[Film Review] Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb (2014)

Night at the Museum - Secret of the Tomb poster

Title: Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb
Year: 2014
Country: USA, UK
Language: English
Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy
Director: Shawn Levy
Writers:
David Guion
Michael Handelman
Mark Friedman
Thomas Lennon
Robert Ben Garant
Music: Alan Silvestri
Cinematography: Guillermo Navarro
Cast:
Ben Stiller
Robin Williams
Dan Stevens
Owen Wilson
Steve Coogan
Ricky Gervais
Rebel Wilson
Skyler Gisondo
Rami Malek
Patrick Gallagher
Ben Kingsley
Dick Van Dyke
Mickey Rooney
Bill Cobbs
Rachael Harris
Anjali Jay
Mizuo Peck
Rating: 4.3/10

A cinema-going in Shanghai with my cousin, who handpicks this comedy sequel for solace because she has freshly gotten out of a tormenting tug-of-war between her parents and her boyfriend, so I dare not to differ.

A five-year gap between the third venture and its predecessor NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM: BATTLE OF THE SMITHSONIAN (2009) not-so-subtly signifies Twentieth Century Fox’s confidence of this money-grubbing family fare is not too strong, or maybe star Ben Stiller’s ballooning check is too taxing to meet, anyway, its domestic box-office has been considered a minor misfire ($108 millions income Vs. $127 millions budget after 5 weeks), which may suggest that 3 is always a perfect number for a franchise’s retirement.

The prologue in Egypt does whip up a bit expectation although the subheading SECRET OF THE TOMB implies that it should not been a surprise at all. With five co-writers billed, the story super-conveniently exploits the origin of the Tablet of Ahkmenrah (not to mention the final solution of its portentous corroding is also super-featherbrained, spoiler alert! we have only one moon, is there any need of globetrotting?), while not tracing back to the middle east domain, we are forcibly brought to London, and the old same gimmick is put into full-throttle action, e.g. the action piece inside Dutch graphic artist M.C. Escher’s iconic painting Relativity, the topical gay undertone between Jedediah (Wilson) and Octavius (Coogan), and the scene-stealing stunt by Crystal the Monkey, et al.. But the impact is meager, the additions of Rebel Wilson as Tilly, the female equivalent of Larry (Stiller) in the British Museum, is a real hoot, and Dan Stevens as Sir Lancelot, guarantees his chivalry stereotype with some insipid friend-or-foe baloney (with a melting nose-job), it is just depressing to find out that Steven chooses this role as his Hollywood stepping-stone and leaves all his DOWNTON ABBEY devotees weeping for his departure, he should fire his agent instantly!

Essentially in a more solemn air, one might be emotional to witness two last performances from the late Robin Williams and Mickey Rooney, and delightfully notice that Dick Van Dyke still can boogie in his late-80s. Apart from that, the film is a nondescript throwaway from Hollywood’s standard assembly-line, even at its length of 90 minutes, there is inconvenient moment when one can discernibly notice that it has overstayed its welcome, and I’m not just referring to the overlong inter-specific kiss between Larry and the monkey.

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