Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

In 1938, in Egypt a team of archaeologists is searching for a tomb and its treasure. A young boy falls into it, calling to his father and the team; they discover a significant artifact, the tablet of Ahkmenrah. The locals tell them that if they remove the tablet, “the end will come”.

In present-day New York City, five years after the events of the last film, night guard Larry Daley is overseeing an evening event at the American Museum of Natural History. Larry has gathered his favorite exhibits, which come to life every night, to help with the entertainment; they include Teddy Roosevelt, Attila the Hun, Sacagawea, Dexter the Monkey, diorama miniature cowboy Jed and miniature Roman centurion Octavius, and Pharaoh Ahkmenrah. Larry meets a new wax figure Neanderthal who calls himself Laaa. Ahkmenrah warns of the tablet corroding, which had been causing the exhibits to act oddly. At the event, the exhibits go berserk and the attendees flee. When Larry gets home, he finds his son Nicky throwing a party. Nicky explains he doesn’t intend to apply to college, wanting to take a year off to figure out what he wants to do with his life.

Larry researches the tablet and learns that Cecil Fredericks, the former security guard who tried to steal the tablet (in the first film in the trilogy), was the boy from 1938 who helped discover it. Larry goes to Cecil’s retirement home and explains what is happening at the museum. Cecil recalls the locals’ warning that “the end will come”, realizing it was not an “end of the world” prophecy but a warning that the tablet’s magic would end. He suggests that Larry consult Ahkmenrah’s parents, who are in the British Museum. Larry persuades Dr. McPhee to let him take Ahkmenrah and his tablet to London, even though Dr. McPhee is no longer the museum director. He eventually yields to Larry’s request, and pretends that he is still director.

Larry and Nicky travel to the museum, meeting the security guard, Tilly, who lets them in. When Larry enters, he sees his exhibits friends stowed away. The tablet brings the British exhibits to life and the gang encounters a Triceratops skeleton, which chases them. A wax figure replica of Sir Lancelot, who thinks he is the real Lancelot, saves them, but Jed and Octavius fall into a ventilation shaft. Larry sends Dexter to find Jed and Octavius, who have landed in a Pompeii exhibit just before the model of the volcano Mount Vesuvius erupts. The others fight off a nine-headed Xiangliu statue and Dexter stops the volcano’s flow to save Jed and Octavius.

The gang finds Ahkmenrah’s parents, and his father, Merenkahre, reveals the purpose and power of the tablet: it was made to keep his family together forever. The tablet is endowed with the power of Khonsu, god of the moon, and needs frequent exposure to moonlight to retain its magic. Lancelot steals the tablet, mistaking it for the Holy Grail, then leaves to find his Lady Guinevere. The tablet continues to corrode, which damages the New York exhibits and threatens their “lives”. The gang splits up to find Lancelot, but Tilly apprehends Larry and locks him and Laaa in the employee break room. Larry reflects upon his relationship with Nicky and then Laaa breaks them out. The gang leaves the museum to continue the search, while Laaa stays behind to keep Tilly detained, during which, they become attracted to each other, but the Trafalgar Square lion statues corner them. Larry distracts the statues with his flashlight and the search continues.

Lancelot has arrived at a local theater showing a production of Camelot, starring Hugh Jackman as King Arthur and Alice Eve as Guinevere. He runs onstage, trying to convince “Guinevere” to join him. The gang arrives soon after and convinces Lancelot he’s mistaken, chasing him to the roof. Larry persuades Lancelot to give him back the tablet to save the other now lifeless exhibits. Larry adjusts the tablet and the moonlight restores it, reanimating the exhibits. Larry returns the tablet to Merenkahre after the New York exhibits decide that the tablet and the pharaohs should stay together. As everyone parts ways, Larry tells Tilly that tomorrow night she will have the greatest job in the world. After returning to New York, the exhibits accept that they will permanently return to their inanimate state and they say goodbye to Larry.

Three years later, Larry has given up his job as a night watchman to become a teacher, and a traveling British Museum exhibition comes to the museum. Tilly gives the tablet to McPhee, whose job Larry had saved by taking the blame for the chaos at the evening event at the beginning of the film. She shows him that all the exhibits have come to life because of the tablet’s power and are partying in the museum. Larry, who is walking by, pauses on the sidewalk to see the flashing lights of the party inside the museum, and smiles.

