HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb
HTS Overall Score:83
Trilogies seem to be the norm these days. Not a movie can go by without having a sequel in the works and, if successful enough, a full blown franchise. 2007’s release of “Night at the Museum” was a moderate success and while it wasn’t a fantastic film, it was cute family comedy with some heart. The sequel was a bit long in the tooth at times, but Hank Azaria and the deceased Robin Williams made the movie better than it should have been. Now we’re back for round three and that magic tablet is causing problems once more. The third outing is actually a little bit (teensy bit) better than the second (which is a rather large surprise), and while, much like the first movie, it isn’t a great work of art it IS a solid piece of family entertainment.
Now that Larry Daley (Ben Stiller) is head of the night operations of the Museum of Natural History, as his night watchmen job has become something decidedly more prestigious. Tasked with special functions and the like, Larry and his crew of awakened museum artifacts entertain the guests who are blissfully unaware of the magic contained within. This is all well and good, but no movie is complete without some form of tension, and this tension comes in the form of the amulet of Ahkmenrah starting to corrode. This corrosion also has the side effect of the inhabitants of the museum’s magical powers fading. The only person knows about the magical powers the tablet contains is Ahkmenrah’s (Rami Malek) father Merenkahre (Sir Ben Kinsley), who just so happens to be across the pond in jolly old England’s Museum of Natural History.
Wheedling Larry’s boss, Mr. McPhee (Ricky Gervais) into taking the tablet and Ahkmenrah over to England for a conservation project, the night watchman heads over in an attempt to keep the magic alive. Thinking he’s taking only Ahkmenrah along in a box, Larry finds out he has some stowaways in form of Teddy Roosevelt (Robin Williams), Jedediah (Owen Wilson), Octavious (Steve Coogan) and a few sundry others (including a primordial caveman named “Laa” who is also played by Ben Stiller). There they run into a whole different world of history as the tablet’s waning powers still have enough juice to awaken the whole museum. Now they have to traverse a world of awakening statues that aren’t always the friendliest of neighbors. We run into more dinosaur bones who act like dogs, Sir Lancelot (Dan Stevens) and a night watch woman in the form of Rebel Wilson. As usual, chaos ensues and the statues have to fix the waning magic of the tablet by exposing it to moonlight. This is thwarted by Lancelot who believes that the tablet is the Holy Grail and runs off with it in an effort to complete his lifelong quest. Now Larry, Roosevelt and the rest have to get the tablet back before the sun rises or the magic of the Museum will be lost forever.
The whole “Night at the Museum” series has been entertaining family fluff, and the third entry into the franchise is surprisingly entertaining, especially in a world where sequels tend to really get worse the more sequels they pump out. The movie itself is nothing but a vehicle for the visual spectacle and chaos that happens with the statues, but it’s still fun bumbling chaos. I was extremely saddened to see Robin Williams on screen once more, as his untimely passing is still fresh in many of our hearts. The scene where they wrap up the film with Teddy Roosevelt telling Larry to “Let us go” seemed incredibly prophetic as we watch one of the greatest comedians of our times pass away before his time. Mickey Rooney also shows up (along with Dick Van Dyke and Bill Cobbs) reprising his role as the geriatric security guard from the first movie. Both actors were legends and seeing them on screen after their deaths is both heartwarming and deeply saddening at the same time.
While most of the cast do well at their roles, there is more than enough stupid dialogue to go around and one actor stands out above all else, Rebel Wilson. I can’t think of a single role that she’s played where I enjoyed her in the slightest. Rebel is one of the most unfunny, untalented and simply plain revolting comedic actresses in Hollywood today (in my humble opinion of course) and every scene she was in made me want to claw my eyes out. Ben Still seems to be wishing more for the director’s chair, as I’ve noticed that his heart just doesn’t seem to be in his acting roles recently. Don’t get me wrong, he does well enough for the movie, but that sparkle and energy behind his eyes seems to have faded the last several years. I know he really feels at home behind the director’s spot, instead of in front of the camera, and it’s starting to really show as I felt he kind of coasted through this one. The real surprise here was Dan Stevens as Lancelot. Dan is an upcoming star that is REALLY surprising me with the roles he’s doing. I loved him in “The Guest” and he was great in his small role in “A Walk Amongst the Tombstones” and he shows no signs of slowing down in the role of the goofy, arrogant knight here. His scene with Hugh Jackman and Alice eve on the set of “Camelot” was priceless and really makes me want to see more of the young actor.
Rated PG for mild action, some rude humor and brief language
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=40226[/img]Fox’s 1.85:1 AVC encoded transfer is a really good transfer that ALMOST is a 4.5/5, if not for a weird set of artifacting. The image sparkles with the digital photography and looks pristine and crystal clear for the most part. Detail is exceptional with the fine stitching on clothing and curves and corners of the beautiful museum looking photo realistic. Colors are strong and natural with a yellowish color grading that really shows up in the interior shots. Now, that would have been near perfect if not for the fact that there is some yellowish artifacting going on in flesh tones, especially in some facial close-ups. I’ve seen this before in other digitally shot films, but usually only in still frames and the like. This shows up in motion and is actually noticeable, usually only in your peripheral vision, but it’s noticeable enough that I had to mark it down just a tad. Black levels are excellent throughout and show fantastic shadow detail. Had it not been for that yellow splotching that showed up, I would have said that it’s near perfect.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=40234[/img]The 7.1 DTS-HD MA lossless track that Fox has put on the disc is a complete showstopper. It rocks the house from beginning to end with a solidly aggressive feel and a wide field of immersion in every scene. The dialog is perfect as can be with excellent vocal clarity and some excellent use of panning across the front sound stage. The British Museum is filled with all sorts of ambient noises, from creaking bones, to the crash of a giant Asian snake monster ripping away at stone pillars around them. Little sounds are extremely detailed and add an eerie sense of realism to the track, which made me look over my shoulder as I heard a sound coming from my surrounds that felt like it was IN the room with me. LFE is strong and POWERFUL, filling the room with gut wrenching sequence of bass that pound you in your chest and cause the hairs on the back of your neck to raise up. As Mary Poppins would say, “Practically perfect in every way”.
• Improv, Absurdity and Cracking Up - The Comedy of "Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb"
• Deleted and Extended Scenes
• The Theory of Relativity
• Becoming Laaa
• A Day in the Afterlife
• The Home of History: Behind the Scenes at The British Museum
• Fight at the Museum
• Creating the Visual Effects
• Audio Commentary by Shawn Levy
“Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb” is a worthy successor to the last two films and while it isn’t by any means perfect, it’s light and fluffy fun that works as decent family entertainment. Some of the humor is undercut by the cheesy writing, but I had a good enough time with the movie. The audio and video are excellent and the set has a REALLY good array of extras, which is very surprising considering how lackluster the extras are on modern discs. Definitely recommended as a fun little rental.
Starring: Ben Stiller, Robin Williams, Dan Stevens
Directed by: Shawn Levy
Written by: David Guion, Michael Handelman
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 7.1, French, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Runtime: 98 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: March 10th 2015
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