Night at the Museum took an incredibly novel idea (artifacts at New York’s Natural History museum coming to life) and made it something truly special. It became a huge hit and we got the equally as fun Night at the Museum 2: Battle of the Smithsonian, which took Ben Stiller’s museum guard Larry Daley and his gang to Washington, D.C.
Where to go from there? How about the British Museum in London? Fantastic idea!
What “new” thing could they introduce there?
How about a museum guard (a Stiller comrade in “arms”) played by Rebel Wilson, a Lancelot come to life in the form of Dan Stevens and Ben Kingsley as the Pharaoh Merenkahre -- who is key to our all-new mystery? Bloody brilliant!
If you like the Night at the Museum movies, then you’ll love Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb. All of our favorite characters are back, including Robin Williams as Teddy Roosevelt (sadly, the last time we will see him on screen), Steve Coogan as Octavius, Owen Wilson as Jedediah and Patrick Gallagher as Attila the Hun.
As previewed in the Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb trailer, Stiller is back at the New York Natural History Museum and it’s a big night where all the glitterati will be present. The tablet that we all know makes these museum residents come to life each night is having issues. It's fading and its power is weakening. That causes havoc during the fundraiser and Stiller must head to England to discover the source of the tablet’s power and how to fix it. And yes, the gang comes along too… even that cute little monkey.
One new character that is introduced absolutely steals the film and that is a caveman named Laaa who has an uncanny resemblance to Larry. It helps that he’s also played by Stiller. It is fantastic to see a new comedic Stiller character that has to rank up there with some of his best, and we even mean Zoolander! And don’t get us started on the comic explosiveness of the scenes with Stiller as Laaa and Wilson!
The thing about this third Night at the Museum is it is kind of just more of the same. And we adore that, but not everybody will. It does have the added feature of Stiller’s Laaa, but many might hope for a little bit more.
What does feel missing is imagination and the writing talents of the duo that created these characters, the original film’s screenwriters -- Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant. Perhaps their handprints could have added something to the series, like they did with Battle at the Smithsonian.
Our Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb review feels that, sure, we’ve added a new locale and some fantastic fresh characters (particularly Stevens as Lancelot, who knew he was so funny?!), but the richness of the first two movies is off, just a bit in this third flick -- something Lennon and Garant might have been able to do something about.
And one last thing... the film is quite a goodbye to Williams. They handle it brilliantly.
Watch Night at the Museum online to see how it all got started.