Night at the Museum Secret of the Tomb Review

Night at the Museum Secret of the Tomb Review
Director: Shawn Levy
Written by David Guion, Michael Handelman, and Mark Friedman
Release Date: 19 December 2014
Running Time: 98 minutes
MPAA Rating: PG
Editor’s Rating: 3 out of 4 manly tears shed

Can you believe the first Night at the Museum came out in 2006? This franchise is almost a decade old, and the biggest gap, five years, has come between movies two and three. Because of that, when sitting down to see this one, I realized I didn’t remember anything regarding the other two movies.

However, it didn’t matter at all, since the film spends its first act explaining what makes the museum come to life (SPOILER ALERT) while Ben Stiller quips and reacts to people making fun of him. It’s not really fair to call Ben Stiller by his character’s name in the film, because in every Ben Stiller movie I’ve ever seen (except Zoolander) he plays the exact same character.

So Ben Stiller has to go to London because he’s following in Adam Sandler’s footsteps and making movies that are basically paid vacations the magic tablet that makes the exhibits come to life is dying, and the only “person” with the answers can be found in the British Museum. Well, when Ben and his crew arrive, hijinks break out due the museum coming to life for the first time, and what should be a straightforward thing becomes a misadventure loaded with quirk, silliness, and loads upon loads of CGI.

This film is something I thought I wouldn’t be able to handle. Not because of Ben Stiller’s eye-rollingly predictable humor, but because it was Robin Williams’s last movie. I was so afraid that Robin’s film career would end on a note more akin to Bicentennial Man rather than Good Morning Vietnam. More significant was the man himself: Robin was such a huge part of my life for so long that I didn’t know if I could take seeing him leave again. Whatever my apprehensions, I knew I wasn’t going to come out of whatever it showed me with a pair of dry eyes.

Yet, I found myself being impressed by the way this film handled what seems to be its last installment. It shows a sense of heartfelt finality toward the end, with a satisfying endgame for the inhabitants of New York’s Museum of Natural History, and a sense of resolution for Ben Stiller and son’s side story line, which was kinda shoehorned into the story in the first place.

Though as I predicted, I cried so many tears. Tears of sadness and tears of what could have been. Tears for lost heroes, and tears that echoed personal experiences. What should have been a pretty yet respectful little bow on a film trilogy ended up being a rather emotional parting for me. I thank Night at the Museum for that.

Which leads me to realize that if this film had been released on its own with a few tweaks, nothing would have been lost. An endorsement of the third movie to be sure. But like I said, I still don’t remember them. They were Ben Stiller movies with interesting side characters. However, Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb closes a book which many of us were not ready to put down. Maybe we’re better off for it; sometimes we just don’t know when to stop reading for our own sake.

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