It’s easy to read a review and be put off watching a movie, and there are more than enough bad bad review out there for Night At The Museum: Secret Of The Tomb, but that shouldn’t put you off seeing it at all. It makes for a fun family DVD and while it’s a long way away from being perfect it’s still an enjoyable movie that will put a lot of smiles on a lot of faces with clever humour, the same impressive special effects that made the previous two movies look so good and more than enough silliness to roll your eyes at.
Released on DVD, blu-ray and digital download on the 13th April 2015, it’s the third outing for Ben Stiller (The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty) as the custodian of the magical museum mayhem. It looks like the film closes out the trilogy, so there probably won’t be any more in the series and in all fairness it’s probably about the right time to leave things on at least a bit of a high.
The story returns to the New York Natural History Museum as the city has become enthralled by the “special effects” late night shows at the museum. However, as a gala reception approaches, Ahkmenrah warns Larry that there’s a problem with the magic tablet that brings the museum to life, but he doesn’t have time to look into it with so much to organise, which results in the night going incredibly wrong with the exhibits going loco on the dinner guests. In an attempt to fix the situation, Larry, his now annoying teenage son Nicky and the exhibits head over to London to talk to Akmenrah’s parents, who are housed in the stunning British Museum in the hope that they’ll be able to help somehow.
What we like about the story is that it tries to mix things up a bit with the trip across the Atlantic and while that doesn’t really change the general formula too much from the previous two movies, it does at least add in some variance. It’s also cool to see the British Museum come to life and it provides the series an angle to end the trilogy on.
The side story with Larry and Nicky having father son issues over the latter’s intention to ditch college in favour of being a DJ in Ibiza is a bit on the daft and annoying side in general. However, the addition of a new Neanderthal Man called La who looks uncannily like Larry makes for a good amount of the comedy moments throughout the film, especially when his rugged charms start to take their effect on the British night security guard, Tilly.
There’s not much in the way of stand out performances from the cast, but they do enough to keep the movie series alive, with Ricky Gervais, Steve Coogan (Minions) and Owen Wilson (Free Birds) delivering their usual brand of quirky humour. Ben Kingsley (The Jungle Book) is largely wasted in the role of Akmenrah’s dad, Merenkahre, but Stiller does a decent job of laying La, and Rebel Wilson (Ice Age: Continental Drift) has some good lines in the role of Tilly. Dan Stevens, of Downton Abbey fame, puts in a decent enough showing as Lancelot, Patrick Gallagher is class as Attila The Hun and Mizuo Peck is as perfect in the role of Sacagawea as she was in the previous two movies.
It’s sad and touching to see Robin Williams and Mickey Rooney take their final bows in the film following both of their deaths in 2014. It’s also quite cute to have Dick Van Dyke dancing for a good part of his fleeting role in the film as
The special effects are a big part of what makes the series what it is and Secret Of The Tomb is no different, with some very cool British Museum relics coming to life with impressive visuals, especially the many nine-headed Xiangliu snake that they battle in an attempt to make it to Ahkmenrah’s parents in the Egyptian section. This looks pretty cool on a big screen TV, especially in high definition, but it doesn’t quite capture the 3D effects from the cinema and you’ll have to wait for a potential 3D Blu-ray release of the film to experience this at home, which Zavvy has got earmarked for December 2015 (although, we’re a little dubious about them as a credible source, so we’ll update if anything changes).
Night At The Museum: Secret Of The Tomb has it’s ups and down, and there’s a lot we’d ideally change about the film, but for anyone looking for a middle of the road family movie that delivers fun, minor thrills and a good few laughs then it’s a pretty safe bet. It’s definitely not the kind of film that should be subjected to a high brow film review, but it will keep everyone good and entertained for an hour and a half or so at least.
Night At The Museum: Secret Of The Tomb DVD review: 3/5