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Perhaps the saddest thing about Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, with its child friendly atmosphere and plot, is seeing the late Robin Williams reprise his role as President Teddy Roosevelt. This last trip to the world of a magical tablet that brings exhibits to life at night feels tired and forced. Even Stiller in the lead role looks fed up with the whole thing. The only aspect of these movies that seems to change are the locations.
The second in the trilogy took place at the Smithsonian in the nation’s capital and this last one is set at the British Museum in London. Of course this location does allow for the always welcome Sir Ben Kingsley to step into the sandals of Egyptian Pharaoh for a cameo but oddly puts Australian actress Rebel Wilson in the role of chubby Brit guard to the landmark site.
Dick Van Dyke, the late Mickey Rooney and Bill Cobbs, who has not lines and is billed below the monkey over at IMDb, all come back for small cameos. Van Dyke, however, turns out to be the 12 year-old lad at the beginning of the film, nice touch that. The plot centers around the magical tablet which is now corroding. The life giving talisman is turning green, like a cheap gold ring, and each time the stain spreads the live exhibits act oddly. At a “special effects” evening at the start of the film, the exhibits all go mad and start acting up and the guests end up running for their lives. Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb is delightfully child friendly and does try to have a few gags included for the parents but this opening segment will delight everyone. The widespread panic is not dangerous looking, just very funny.
As a result Ricky Gervais’ character the pompous and somewhat ridiculous Dr. Mcphee, is fired as Museum Director. Stiller’s character, Larry, or Dum-Dum as the Easter Island statue calls him, leans that only Ahkmenrah’s father (played by Ben Kingsley) knows the secret of the tablet and how to stop if from being destroyed by the green corrosion. Unfortunately, Ahkmenrah’s pop is in the British Museum so McPhee helps Larry to get over there with a few wax friends to fix the tablet.
Apart from the cameos with Dick Van Dyke, the late Mickey Rooney and Bill Cobbs, Wolverine, aka Hugh Jackman or as Sir Lancelot calls him, Huge Ackman, has a splendid bit on a London stage. The interaction between Jackman, who plays himself, and Sir Lancelot is quite possibly the funniest bit in the film. It is definitely the most amusing portion for any adults who have taken their little ones to the cinema to see this.
There is one poignant portion of the movie where the fan-favorite wax works begin “dying” and small children may be alarmed and adults will almost certainly shed a tear, but as this last in the series, hopefully, is geared towards the younger members of the audience, this dramatic moment does not last long. Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb is, overall, very child friendly and the little ones will enjoy this trip to yet another museum. Parents may find that the 128 minute film feels a little bit longer than that, but their children will get a kick out of the film. Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb opens on December 19. Grownups may be a little bored, but the children will most likely love it.
By Michael Smith
AMC Town Square Theatre 18