I feel like our generation grew up with the “Night at the Museum” films. The first one came out in 2006, when I was just 13 years old. I can still remember being in the theater with my brother and father, mesmerized at how all the museums artifacts came to life. The second film came out three years later. Now, the final installment of the trilogy, “Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb” (2014) is out on DVD and ready to be seen by all fans as the series comes to a close.
This movie is packed with big named actors. Ben Stiller, Robin Williams and Ricky Gervais all return to their well-known roles as Larry Daley, Theodore Roosevelt and Dr. McPhee, respectively. Owen Wilson and Steve Coogan return as the dynamic duo of Jedediah and Octavius. Some new characters are introduced, like Dan Stevens as Sir Lancelot and Rebel Wilson as Tilly, the security guard at the British Museum.
As a fan of these movies, I was super excited to see the third and last film, because the other two were so good. The movie began how you would expect; Larry Daley is enjoying his time as a night guard with the museum artifacts alive. They put on a show for the new planetarium, but something goes wrong.
All of the artifacts start to act weird, saying and doing things they don’t mean. The event ends in chaos, with Dr. McPhee being fired. Larry and the others soon realize that they are all essentially “dying” because the tablet is corroding and losing its magic.
The gang of Larry, his son Nicky, Teddy, Ankmenrah, Sacagawea, Attila the Hun, Octavius and Jedediah make their way to the British Museum to find Ankmenrah’s parents and ask his father about the secret of the tablet. While there, they meet new allies and fight their way through some tough obstacles to arrive at the Egyptian section.
Dexter, the capuchin monkey, also comes along and shows a lot more affection towards Larry than he had in the past two films. I can’t seem to recall Dexter slapping him even once.
After a squall with Sir Lancelot and him stealing the tablet because he thinks it’s the Holy Grail, Larry is finally able to save his friends. By putting the tablet in the moon light, the corrosion is gone and the tablet is recharged with power.
It’s decided that Ankmenrah and the tablet, stay at the British Museum with his parents. This would mean that the British Museum will come alive at night, but not the American Museum of Natural History in New York, where they are all from. This is where the film gets sentimental, because you realize there will be no more nights at the museum.
One aspect of this film that I didn’t like was Rebel Wilson as Tilly. Also the relationship that she has with Larry’s Neanderthal lookalike, Laaa. Wilson is hilarious in “Bridesmaids” and “Pitch Perfect,” but her comedy did not belong in this film. She was almost too funny on an inappropriate level.
The chemistry between her and Larry when they first meet is very off. What’s even worse is that she falls in love with Laaa, who isn’t even real. I just felt like they ran out of ideas for this film and some of the scenes did not match the dynamic they had going with the first two films.
The best part of the movie was the very end, when Tilly and some of the British Museum artifacts make their way to New York on temporary display at the American Museum of Natural History. Tilly shows Dr. McPhee, who got his job back because Larry took the blame for the planetarium chaos, just how magical the tablet is.
The whole museum is having a dance party to “Boogie Wonderland” by Earth Wind & Fire. Tilly and Laaa see each other again and do the iconic lift scene from “Dirty Dancing,” which looks ridiculous.
The best part is when the camera goes outside the museum, showing all the lights through the windows and the music booming from the building. Larry, who is now a teacher, stops in front of the museum, looks up, and smiles. The film ends.
Another important part of this film was the real life conversations between Larry and his son, Nicky, who is about to graduate high school. Nicky doesn’t know if he wants to go to college and would rather DJ on some exotic island. Larry obviously thinks this is a bad idea and is constantly trying to get him to see that college is more important. I couldn’t help but think how relevant their struggles were today, with my own brother unsure of what he wants to do with his future.
The film did do a good job of wrapping up the storyline. With Larry no longer being the night guard and the tablet permanently being at the British Museum, there is no possibility of another movie being made.
The film also lost two of its actors before the release, Robin Williams and Mickey Rooney, to whom the film was dedicated. Teddy’s final words and the last lines spoken by Robin Williams on camera were to Larry, “Smile, my boy. It’s sunrise.” I hope that made you smile.