woman he'd already died for, been torn apart for? Given to a boring white boy, whose stunts weren't the same as his father Rick's from the first two movies, where Rick'd risk all to protect Evie and his family/friends, not just to do stunts.

Think of what the two single shots would have been if made into a two shot of the reanimated general and his still live daughter, showing them together for the first time seeing each other and reaching for each other, as time and the winds of broken magic blow him away from her, now fully orphaned, after more than two thousand years?

It was so obvious, and yet not done. What is the point of hiring such fine actors and underutilizing them, especially the ones of color, while wasting their screen time and our deeply moving-won't-slow-the-action-give-me-the-deep-emotions-too-don't-you-remember-we-killed-and-resurrected-Evie in the middle of the last film and didn't miss a step?

No, they forgot or didn't watch it, evidently.

--Neale Sourna
writer, author, screenwriter, novelist

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