Review: Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb
The scene opens in Egypt where we see an expedition group discover the tomb of Ackmenra. It is here we learn more about the cursed tablet that brings the museums to life in the present day and sets in motion Larry Daley’s (Ben Stiller) epic quest to save the magic before it is gone forever and sets up this third film. We then move to the Smithsonian, the museum where we last saw our favourite characters come to life. As you may have seen in the trailer the exhibits (and of course the tablet) are shipped all the way to London and the British Museum. It is here where Ackmenra finds his long lost parents who are able to educate Larry further on the tablet and what he must do to save the day.
Ben Stiller steps back into this familiar role like an old pair of comfy slippers as the stalwart, long suffering guardian of the characters who once overwhelmed him but now he deeply values and reveres them as friends and continues to feel responsible for their wellbeing and longevity. The evolution of his character together with his acting and comedy prowess enabled Stiller to adopt a secondary role in this movie – Larry’s Neanderthal doppelgänger: Laa.
The film just wouldn’t be the same without its core group of familiar favourites who are just as quirky and entertaining as we remember them – Atilla the Hun, Sacagewea, The Easter Island statue, Dexter the capuchin monkey, Teddy Roosevelt (Robin Williams), Jedediah (Owen Wilson) and Octavius (Steve Coogan) – all add their own flavour to the mix. Dick Van Dyke briefly reprises his role as Cecil from the first movie as well as the other two crooked night watchmen Gus and Reginald. It’s a bit far fetched on how all the exhibits/characters are still kept together in the same museum but it’s a family movie and we don’t need to worry about things like that!
Two standout new faces joining the cast are Rebel Wilson as Mindy the British Museum Nightwatchwoman who impresses with a genuine sounding British accent and the exceptional Dan Stevens as Sir Lancelot who deviates from the group with his own agenda – the quest for Camelot. Be prepared to laugh-alot! And look out for a very special cameo appearance by a very well known star. It’s pure comedy gold but I’m keeping it a secret so it’s still a surprise for you.
Taking the action abroad is certainly a brave attempt to resuscitate a tried and tested format and just like the sequel, a new location means new characters and no lack of research regarding an unfettered if somewhat scatty history lesson. And of course, the film was completed in loving memory of the late Robin Williams and Mickey Rooney who played Gus the crooked nightwatchman.
The third installment does the franchise justice, doesn’t take itself too seriously and certainly delivers in its attempt to create laughs. It takes the tried and tested format, characters and aspects of its predecessors (picture jumping, for example – MC Escher’s Relativity: never-ending staircase optical illusion lithograph makes for a bizarre but clever scene) mixes in a new location and attempts to make it fresh.
Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb is out now in cinemas.