REVIEW:

Sometimes a franchise comes along and fills audiences with wonder and delight in every installment. Other times, they start off with such promise, only to crash and burn. With Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, this franchise seems to be coming to an end. Will it go out with a bang and be remembered or simply slink off unnoticed?

What is this about?

Security guard Larry Daley plunges into an adventure that transports him to a London museum, where he’s surrounded by a new set of artifacts — including the remains of an Egyptian pharaoh who’s resurrected by a magic tablet.

What did I like?

Origin. We’ve had this magic tablet at the center of things for two films now, but no one has really gone into the history about it. That is where it comes from, how it got its powers, etc. We finally get some answers with this film, as we learn it is powered by moonlight and was given said magical powers through some ancient Egyptian ritual. I am so glad that they gave us the origin, rather than just assume we don’t want to know or come to our own conclusions. Something like this deserves, née, needs an origin story.

Power of 3. As this is the third film in the franchise, it seems only fitting to bring back the three guards from the first film. Before you get excited, Mickey Rooney, Bill Cobbs, and Dick van Dyke (who can still dance as well as he did in his heyday, btw) serve as nothing more than a cameo, or fan service. Their appearance wasn’t necessarily needed, but it was nice to see them. Having said that, van Dyke’s character is tied in to the film’s opening, so his part was a bit necessary.

Last one. At the time of this release, both Mickey Rooney and Robin Williams had left us. I won’t say these are the best roles for them to leave on, especially as both of these men have very impressive resumes spanning decades and genres. However, it is nice to know that, being one of their final on-screen roles, they won’t tarnish their legacies a la Raul Julia in Street Fighter. R.I.P. Robin and Mickey.

What didn’t I like?

Parenting 101. In Night at the Museum, Nicky was a little kid devoted to his father. Now he’s a teenager. Need I say more? Surprisingly, they didn’t make him totally disrespectful, overemotional, or any other traits that teenagers today exhibit. They only real change to his character is that he’s older (and played by a different actor). Here is my issue, though. We, the audience, are already having to chew and swallow this convoluted plot with the tablet, introduced to a possibly villainous Lancelot, and now we have to suffer through more drama between Nicky and his dad? They could left that out and focused more on the running joke of Laa and how he looked so much like Larry (even if I thought he looked more like Tom Cruise). Perhaps the fool that Lancelot spoke of could have made an appearance, as well.

Sir Ben. I spoke earlier on how Robin Williams and Mickey Rooney did not have their best performances in this film. Well, that was nothing compared to Sir Ben Kingsley’s role. First off, this isn’t bad casting, in theory, but I feel they could find someone who is actually descended from that region. The queen and Ahkmenrah are obviously of Middle Eastern origin, so why is the pharaoh British and white? That’s a minor point, though. Kingsley is a more than proven actor. Sure, he doesn’t mind lowering himself for a role, as we saw in Iron Man 3, but he was at least given material to work with. In this film, he just stands there, utters a few royal edicts, looks pharaoh-ish, and that’s it? Can we say waste of talent?

Dark. I know many out there are all about the dark stuff these days. Here’s the thing, though…this is, in essence, a children/family film. Why isn’t it the fun romp that the first two were? Are we trying the Harry Potter route and grow with the audience, because if we are then we need to know that the audience is still there, and I just don’t think they are. I don’t have a problem with the story, I just feel that some of the darker themes could have been replaced with more comedic moments. This is a comedy after all.

Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb may be the last entry into this flailing franchise. I think that is perhaps for the best with the loss Robin Williams and no one really clamoring for these films. Not to mention the tremendous drop off in terms of quality coming into this film and no one really giving off the vibe that they want to be there. I feel that this could have been a much better movie had there just been that extra bit of excitement in the cast, but they didn’t sell it, thus the film just meanders along. I will say Rebel Wilson did add a bit of spice to the proceedings. If they were to reboot this, like they do everything else, I suggest her in the lead. So, do I recommend this? No, unless you’re a completionist and want to finish the franchise. Otherwise, it is best to just leave this one alone.

2 3/4 out of 5 stars

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: