I didn’t used to be a fan of Ben Stiller, but he has grown on me over the years, showing a versatility and undeniable skill in his acting that I’ve come to appreciate. The Night at the Museum movies are some of my favorites and this third installment is an immensely satisfying adventure, an outstanding last hurrah with much loved characters. It also sorrowfully marks the final on-screen performances of both Mickey Rooney and Robin Williams, who both died before the movie was released. There is a beautiful dedication during the end credits (which are well worth watching) to the two giants of cinema that I felt was both touching and wistful. [Perhaps my feelings regarding the passing of Robin Williams have colored my thoughts about this movie, thus giving it a higher rating than I would have otherwise, but even if so, things happening in the real world have always impacted how we feel about movies and therefore I feel the five stars are justified.]
Something has gone wrong with the mysterious Egyptian tablet that magically brings the museum to life when the sun goes down. Night guard Larry Daley (Ben Stiller) gets grudging approval from Museum Director Dr. McPhee (Ricky Gervais) to take the ailing tablet and Ahkmenrah (Rami Malek in a much better role than his deluded hacker on Mr. Robot) to the British Museum in London in order to consult with Ahk’s parents, Pharaoh Merenkahre and Queen Shepseheret (Sir Ben Kingsley and Anjali Jay). Naturally a few of the others stow away in order to come along, including Teddy Roosevelt (Robin Williams), Attila the Hun (Patrick Gallagher), Sacajawea (Mizuo Peck), Dexter the monkey, and miniature cowboy Jedediah (Owen Wilson) and Roman legionnaire Octavius (Steve Coogan). At the British museum, they meet Larry’s counterpart, night guard Tilly (Rebel Wilson), and exhibit come to life Sir Lancelot (Dan Stevens), the latter of which insists on joining the “quest”.
As I’m sure you’ve noticed already, Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb is absolutely bursting at the seams with an incredible array of fine actors, which also includes the great Dick Van Dyke, Mickey Rooney, Rachael Harris , Hugh Jackman, Alice Eve and Matt Frewer. Hugh Jackman is hilarious in a cameo as himself, Sir Ben Kingsley is always superb and Rebel Wilson is so good at the type of comedy that has you half-laughing and half-cringing. The whole movie has beat perfect comedic timing, a rarity in films these days; it had me actually tearing up in places and howling with laughter in others. Thoroughly enjoyable, lighthearted but also poignant and deceptively philosophical, I felt the whole thing was just perfect. I’ve been to the British Museum more times than I can count, and it was such a pleasure to see familiar exhibits and galleries come to life. Ben Stiller has completely won me over and his additional performance as Neanderthal Laaa was just icing on the cake. A marvelous adventure for the whole family and my first impulse upon finishing the movie was to immediately watch it again, a sure sign it well-deserves its shining five star rating. – BETHANY
For more on this fabulously fun film, frequent the Internet Movie Database
Rachael Harris and Dexter.
Ben Stiller as Laaa. Is that a hint of Blue Steel I see?
Dan Stevens as Sir Lancelot.
A promotional shot giving a nod to a sequence in the movie involving the art of M.C. Escher. (click to see a much larger version)
I couldn’t decide which of these previews was better, so I solved the problem by simply including them both.
Photos courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, 21 Laps Entertainment, 1492 Pictures and TSG Entertainment (unless otherwise credited in clickable form)