NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM: SECRET OF THE TOMB – A Review by John Strange

Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb
 
NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM: SECRET OF THE TOMB
 
By: John ’Doc’ Strange
 
Directed by: Shawn Levy
 
Cast: Ben Stiller, Robin Williams, Owen Wilson, Steve Coogan, Ricky Gervais, Dan Stevens, Rebel Wilson, Ben Kingsley
 
MPAA Rating: PG (for mild action, some rude humor and brief language)
 
Selig Rating: FULL PRICE
 
Runtime: 97 Min.
 
 
We have returned to the New York’s Natural History Museum and all of the friends we have grown to love since we first met them in Night at the Museum in 2006.  Night guard Larry Daley (Ben Stiller) has risen in the ranks, assuming responsibility for the “special effects” that occur to the exhibits after the sun goes down.  His new title is Director of Nighttime Operations.
 
This film opens with the gala to celebrate the opening of a new wing.  Teddy Roosevelt (Robin Williams) and the other exhibits are part of the program.  As they begin the program a mysterious malady strikes the tablet which is the device which has brought them to life.  As the decay spreads across the face of the device, unexpected problems crop up.  One of the first problems to manifest is Teddy spouting slogans from various presidents (listen close to these as the story progresses as one or two are subtle).  He is sitting on his horse on stage before the assembled museum patrons when his first episode happens.  His episode precedes erratic behavior from Attila the Hun (Patrick Gallagher), the Neanderthals (Matthew Harrison), the Constellations, and my personal favorite, the T-Rex.  They wreck the party and frighten the patrons into stampeding out of the building.
 
In the aftermath of this disastrous party, Larry and the gang must figure out what is happening.  They discover the decay creeping up the tablet is the apparent cause of the problems.  When questioned about it, Ahkmenrah (Rami Malek) admits that he doesn’t know how the tablet works.  His father, Merenkahre (Ben Kingsley) had the tablet created when he (Ahkmenrah) was a child and refused to divulge the secrets. 
 
Larry investigates to find out more about the tablet.  He discovers that the man who was his predecessor as night guard was not only very knowledgeable about the tablet but as a young boy was actually on the dig where it was discovered.  Larry travels to the retirement home where Cecil (Dick Van Dyke) now lives to ask him for help.  Cecil fills Larry in on the discovery of the burial chamber and the tablet.  Cecil’s buddies, Reginald (Bill Cobbs) and Gus (Mickey Rooney) come in during the meeting.  Larry discovers that the expedition was a joint US and British project.  As such, some of the artifacts came to America and the rest went to the British Museum in London.
 
In the split, Ahkmenrah came to the US and the New York Natural History Museum while Merenkahre and his wife were taken to the British Museum.  Larry decides to take Ahkmenrah and the tablet to London to find out how to save the magic device.  Larry gets the museum director, Dr. McPhee (Ricky Gervais), a man losing his job over the party debacle, to call London and get the Brits to agree to allow a temporary transfer to take place.
 
Larry’s son, Nick (Skyler Gisondo), is a high school senior having second thoughts about college.  What he really wants is to work as a club DJ in Ibiza, Spain for the summer and perhaps longer.  Needless to say, his dad is not too keen on this idea.  To give him a chance to work on Nick’s decision, Larry decides to take Nick with him to London.  Nick is instrumental in Larry’s plan to get into the British Museum after hours.
 
When the crate is opened at the museum, Larry discovers he has more help than he anticipated.  Teddy is here as is his love, Sacajawea (Mizuo Peck).  So too are Attila and our favorite small folks, Jedediah (Owen Wilson), Octavius (Steve Coogan) and Dexter (Crystal the Monkey).  Also along on the trip is Laaa, the newest Neanderthal to the exhibit.  Someone on the museum staff thought it would be funny to make him resemble Larry.  He calls Larry, “dada”!
 
The team’s adventures at the British Museum allowed the writers to give us a plethora of new characters beginning with the museum’s night guard, Tilly (Rebel Wilson) and including Sir Lancelot (Dan Stevens) and an amazing multi-headed oriental snake god they have to battle their way past.
 
The team’s race against time to reach the Egyptian exhibit and Ahkmenrah’s parents is wrought with peril and interesting problems.  I love the way the writers have portrayed various rooms in the museum.  We get to see small Chinese creatures and giant frogs hopping through the scenes.  We see flowing lava stopped in a really novel way.  We watch Sir Lancelot doing his knightly thing to serve King Arthur’s wishes according to his view of the world.
 
I have rarely seen a trilogy conclusion as well crafted as this one.  This story once again captures our imagination in ways that few other films ever have while giving us a wonderfully full ending that we can walk away from feeling satisfied. 
 
However, while this is the conclusion of the trilogy and Ben Stiller’s storyline, I can’t help but think that we might eventually see a spin-off film based at the British Museum starring Tilly and Sir Lancelot.  If they make it, I will come (and watch it).  
 
 
 
 
 
The Selig Rating Scale:
 
FULL PRICE – Excellent movie, well worth the price
MATINEE – Good movie
DOLLAR – OK movie
CABLE – No need to rush. Save it for a rainy day.
FREEBIE – Good that I saw it on the big screen but wish I hadn't paid for it.
COMMERCIAL TV – Commercials and cutting to the allotted time will not hurt this one.
FORGET IT! – Bad. If you see this one, do yourself a favor and keep it to yourself.
GET YOUR TORCHES – BAD! – Burn the script, the writer, the director and maybe even the actors!
Written By
More from John Strange
THOR: RAGNAROK – A Review by John Strange
  THOR: RAGNAROK – A Review by John Strange     In...
Read More
0 replies on “NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM: SECRET OF THE TOMB – A Review by John Strange”