Greetings yet again! I TOLD you I was going to be keeping busy playing “catch-up” with these postings from films this past weekend. LOL And therefore, I now bring you the fourth and final film review from said timeframe involving a “3-quel”, as it were, to an overall well received series in “Night At The Museum: Secret Of The Tomb”.
SEE THE TRAILER HERE
Returning Producer/Director Shawn Levy brings this third installment in the series to life and finds is initially being taken back to 1938 Egypt and an expedition lead by Robert Fredericks (Brennan Elliott) searching for the lost tomb of Ahkmenrah with his son, C.J. (Percy Hynes-White). Literally falling into it on accident, C.J. not only discovers the tomb, but it’s biggest treasure…the Tablet, of which they are warned not to remove, but do. Fast forward to present day as intrepid security guard Larry (Ben Stiller) is arranging a huge Benefit Gala for the reopening of the History Museum’s newest planetarium exhibit. Along for the ride are his now familiar, magical, wax figures-come-to-life companions…Teddy Roosevelt (the late, GREAT Robin Williams), cowboy Jedediah (Owen Wilson), Roman solider Octavius (Steve Coogan), pharaoh Ahkmenrah (Rami Malek), Attila the Hun (Patrick Gallagher), Indian guide Sacajawea (Mizuo Peck) and the ever lovable and mischievous monkey, Dexter (Crystal the Monkey). Continuing to show they have their love of life intact on top of Larry discovering a NEW wax figure was created that strangely LOOKS like him (with the exception it’s an addition to the Neanderthal display, and hence Laaa (also Ben Stiller) believes Larry is his father!) the presentation begins without incident, until we see that the Tablet is beginning to unexpectedly deteriorate, causing mayhem for the wax figures and their behavior. Needing to ascertain what the issue is, Larry also has to deal with his son Nick (Skyler Gisondo) who is becoming a handful, acting out and not clear on what he wants his future to be. Larry also researches more about the Tablet, finding out the tie in its discovery has with the now elderly C.J., aka Cecil, Fredericks (Dick Van Dyke). Knowing the answers lie ultimately with Ankmenrah’s father in the British Museum of Natural History, the two, Nick, and stowaways Teddy, Attila, Sacajawea, Jedediah, Octavius, and Laaa all head over to England, and sneak their way in via some orchestrated deception of the rather eccentric and slightly “off” security gate guard Tilly (Rebel Wilson). Once in, finding Ankmenrah’s father Merenkahre (Ben Kingsley) and mother Shepseheret (Anjali Jay), who finally advises what the key is to restore the Tablet and the life it brings. Facing a new museum coming to life for the first time, and having the initial aid of a newly awakened Sir Lancelot (Dan Stevens), the group faces dangers, unexpected turns, and fresh alliances in reaching the intended goal, while also having to realize the true bonds of friendship that have developed over the course of time for Larry and the American museum’s denizens. Further details again equal spoilers, so thus ends this portion.
I absolutely LOVED the first film in this series. Funny enough, I did NOT see the second one. And yet, this film honestly seemed to flow well enough for me despite that, as it ultimately isn’t imperative to HAVE seen the second one to enjoy this newest adventure. Now, while I know I do not (yet, anyway) know what details I DID miss in “Battle of the Smithsonian”, this movie really felt for me like a direct sequel to the first, if you took it as a given that a certain amount of time and events had passed BETWEEN the first and third installments. It came across as fresh again to me, the whole concept had new life after being away from the characters, so maybe that was part of it. I also experienced being more engaged by the events transpiring, as I had a connection WITH the primary characters in a new way as well and their existing plight that possibly meant the end for them all. Stiller continues to bring Larry’s character to feasible life, not being overtly goofy, but actually showing more maturity as he is now a more concerned father figure to his son and wanting to direct him to a bright future. Also, Larry’s interactions with the museum’s “nightlife” inhabitants felt even more genuine via Stiller’s performance, again illustrating HIS character’s bonds to his wards made over time. And the film maintains its sense OF fun, getting certain characters the chance to get into trouble, both silly and serious, over the course of the movie. Rebel Wilson’s dimwit guard and Stiller’s caveman doppelganger add additional laughs aplenty. The rest of our returning cast is equally solid, and newcomer Dan Stevens as Sir Lancelot is also entertaining. Visually, seeing the British museum come to life was excellent, albeit brief, in the grand scheme of the tale, and also addressing certain similarities to its American counterpart was evident. To top it all off, though, there is one AWESOME cameo added to this effort! So IF you ARE going to see this, DO NOT go and read the FULL cast listing beforehand, as it is SO worth the unexpected appearance by a fan-fave actor and HOW he delivers on his showing up! One more point to bring up is the pathos in this movie, which really brought it all together, as I can always appreciate a strong emotional moment or two even in a mostly comedic offering. It almost makes the whole thing more REAL life than fictional, as the message about friendship, family, and necessary sacrifice are themes that should never grow old. Overall, a surprisingly potent third installment with all the elements deftly brought together that MAKE the series one worth watching.
As always, this is all for YOUR consideration and comment. Until next time, thank you for reading!