Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb

Genre: Comedy

Director: Shawn Levy

Screenplay: David Guion, Michael Handelman, story by Mark Friedman, David Guion, Michaelk Handelman, based on characters created by Thomas Lennon, Robert Ben Garant

Cast: Ben Stiller, Robin Williams, Owen Wilson, Steve Coogan, Ricky Gervais, Dan Stevens, Rebel Wilson, Skyler Gisondo, Rami Malek, Patrick Gallagher, Mizuo Peck, Andrea Martin, Ben Kingsley, Rachel Harris, Matt Frewer, Dick Van Dyke, Mickey Rooney, Bill Cobbs, Anjali Jay, Crystal the Monkey.

Running Length: 97 minutes

Synopsis: With the help of favourite and new characters, security guard Larry Daley (Ben Stiller) travels to London to unlock the true secret that brings the museum to life. It’s a thrilling race against time to restore the tablet’s power, before it’s gone forever.

Review: There was really no reason for Night at the Museum to get a sequel, much less two, and yet here we are, finally ending what is now a trilogy of Night at the Museum movies with Secret of the Tomb. While the franchise has never broken any new ground, it has always been entertaining and has performed respectably well at the box office. This is unsurprising since the movies are family friendly, with a very recognizable roster of stars fronting them. This last installment is particularly poignant (though unintentionally so), however, being one of the last (if not the last) big screen outings for two actors that have passed on, namely Mickey Rooney and Robin Williams.

Secret of the Tomb suffers a bit from been-there, done-that, as it brings nothing new at all, despite a shift of location to London. It does manage to introduce even more characters, the most memorable of all being Rebel Wilson’s quite funny turn as the night guard in the British Museum, and also Dan Stevens (of Downton Abbey) who hams it up as a rather clueless Sir Lancelot. While not particularly fresh, the film still entertains, particularly a brilliant sequence in London which sees an excellent cameo (try not to spoiler yourself as this is a really fun one) from one of the most famous Hollywood stars around. There was probably no way that Robin Williams would have known this was one of his last performances, but it’s a grand, elegiac one, which acts as a fitting sendoff for the actor.

Visual effects in Secret of the Tomb are well done, seamlessly matching live action to CG animation. Levy does try to mix things up a little, most evidently so in a visually inventive sequence in an MC Escher painting. However, it seems that Levy and team are also aware that they have milked the franchise dry, and whilst not a definitive conclusion to the franchise, the way Secret of the Tomb concludes suggests that there will no longer be any further additions to the canon. Which honestly is a good thing, since I cannot imagine there being enough of a story left for yet another sequel.

Rating: * * ½ (out of four stars)

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