Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb (Shawn Levy, 2014)
Sequels to kids’ movies are rarely up there with the best films of the year (the Toy Story franchise aside) and so expectations were fairly low for Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb. Maybe it was my low expectations, but I was rather taken by the third and final instalment, which proved a touching conclusion to a decent trilogy.
At the American Museum of Natural History, the magical tablet that brings the exhibits to life at night is starting to corrode, threatening the end for Jedediah (Owen Wilson), Octavius (Steve Coogan), Teddy Roosevelt (Robin Williams), Ahkmenrah (Rami Malek), Dexter the Monkey, and co. Larry (Ben Stiller) and the gang visit the British Museum in an effort to save the tablet, meeting various additional characters along the way, including Sir Lancelot (Dan Stevens) and Merenkahre (Ben Kingsley). WILL THEY BE SAVED IN TIME? No prizes for guessing.
The story is straight-forward and simple, while still being a little bit clever and rather sweet at the same time. There are a bunch of gags that will only appeal to younger audience members, but these are balanced with plenty of humour for the adults, with Ricky Gervais and Rebel Wilson particular highlights in the laugh department.
Robin Williams and Mickey Rooney make their final onscreen appearances, with Williams’ send-off especially poignant in light of his subsequent death. Many of his fans will likely shed a tear in his final scene. Dick Van Dyke demonstrates that he’s still got the moves in a brief scene where he gets jiggy with it in a retirement home, and his presence is a joy. The highlight of the whole film however, is a surprise cameo from one of our most loved stars when the action travels to a West End theatre. For me this was worth the price of admission. Ben Stiller plays straight guy, Larry, but is able to showcase his silliness in his other role as caveman Laaa, though the character wears a bit thin. Bring on Zoolander 2 for some of that real Stiller magic!
Secret of the Tomb is a fitting finale to the Night at the Museum franchise, and here’s hoping money-hungry producers won’t make any ridiculous decisions to make a fourth, fifth, and sixth film. It was fun while it lasted, and even educational, but it’s time to move on and end on a high.