Starring: Ben Stiller, Robin Williams, Rebel Wilson
Director: Shawn Levy
Running Time: 97 mins
Night At The Museum: Secret Of The Tomb is an American film and the third in the Night At The Museum series. After seeing the tablet that brings the museum to life begin to lose its power, Larry travels to the British Museum in London to find a way to fix it, and hopefully save all of his friends in New York.
After the moderately entertaining mess that was Battle Of The Smithsonian, I wasn’t expecting too much going into this final film in the series. On the whole, that was justified, as Secret Of The Tomb is a very generic family blockbuster, and doesn’t provide anywhere near the amount of enjoyment as the first film. However, with one last round of energetic performances, a simpler, swifter narrative, and a fresh setting, this isn’t all that bad a watch.
The biggest improvement of this film over Battle Of The Smithsonian is definitely its story. Whilst the latter was all over the shop with its huge array of characters and locations, this film goes back to a smaller ensemble cast and a smaller objective. Although its quest-like plot is still nowhere near as good as the first film’s relatively original story, by keeping it all a lot simpler, this film is a lot easier to watch than I expected.
Another reason that Secret Of The Tomb is at times a lot more engaging than the second film in the series is because of its setting. The Smithsonian was a cool break from New York, but it didn’t hold together all too well, whereas taking the series across the pond to London gives it a very different vibe from the first two movies. Again, the plot is very similar to the second film, but that fresh setting really helps to make it feel less like a manufactured sequel.
The final best part of the movie is definitely the performances. A major strength of the series from day one, Ben Stiller is very entertaining here, albeit not quite as up-and-at-em as he was in the first film. Still, his performance gives the film a strong, enjoyable protagonist, whilst the return of old favourites including Owen Wilson, Steve Coogan and especially Robin Williams is great to see, as they provide a huge amount of laughs throughout (unlike some of the less-than-successful newcomers to the franchise).
Unfortunately, however, as enjoyable as it is at times, Secret Of The Tomb still isn’t a hugely memorable or consistently entertaining film. Its light and easy-going story do help to make it a decent watch, but the fact that it does tread a lot of the paces we’ve seen before is frustrating. The new setting helps to lessen the impact of that, but for anyone who’s seen all three movies, it’s tough to really get into the quest to save the tablet yet again.
Overall, however, this film is an often entertaining watch. It’s not a perfect, hugely memorable or massively original film, but its light-heartedness, new setting and strong performances go a long way to making it as enjoyable as possible, and that’s why I’m giving Night At The Museum: Secret Of The Tomb a 6.8.