Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb (20th Century Fox, PG)

nightatthemuseum3 sqWe have seen it all before in the previous two movies; of course, that does not make it any less entertaining.

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After a couple years of silence, we return to the story of Larry Daley (Ben Stiller), now promoted to director of nighttime operations, and his lively dusk-till-dawn experiences. Once again directed by Shawn Levy, Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb starts off with an Indiana Jones–styled flashback, taking us to the archaeological discovery of the magical Tablet of Akmenrah, which is responsible for all of the mystical powers given to the displays at the American Museum of Natural History.

During a gala dinner for all of Manhattan’s elite, the reopening of the Hayden Planetarium, we discover a glitch in the magic, with its malfunctioning exhibits attacking the valued guests. The problem of the corroding golden tablet is traced to Akmenrah (Rami Malek) and the Egyptian exhibition. Daley, his now teenage son Nicky (Skyler Gisondo, taking over from Jake Cherry), and all his companions head across the pond to London to get advice from Akmenrah’s father Merenkahre (Ben Kingsley), attempting to fix the problem before it is too late and all of our dear friends are turned back to being lifeless wax statues forever.

Naturally, the rest of the film’s 97 minutes consist of our well-known company of Larry’s friends—Teddy Roosevelt (Robin Williams), Jedediah (Owen Wilson), Octavius (Steve Coogan), Attila the Hun (Patrick Gallagher), Sacajawea (Mizuo Peck), and the rude capuchin monkey—accompanying him to play something between hide-and-seek and catch, at first only inside the British Museum, but later also outside, in the streets of London.

Even though this family adventure comedy brings in new faces—such as Sir Lancelot (Dan Stevens) the knight in shining armor searching for the Holy Grail, Rebel Wilson as a sex-deprived English security guard, and Laa (Daley’s new Neanderthal ancestor addition, also played by Stiller), as well as a brief, yet unexpectedly funny appearance on a theater stage in London by Hugh Jackman and Andrea Martin—nothing super innovative has been brought to the new installment of the series. We have seen it all before in the previous two movies; of course, that does not make it any less entertaining.

There are a few funny lines and moments (usually when Kingsley is present), just as there are the awkward, not-so-funny ones (all those previously used in the earlier movies), but in general, Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb is a pleasant, easy watch. My favorite scene is a clever chase for the tablet of Akmenrah inside one of M. C. Escher’s optical illusion prints “Relativity,” where the world’s rules of gravity do not apply.

Starring the late greats Robin Williams and Mickey Rooney in their final performances, Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb gives a nice farewell to the museum series—leaving the door cracked open a tiny bit, just in case. | Lea Vrábelová

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