Review: NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM: SECRET OF THE TOMB (2014) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Tuesday, 23 December 2014


The third and allegedly final instalment of NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM series is mostly a dull entry that should have stayed closed until further notice.

The first two movies -- 2006's NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM and 2009's NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM: BATTLE OF THE SMITHSONIAN -- aren't exactly family-fantasy classics, but they do have their fair shares of charm and entertainment. After five-year hiatus since the last movie, the lucrative franchise finally made a comeback with NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM: SECRET OF THE TOMB. However, in this supposedly final instalment that wrapped up the trilogy, the third movie come off as a huge disappointment instead.


This time, the movie involves Larry (Ben Stiller), the night watchman from the Museum of Natural History in New York, and his usual gang of favourite museum displays -- Teddy Roosevelt (Robin Williams), Octavius (Steve Coogan), Jedediah (Owen Wilson), Ankmenrah (Rami Malek), Attila the Hun (Patrick Gallagher), Sacajawea (Mizuo Peck) and Dexter the Capuchin Monkey (Crystal the Monkey) -- along with a new addition of a Neanderthal named Laaa (also Ben Stiller), forced to travel to the British Museum in London. Apparently the magical tablet that allows the museum displays come to life every night starts to corrode and about to lose its power permanently if left unfixed. Their only chance is Ankmenrah's pharaoh father, Merenkahre (Ben Kingsley), who has the secret that can reverse the curse of the corroding magical tablet. 

Ben Stiller is adequately funny enough as he takes on dual roles this time around playing Larry and Laaa. Equally decent as well is Steve Coogan, who reprised his role as the pint-sized Roman soldier Octavius and Crystal the Monkey returning as the cheeky Dexter the Capuchin Monkey. 
The franchise's new addition, Dan Stevens, gives a robust display of genuine comic flair and dashing performance as Sir Lancelot. The late Robin Williams, in his unfortunately final screen performance as Teddy Roosevelt, particularly delivers a poignant moment during the epilogue scene where he interacted with Larry for one last time before he turns back into a museum display. As two uncredited cameos, Hugh Jackman and Alice Eve are both lively and hilarious playing theatre actors for a West End stage production of Camelot.

The creative moment where Larry, Teddy and Sir Lancelot trapped inside the M.C.Escher's Relativity sketch filled with gravity-defying stairways.

Shawn Levy, who returns as a franchise director for the third time in the row, fails to bring anything new that can at least revitalised the series, especially after all these years. Other than a change of setting from New York to London and a new set of animated museum displays, Levy's direction is as clichéd as he goes. Even the plot, written by David Guion and Michael Handelman, is reeked with recycled jokes and uninspired main storyline. Some of the returning actors, such as Owen Wilson as the miniature cowboy Jedediah and Rami Malek as Ankmenrah, are wasted here. While Dan Stevens is good enough as Sir Lancelot, other new additions, including Ben Kingsley as Merenkahre and Rebel Wilson as the British Museum security guard Tilly, aren't as funny as they look.

After the imaginative and more adventurous sequel in NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM: BATTLE OF THE SMITHSONIAN, which also featured a scene-stealing performance by Amy Adams as Amelia Earhart (who is curiously missing here), it's sad to see that the third entry has to end up not with a bang but a whimper.

* This review is written courtesy from 20th Century Fox Malaysia press screening *

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