Stars: 3 out of 5
Pros: Acting, familiar characters, laughs near end
Cons: Familiar story, tries too hard for most laughs, Rebel Wilson
The Bottom Line:
Weakest of franchise
Formula thin, fewer laughs
Only fans should watch
Third Night Not as Charming as I Hoped It Would Be
I’ve fallen out of the loop when it comes to movies in production, so I was surprised when I heard they were making Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb. Of course, the first two movies had been hits, so it wasn’t a big surprise, since Hollywood will extend a franchise until it stops making money. Unfortunately, we might be at that point since this one doesn’t live up to the fun of the other two.
As the movie opens, Larry Daley (Ben Stiller) is getting the museum ready for the night of its life. They’ve been working on a new exhibit involving astronomy, and tonight is the grand unveiling for the important people of New York City. Unfortunately, everything is a complete disaster when the museum pieces start to act very strangely.
The reason is the green corrosion that is starting to creep over the tablet that brings them all to life. Ahkmenrah (Rami Malek) has no idea what it is or why it is growing, but his only lead might be his parents, who are on display at the British museum in London. And so the gang, along with Larry and his son (Skyler Gisondo), head across the pond to find out what is happening. But will they learn the truth in London?
I’m trying to place my finger on what exactly went wrong with this film. I think part of it is the been there done that feel of it. Yes, they’ve raised the stakes and given us a new puzzle that needs to be solved to save the characters we love. Yet the scenes in a museum waking up for the first time are all too familiar by now. Plus it just felt like it was trying too hard for laughs. Ironically enough, as the movie went along, I did find it got funnier. Maybe I just needed to get in the mood? One of the funniest scenes actually came thanks to a cameo late in the film, and that’s all I will say to avoid any spoilers.
Then there’s Rebel Wilson. She plays the security guard in London. Fortunately, she has a small part in the picture because, seriously, she is not remotely funny. Even in previews for films she’s in, I’m left scratching my head to figure out why she is so popular right now. Seeing her in a full film did nothing to change my mind.
The rest of the cast, however, was fantastic. For the most part, these are the old, familiar characters, but they bring them to life so expertly. The new cast members fit right in and make us believe they are part of that world, too. We even got brief appearances by the old security guards from the first film, and it was wonderful to see them again as well.
As always, the special effects are fantastic. I believe these guys are real and then wax, and the miniatures are so fun to watch as well.
Then comes the ending. Again, I’m trying to avoid spoilers, but it was very bitter sweet, especially since this will be Robin Williams’s final film. Maybe that was part of why I felt the final scenes so intensely. I also felt like the writers were bringing the franchise to a close, and I don’t like how they left things. I get it, but I don’t like it.
Fans of the franchise will still want to see this film, although there is no reason to rush out to watch it. There is still some fun to be had in Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, but it’s not nearly at the same level as the first two.