#REVIEW: “NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM: SECRET OF THE TOMB”
Review by George Kozera for Mr. Will Wong
Movie Franchises, as a rule, are Critic-proof. They are monster worldwide Hits with an appreciative Audience that await to see that latest Installment. In the case of NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM: SECRET OF THE TOMB, not only have the first two Movies grossed over one billion dollars, it also hits the theatre with added interest with the distinction of bring Comedic Genius Robin Williams’ last onscreen appearance (as well as Hollywood legend, Mickey Rooney). After a beautifully-filmed, opening set in a 1930s archeological dig site, this third go around, with its much beloved Characters, is off and running!
After a disastrous occurrence at a Gala Party held at New York’s Museum of Natural History, we quickly learn that the Tablet that brings the wonderful Characters and Exhibits to life at night is being slowly eroded and for the magic to continue, Larry – the newly-appointed Director of Nighttime Operations at the Museum (played by Ben Stiller) – must find out why. Along with his Son Nick and the Exhibits from the Museum, they travel to London where they must discover the Tablet’s secret. Once they arrive in London’s British Museum, NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM: SECRET OF THE TOMB truly takes-off as good old-fashioned moviemaking fun at its finest.
Along with the returning Characters and Actors from the previous Movies (that include Owen Wilson, Ricky Gervais and Steve Coogan), we are introduced to new ones, each with their own amusing personality quirks. Lancelot, played with comedic aplomb by the handsome and talented Downton Abbey Alum, Dan Stevens, is a wonderful addition, as is Rebel Wilson who brings a hysterical improvisational feel as the Night Guard at the British Museum. We also enjoyed the chemistry between Ben Stiller and Ben Stiller – did I mention he not only plays Larry, but also Laaa (Larry’s Neanderthal Twin)? We loved watching Dick Van Dyke dance again on the Silver Screen with the same vigor and talent he displayed 50 years ago in Mary Poppins. Watching Ben Kingsley spoof his role in just-released Exodus: Gods and Kings is pure comic inspiration. Lastly, I adored the Cameo appearance by a certain singing and dancing Star of the X-Men Franchise. The Movie also has one of the most arresting scenes I have witness in a long time where some of the Characters are trapped inside famed Dutch Graphic Artist, M.C. Escher’s Lithograph, Relativity. Truly a spectacular cinematic moment.
There are misfires. Many of the Secondary Characters have little do but stand and react. Wilson and Coogan, who normally are phenomenal, struggle emotionally working against what appears to be Green Screen. The biggest disappointment however is a listless performance from Williams – we hoped his final performance would have given us something to remember. That being said, Director Shawn Levy brings a satisfying conclusion to the Franchise and its many Fans will not be disappointed.
20th Century Fox release NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM: SECRET OF THE TOMB on Friday December 19, 2014.