Another day, another sequel and this one is unfortunately another kids movie that shouldn’t have seen the light of day. I’m not against sequels mind you, but in most kids series seldom is any sequel as good as the first installment. This is the case for this past weekend’s release starring the ever wacky Ben Stiller and his posse of celebrities. Yes my friends we take another trip back to the museum, for another hopefully fun adventure amidst it’s hallowed halls. So sit back and read a late review of another Night at the Museum, the Secret of the Tomb.
Likes: One thing I have always liked with this series is the selection of exhibits they choose to bring to life, and the integration of their personalities. This installment brings the magic early on, bringing back familiar faces like Teddy (Robin Williams), Jed (Owen Wilson), and Octavius (Steve Coogan) in all their comedic glory. Amidst a grand speech, cool CGI effects are put into effect to bring the constellations alive that shine in all their cool blue light before chaos arises. Once we get to the London museum, more exciting things come alive, in the form of another CGI fossil, a mythical snake demon made of metal, and the warrior with golden locks Lancelot (Dan Stevens). The effects are fluid, the designs beautiful, and when actually integrated into the movie, more on that later, you get the fun feeling you got in the first movie. Unfortunately most of these objects are background, aimlessly wandering around the scene while the big boys come out to play.
Outside of the special effects there are some fun pokes at human society’s obsessions, especially at internet videos, pop culture, and of course ridiculous habits that celebrities have. Some of these jokes are well timed, often delivered in a manner that is quite funny. However, many of the jokes, as happens most of the time, lose their charm and the lack of any witty humor makes it pretty much just mindless rambling that kids will only enjoy. Oh sure it’s cute, but Hollywood needs to learn that more isn’t necessary funnier, in fact it’s the opposite. However, audiences allow them to get away with it, so what is the use in complaining.
Now past funny, this Night at the Museum has another emotional side to it, helping to teach the moral lesson of moving on in the magical theatrical way. With the use of orchestrated symphony work, well angled camera shots, decent writing, and of course great acting, I’ll admit I got that tingly feeling all over. No it’s not gas, but those looking for a life lesson reminder will get it in this film, and a decent closing to the series… I think. As for acting, well Stiller gets the most screen time on this one. The verdict, it’s alright… when he’s not acting like a buffoon, and the man has some surprising agility and giant snake battle skills. Most of the time he is a bumbling idiot, but given enough time he can pull out some other feelings that we saw in Meet the Parents. As for Williams, may he rest in peace, the man gave one brilliant performance despite his character being diluted from its previous glory.
Dislikes: A lot in this category for this reviewer. It starts with the adventure, which in the third installment has been diluted to a rushed set of sequences, hastily edited together to get out in time for Christmas. A shame since the tale had promise of suspense, timing, and mystery that could have tied so many things together. Instead, the story lacked any depth, quickly revealing the secret without so much a trial, a challenge, or even an argument, it was just handed right to them and a rather lame story as well. In addition, a lot of the suspense was missing in this film, with only an irregular decay in the tablet’s magic threatening our heroes. Speaking of which the cavalcade also lost their spunk, the strong willed character reduced to comedic boobs, some of which hardly utter a line, as Ben Stiller takes center stage. Such a shame indeed, but your kids will get a kick out of the simplistic journey, that is if they can sit in there seats… which some chose not to.
Instead the adventure was put aside for… comedy, or what passed for it in this movie. Yes there were a few zingers at first, but they quickly were lost to stupid rants of ridiculous arguing with his caveman doppleganger, stupid exchange of words with exhibits, and some rather awkward discussions with Rebel Wilson. Sure it happens once or twice I can handle it, but it just kept happening, even at the big, exciting climax, with the lame bad guy. Why can these films not realize the limits of tired jokes? I can’t answer it either, but sadly it took away from the movie. Perhaps this comedy was the reason why the characters were also a shell of their former glory, and why they were pretty much background characters with the new exhibits. Even the normally cute dynamic between father and son was bad, Hollywood choosing to make the son another lame teenager like most movies do. Is it accurate? Probably, but in a movie with magical tablets you would think a little magic could spread to the humans as well.
I’m not going to lie, this movie failed me on many levels, and disappointed me for the grand conclusion. Still, it is a cute film that kids will handle, and still holds a little of the spark that got me into the series. Worth a trip to the theater? Not really, but if you wish to pay homage to a few of the stars I wouldn’t blame you. My scores for this film are:
Movie Overall: 6.0