Movie Review: “Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb” – A Magical Adventure

Written by Caitlin Cooper December 22, 2014

night at the museum

“Night at the Museum” captured the hearts of audiences in 2006 with its tale of history, learning, museums, family, and magic, and its sequel managed to do the same partly due to the many new and interesting characters it introduced into the story-line. Now, the minds behind the the first two “Night at the Museum” films have come together to give us another adventure with night security guard Larry Daley (Ben Stiller) and all of the people and creatures in the museum as they aim to save the magic tablet that enables them to come to life at night.

“Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb” takes place four years after the events of the second film in the series, “Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian”. After a short flashback revealing how and when the magical Egyptian tablet was found, we see the tablet going green and beginning to lose its magic because it wasn’t meant to be sitting on display in a museum for years and years. The only one who holds the secret of how to save the tablet’s magic is Merenkahre (Ben Kingsley), Ahkmenrah’s (Rami Malek) father, who is in a museum in London, England. Together, Larry, his son, and a few of his friends from the museum travel to London in order to save the magic.

“We’re not making a mistake, we’re making history.”

While the plot of “Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb” isn’t especially complex – like how easily the the Pharaoh gives up the secret -, it does have some depth and overarching messages that grow steadily over the course of the film and tie up the film franchise as a whole. The film highlights the importance of people and love above all else. Friends and family are the anchor for the film and thus are the motivation for everything. Larry never expected he’d gain a bunch of friends from various times and places, and here we see what the characters really mean to each other since they met in the first film. The new characters introduced aren’t quite as funny and charming as those introduced in the second film – like Amelia Earheart (Amy Adams) -, but Ahkmenrah’s parents and Sir Lancelot (Dan Stevens) are silly characters that add to the comedy and heart of the story. Aside from this, the main focus is on Larry and his son, Nick (Skyler Gisondo). This was an important relationship in the previous “Night at the Museum” films, but it’s more pronounced here.

night at the museum

The weakness “Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb” has it that it almost seems to have a little less magic than the first film. Scenes that are meant to be funny without relying on much dialogue seem to drag on a bit. Also, Lancelot’s whole thing about court jesters is one of the weakest jokes in the film; it wasn’t even funny. Aside from that, the writing is mostly well-done. The family dynamic between Larry and his son, Nick, is reflected in the relationship Ahkmanrah has with his own dad. Both sons needed time to grow up and mature on their own, and their fathers needed to see them as becoming adults. It was a nice parallel to see, but it was a almost a bit too obvious at times.

“There is strange magic in the air, and danger is afoot.”

It’s no surprise that the returning actors are naturals at their roles in “Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb”. Stiller is, as usual, the funny and genuine Larry who has become proud of his career as a night guard and has a better relationship with his son.  Nick is played by Skyler Gisondo rather than Jake Cherry; it’s a bit jarring that the character was re-cast, but Gisondo handles the role well. Ricky Gervais gets to be a bit more than the tough museum director: he gets to show a softer side when he does what he can to help the museum that he loves so much. Rebel Wilson plays her usual ridiculous and silly character, but she adds some more fun to the film.

Night at the Museum

Not only does “Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb” pay tribute to the charming characters of the film series that we’ve come to know so well, but it also pays tribute to Robin Williams. It’s a perfect final film to remember the great comedian by since it encompasses exactly the kind of roles and films he chose: fun, comedy, and a lot of heart. The credits also mention the late Mickey Rooney who also passed away this year. While I can’t say I’ve seen much of his work, it was nice to see his character be funny and snarky.

“It was never about the tablet, it was about them.”

Overall, “Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb” is a funny film about family, friends, and magic. It has most of the charm and comedy of the first “Night at the Museum” films but brings a bit more heart to the film series as it touches on how important the people in our lives are. If you’re looking for a light and fun movie with a lot of heart to watch during the holidays, this is a good option.

My Rating: 7.5/10

night at the museum

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About Caitlin Cooper

Caitlin Cooper

Caitlin is an avid watcher of movies and television shows so she decided to use her passion to write about them. She has a B.A. in English Language and Literature with a Minor in Creative Writing.

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