Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb (2014)

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This comedy is a sequel to Night at the Museum and Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian.   It most likely will be the final installment of the series.  Once again, the story involves the magical Tablet of Ahkmenrah, which has the power to bring objects to life.  In this chapter, however, we learn that the tablet has become corroded, causing the museum exhibits to start acting strangely.  Night watchman Larry (once again played by Ben Stiller) must therefore go on a quest to the British museum to find out the secrets of the tablet before the magic is lost forever.

Returning characters include Teddy Roosevelt (Robin Williams), Jedediah (Owen Wilson), Octavius (Steve Coogan), Mr. McPhee (Rickey Gervais), Ahkmenrah (Rami Malek), Attila the Hun (Patrick Gallagher), Sacajawea (Mizuo Peck), and Dexter (Crystal the Monkey).  Joining the cast are Dan Stevens as Sir Lancelot and Rebel Wilson as the Guard Tilly.  Larry’s son is now also portrayed by Skyler Gisondo.  There are some great cameos from veteran actors such as Mickey Ronney, Ben Kingsley, and Dick Van Dyke and a memorably funny scene with Hugh Jackman.  The acting overall wasn’t too spectacular, but you really cannot expect too much from a children’s adventure comedy.  That said, I preferred the acting and direction in the second movie of this series, better than in this one.

The story is a heartwarming tale of family.  Throughout the film, we see Larry struggling to figure out how to deal with his son, who isn’t ready to follow the plans that Larry and his ex-wife have made for him.  We see this also reflected in the strange relationship he has with his new caveman “son” Laaa.  Additionally, we are introduced to Ahkmenrah’s parents for the first time.  They show a different family dynamic, one that isn’t as complicated as Larry’s.  But we also see the family that comes from strong relationships, like those formed between the various exhibits of the museum, as well as their relationship with Larry.

[spoilers to follow]

The special effects were pretty much what we have seen in the previous movies, and many of the old gimmicks have returned.  Fortunately, these things do not take away from the family tone or overall feel of this film.  Sadly, the magical wonder of the earlier installments and the overall comedy are not as strong in this one.  And I guess I was truly saddened knowing that I would not be able to see these characters ever again, especially in the case of Robin Williams’ character.  But there is a possibility for the story to continue, having the torch passed on to another guard, maybe even the one played by Rebel Wilson.  I could also see Mr. McPhee replacing the Larry character as well.  Though, I wouldn’t mind seeing Amy Adams return as Amelia Earhart or even Tess.

I give this film a 2.0 for casual movie goers and would give a 3.0 out of 5 for families and fans of the series.

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