HOLLYWOOD—The first installment in the “Night at the Museum” franchise was plenty of fun, full of laughs and surprises. Its sequel, heightened those laughs and family fun. What about its third chapter, “Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb?” Let’s just say it doesn’t have the charm that its predecessors had.
This third chapter, which seems to be winking at the audience that this is the last hoorah, finds Larry (Ben Stiller) and his kooky gang of misfits on a journey to protect the museum from falling into utter chaos. Larry discovers that the tablet of Ahkmenrah is causing exhibits in the museum to go haywire because of its deterioration.
With a bit of research, our protagonist realizes he needs to travel to the British Museum of Natural History to speak to Ahkmenrah’s parents. It’s quite evident from the start of the movie, that the torch is being past. That Stiller’s character is at a crossroads and its time to move on. So it’s a bit sad to say the least, especially for a character that many moviegoers have come to enjoy.
The problem with this sequel is that the quirkiness evident in the first two films is greatly missing here. It’s almost as if the movie which comes five years after the last installment was thrown together to speak. While the movie does have some fun visual moments, that is not what made this franchise such a hit with audiences; it was the characters and its art of storytelling. Rebel Wilson adds a bit of spunk as Londonsecurity guard Tilly, but she is no Stiller in my eyes.
For children, the movie’s ability to give them a history lesson is quite a fun ride, through the use of kooky characters and over-the-top antics, but adults may feel a bit tired with the charade which has been seen more than once.
The saving grace element in the picture is the return of the late Robin Williams who reprises his role as Theodore Roosevelt. It’s a treat for the audience to see Williams back on the big screen doing what he did best: making people laugh. There are a few heartfelt moments towards the end of the film involving Williams’ character, but the laughs are few and inconsistent throughout the movie.
Cameos by Mickey Rooney, Hugh Jackman and Alice Eve add to the star power of the picture, but even those names aren’t able to save the narrative that drags a bit.
Director Shawn Levy’s wit and magic touch that was present in the first two movies, does not quite shine this time around. While the ending is a bit bittersweet, it’s not as strong as someone would expect for a trilogy that should have gone out on top.