Who would have thought that a Night at the Museum movie would be our one last chance to say “Oh Captain, My Captain”.
“Night at the Museum Secret of the Tomb” is the third and supposedly final entry into the wonderful world of museum night guard Larry Dailey whose job got more interesting when he realized an ancient relic was bringing his museums displays to life every night. But now something appears to be going haywire with the magic, so the gang packs up and heads to England to find some answers. Which of course means new exhibits and new characters coming to life and a whole new adventure for our crew, even if it all does feel just a little bit too familiar.
But you know what? I’m fine with that. I actually quite enjoy these movies, the first one especially, and this one has much of the same sense of humor and imagination that I’ve come to expect from Stiller and his merry band of artifacts. In fact, I think it may even be a little bit funnier than the others. I found myself laughing quite a bit, which I guess isn’t a surprise when you have Ben Stiller, Robin Williams, Owen Wilson, Steve Coogan, Dick Van Dyke, Ricky Gervais, and Rebel Wilson all putting in good work. Rebel especially was a lot of fun and I wouldn’t be surprised (or disappointed) if we got another sequel with her British security guard role at the helm. I was also impressed that the movie managed to keep its heart, with some consistent themes on parenting and growth. Plus, there was an incredible uncredited cameo towards the end that I thought was absolutely wonderful and I refuse to spoil here. But the best thing? Seeing Robin Williams do his thing one last time. I actually found his final moments in the movie to be poignantly appropriate with an emotion that caught me a little off guard. And the fact that it was Mickey Rooney’s last performance as well added to the unexpected gravitas. Not that these moments bring the movie down at all, they just happen to be the perfect touch of heart it needs to be something more than just a well paced laugh factory.
Now as far as negatives, well, it’s just another Night at the Museum movie. You can tell as far as plotting and story structure go, that it’s pretty straightforward and simple, but really what more do you want? I did find myself one or two times rolling my eyes at a plot convenience or the situational silliness, and a few moments of the CG are a bit obvious for sure, but honestly I was having a good enough time that it was easy to let those go and slip back into the goofy grin that comes from watching a talented and funny cast just be talented and funny.
At the end of the day, the new “Night at the Museum” is a wonderfully funny and deceptively emotional film that hits just the beats it need to to be a great time at the theater. Even though it’s pretty basic movie making, a very talented cast, and some special final moments with Robin Williams, are enough to bring this one to life with a B+