Island News

The Mummy

Written By : JONATHAN BRYCE. The third movie in the modern Mummy movie franchise has come onto the big screen once again. With a new writing and directing crew, this
09 Aug 2008 12:00

image Written By : JONATHAN BRYCE.
The third movie in the modern Mummy movie franchise has come onto the big screen once again. With a new writing and directing crew, this latest Mummy movie attempts to follow in the footsteps of its predecessors to become a big box office smash hit. In ‘The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor’, the key characters of the previous movies return to their roles, this time against the threat of an ancient Chinese undead emperor instead of their usual Egyptian nemesis.
This time around, director Rob Cohen, famous for directing ‘The Fast and the Furious’ and ‘Stealth’ directs this film and has Miles Millar and Alfred Gough who created the hit television series ‘Smallville’ writing the script. The three take over the roles of Stephen Summers who wrote and directed the first two Mummy movies and had a hand in also plotting this current one.
Surprisingly, only two actors from the previous films return for this third mummy movie with Brendan Frasier reprising his role as the experienced hero and adventurer Rick O’Connell and British actor John Hannah as his friend and brother-in-law, Jonathan Carnahan.
Talented actress, Maria Bello, tries to fill the role of O’Connell’s English wife, Evelyn, which is a role that was once played superbly by Oscar winning actress, Rachel Weisz in the first and second Mummy movies. Also adding to their new casting of the original characters is Luke Ford who plays the O’Connells’ eighteen-year-old son, Alex. Presenting Alex’s character as a young adult becomes confusing as his parents and uncle doesn’t seem to have aged past their appearances from the first movie which took place before his character was born.
Three of the new characters in the Mummy franchise are played by some of Asia’s most talented actors. International martial arts performer, Jet Li adds to the cast as the new villain, the undead Emperor Han of ancient China. Li’s fellow countryman, martial arts actress and Bond girl, Michelle Yeoh also plays a vital role in the film as Zi Juan, while Isabella Leong plays Alex’s love interest, Lin.
The film begins with the origin of the Dragon Emperor and his powers and how he came to be cursed. It next jumps to 1947 with Rick and Evelyn now trying to live as a retired couple after their heroics against the past mummies and from their duties in the Second World War. Meanwhile, their son, Alex secretly drops out of college to join an expedition search in China for the tomb of the ancient Chinese conqueror and his stone army. When Chinese military loyalists attempt to resurrect the Emperor to rule and empower their country, Rick and Evelyn are asked to make a trip to China to deliever an artifact to the Chinese government on behalf of the United States.
The trip and discovery of the Dragon Emperor’s tomb brings the O’Connell family back together all assembling at a nightclub in Shanghai, owned by Evelyn’s brother, Jonathan.
When the Dragon Emperor is awakened from his slumber, he begins to rampage in an attempt to gain immortality and uses his sorcery over the five elements. A young woman called Lin enters the scene and possesses the only weapon with the power to kill the Dragon Emperor.
The film follows the heroes as they travel around China from its cities to its snowy mountains to its deserts in an attempt to stop the Dragon Emperor from gaining immortality and raising his army from their tombs.
The movie incorporates the usual adventure themes from the previous ones, but does not include its usual suspense factor in the script. Jet Li’s background in martial arts epic movies really shows in his charisma and his fight scenes which stand out better than when his is portrayed as a CGI mummy. Some of the story focuses on the strained relationship between Rick and his son. Rick tries to instill some discipline in Alex who finds himself always competing with his father over his adventurous decisions in his life.
As a sequel, the film tries to stand on its own in a unique style from the other two. The change in the story’s atmosphere from Egypt to China is an attempt to make the audience recognize this as a different film from the others as if outlining it as Rob Cohen’s Mummy. While it still has much of the old music, supernatural themes and adventure structure, it tries to push away from its past by strengthening the younger generation cast in Luke Ford and Isabella Leong as Alex and Lin, rather than focusing on its main heroes.
However, the film still gives Brendan Frasier, Maria Bello and John Hannah enough screen time to remind audiences why they were so lovable and cherished in the previous movies. ‘The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor’ is the type of film that will be enjoyed for pure fun by families audiences and adventure buffs.

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