Friday, December 26, 2014

Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb Review

Did the world really need a third Night at the Museum movie? This is definitely a question that I asked when I heard that this movie was announced and when you look at the box office totals, it's evident that most of the world said no to this question and didn't even give it a shot. After the first one was a surprise box office hit in 2006 and the sequel followed with lower, but decent results, this third one is going to fall well short of $100 million at the US box office, which is not good for the franchise considering that the production budget is listed at $127 million. However, there is one huge thing for me personally that put this as a must see. One of my all time favorite actors passed away this year and this is his final live action role. Of course you know that I'm talking about Robin Williams. And since I actually missed the second Night at the Museum movie, I made sure to make it a bit of a marathon by watching the second and third back to back. I remember enjoying the first one and as I was watching the second and third, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed both of them. I suppose the Night of the Museum movies aren't for everyone, but if you liked the first two, you should go check this one out

In the first Night at the Museum, we learned the secret of the Museum of Natural History in that all the wax figurines came alive at night due to a certain Egyptian tablet. In Night at the Museum 2: Battle of the Smithsonian, our beloved wax characters are transferred to the Smithsonian, wherein quite the epic battle/rescue mission takes place. In this latest installment, Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, the tablet starts to corrode, causing Ben Stiller and company to travel to the British Museum of Natural History to figure out the secret of the tablet so that they can stop the corroding and bring things back to normal. What makes this such a fun movie is what makes the first two fun movies. You have a cast of characters that look like they are just having a lot of fun. But not just that, they are all playing historical figures that have come to life. And it's just fun to see the clash of the historical figures. Like in the previous movies, we have Teddy Roosevelt, Jedediah the cowboy, Octavius the Roman general, Attila the Hun, Sacajawea, and Dexter that Capuchin monkey. Added to this one are various other characters led by Laaa the Neaderthal and Sir Lancelot.

It's of note that this movie does have a target audience, that being younger kids. In the specific showing I went to, several of my nieces and nephews were there with me, and from what I could tell, they were all enjoying themselves. In my opinion, if a movie succeeds in entertaining it's target audience, then that is really all that matters. However, you have heard me preach recently that it's very possible for a movie to not only entertain its target audience, but others as well. When it comes to a kids movie, if the movie can entertain both kids and adults, then it gets more kudos. In my opinion, this is a movie that successfully does both. At the very least, it entertained me. But I suppose you can just call me a kid at heart because I tend to be a lot nicer to these kids movies than many others are.

Like in the previous two movies, this chapter does have a lot of big name actors. Of note, I think Owen Wilson, Steve Coogan, Ricky Gervais, Dan Stevens, Patrick Gallagher, Rami Malek, Ben Kingsley, Dick Van Dyke, and the late Mickey Rooney all look like they are having a fun time with this, whether their roles are big or small. In addition to those people, there are a few that need additional mention. First off, Rebel Wilson is in this. If you know me well enough, you know that for some reason I just don't get that woman's humor. I thought she was unbearably annoying in both Pitch Perfect and Pain & Gain. And she is about equally annoying in this one, although she is tamed a bit with her script because this is a family movie. I didn't like her at all. But that's really the only acting complaint I have. Ben Stiller is one that sparks a bit of controversy in terms of his acting abilities. Some are really bored with his bland acting style, but I think it works in this. I can't call him my favorite actor, but he's not one that bothers me, either. And I do have to give him more kudos in this one because he does play a double role. In addition to being the lead role as the security guard, he also plays the Neanderthal Laaa, and that's a fun character. Last but not least is Robin Williams. As I said, he's the reason why I considered this movie a must see and it was certainly great to see him go at it one last time. While I'm not going to spoil the ending, I do have to mention the fact that during the end of the film, Robin Williams' character is saying farewell to Ben Stiller's character one final time. This was definitely unintentional when the script was written, but it turns out to be beautiful because Robin Williams gives a great and emotional farewell speech. That almost had me in tears because as he was saying farewell, suddenly all these great memories of Robin Williams just flooded through my mind all at the same time. I have a lot of fond memories with his movies. He'll certainly be missed.

In the end, if you are a fan of the first two Night at the Museum movies, this is definitely a movie to check out. Of all the Holiday family films that have come out recently, I'd actually say this is the one that is most worth seeing. It has a great cast playing fun characters that just have a good time. It's a movie that's geared towards a younger audience and that audience will love this, so I'd especially recommend this to parents with younger kids. Also, I do think that this is a movie that works for both kids and adults, as I enjoyed the ride the whole movie. Finally, if you are a fan of Robin Williams, this movie is a great and emotional send-off to that amazing man. So it's also worth seeing for that aspect of it. Is this an epic movie? Is this one of the best of the year? No. But that doesn't matter. It's not trying to be. It's just trying to be a fun movie that is good for kids and it succeeds. I personally think that this has turned into quite the fun trilogy, so I'm going  to give Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb an 8/10.  

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