Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb
Director: Shawn Levy
Cast: Ben Stiller, Robin Williams, Ricky Gervais, Dan Stevens, Ben Kingsley, Rebel Wilson
The year is 1938 and the setting is Egypt, somewhere near the Pyramids. A young kid falls into the tomb of a king while he is accompanying his archaeologist father on an excavation. The mysterious tomb is where we see the magic tablet of Akhmenrah for the first time. The discovery is accompanied with the 'end is nigh' warnings by locals.
Well, the end is not near enough as the tablet has been magically powering the night-time adventures of all the exhibits in The Museum of Natural History all these years. They all leave their porcelain/wax/stone selves and become flesh-and-blood every night, with Larry (Ben Stiller) as the manager-guard of the museum. But there is something in the air as the tablet is fast corroding and our rag-tag gang of historical personages is acting weird.
The only way to save Teddy Roosevelt (Robin Williams), Attila the Hun (Patrick Gallagher), Jedediah (Owen Wilson), Octavius (Steve Coogan), Akhmenrah (Rami Malek), and the slap-happy monkey Dexter is to visit a museum in Britain. If Larry does not succeed in getting the secret from Akhmenrah's father there, his friends will stay inanimate forever.
Like every other franchise short of ideas, Night at the Museum is also going globe-hopping and that does not augur well. Director Shawn Levy serves us more of the same, although in a museum far, far away from New York.
However, despite the fact that he may lose his friends, there is no manic energy powering Larry in this film. He, along with the rest of the cast, seems to be sleepwalking through the familiar steps. Better than the second film of the franchise, this one falls short of the energy exuded by the first film.
This is not to say that this final send-off to the Night at the Museum franchise does not have its moments, but they are few and intermittent.
A rather inventive new addition is Downton Abbey's dreamboat Dan Stevens as Sir Lancelot. This sword-happy knight goes looking for the mythical Camelot and finds a major film star instead (not giving away who here, that will be a major spoiler). This scene is one of the highlights of the film. Another scene where Lancelot, Larry and Teddy enter an MS Escher graphic art as they compete for the tablet is done well also.
Rebel Wilson as the motor-mouth British museum night guard and Ben Stiller as Neanderthal Laah (who actually looks like Tom Cruise with hair extensions) keep the laughs coming.
We have saved the best for the last though. This is one of the last performances for two of Hollywood's greats - Robin Williams and Mickey Rooney. This franchise may not be one of the films for which Williams will be remembered as but as American President Theodore Roosevelt and Larry's voice of inspiration, he still touches and moves us. He is probably the most important reason why this film should be seen because this will be one of the very last times when we will see him on the big screen. Bye bye O Captain, My Captain.