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the film criticism aspect of cyber | by maryann johanson

‘The Mummy’ is returning again, but without Rachel Weisz

Hey, there’s a new Mummy movie heading our way. Did you know that? I didn’t. I really loved 1999’s The Mummy — I loved it cuz it was the fourth Indiana Jones movie we’d been waiting for — and the 2001 sequel, The Mummy Returns, is almost as much fun. So I’m primed for more.

The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor — which looks like it’s got a planned release date of August 1, 2008 — moves the story to post WWII England and China, where the O’Connells’ now-grown son, Alex, makes a major discovery of great archaeological and supernatural import. (IESB.net: The Movie Reporter has details on the plot and such — none of it sounds spoilerish.) Action-comedy will ensue, I imagine, as well as some kung-fu fighting: Jet Li and Michelle Yeoh are listed as among the new cast members.
There’s another new cast member, though, that makes me worry just a bit for Mummy 3: Maria Bello is replacing Rachel Weisz as Evelyn. Now, don’t get me wrong: Bello is a fantastic actress, as daring and powerful and gifted as they come. (Have you seen The Cooler? Oh, man, see it.) But part of what made the first two Mummy movies so enjoyable was the potent chemistry between Brendan Fraser — who will be back, thank the movie gods, as Rick — and Weisz. Screen chemistry is such a delicate thing, and so impossible to fake: what are the odds that Fraser will be so lucky the second time around with a different actress opposite him as the same character?

I’m keeping my fingers crossed, even with the other pinch-hitters among the creative team. Original creator, writer, and director Stephen Sommers is all but gone — he’s acting as producer only on this one — but Rob Cohen is taking over behind the lens. Yeah, he’s made mostly cheese like Stealth, XXX, and The Fast and the Furious … but it’s at least competent, engaging cheese. And screenwriters Miles Millar and Alfred Gough have written such highly amusing flicks as Spider-Man 2 and Shanghai Noon. That’s gotta be a good sign, right?

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  • Gag. No Rachel Weisz = no way am I seeing this movie.

    I’m glad that Stephen Sommers is gone, though. His latest, Van Helsing, is at the top of my list of movies I felt like walking out on. Awful, awful.

  • I actually enjoyed both The Mummy and The Mummy Returns, but a lot of that had to do with the presence of Rachel Weisz. Without her, and Stephen Sommers, I can’t say I’m all that enthused about a new one.

  • Ryan H

    I always feel like swapping out an actor is lazy and insulting. If you can’t get one of the leads back, then write them out. Have fun with the idea. Make a bunch of references to Evelyn being back in England and then introduce a new love interest. Play with the conflicting loyalties. Have the new character visibly under the shadow of the old one with comments about how Evelyn would ahve done this or that.

    just swapping them out cheapens the character. Also makes a more glaring swap when doing 3 DVD marathons.

  • Johnny

    THE MUMMY! Yeeea….. , I love the Mummy. I don’t think Losing Weisz is a big deal. The big deal is Sommer’s isn’t going to be there. I mean hes the guy who brought this Mummy series to life. Plus hes the guy behind Van Helsing, the Universal monster combo movie. Now hes just going to coast on its name? That bothers me a little. On the bright side I see Sommers is the man behind the GI JOE MOVIE!

  • Christian S

    MUMMY’S and BRENDAN FRASER, what more do you need to say? I’m in!

  • Moe

    Bad news MJ, apparently, the script was so bad, Rachel said she wasn’t gonna sign on unless they overhauled it and brought it up to the level of the first two scripts by Sommers.
    When they didn’t, she walked.

    This movie looks awful so far and will in no way reach the quality of the second let alone that brilliant original back in ’99.

    Jet Li as an ass-kicking chinese mummy?
    Maria Bello as Evelyn?
    Rob Cohen as director?
    Stephen Sommers gone?
    Adult son, Alex? Shouldn’t that make Rick and Evey and Johanthan about 50 or so? Isn’t the timeline screwed up here? Doesn’t anybody care?

    Bad mojo’s all over this flick.

  • Johnny

    Just because Weisz said the scripts bad, doesn’t mean anything. You think Fraser said ” oh I’m not doing this” when he did “Encino man” and ” Blast from the past” ?
    Besides wouldn’t they just Make Bello a new character?
    Like Raiders it was Karen Allen and Temple it was Spielberg’s wife.

  • Stephen Sommers is like M. Night Shyamalan… they’re both past their prime, their one or two good ideas all used up.

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