Title :Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb (2014)
Release : 8 January 2014
Country:USA | UK
Runtime: 1h 38min
Genre :Adventure, Comedy, Family
Stars :Ben Stiller, Robin Williams, Owen Wilson
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Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb review
The “Night” films haven’t a lot endeared themselves to intellectual critics — amongst those that’ve even bothered to write down about them — nevertheless it’s straightforward to grasp the favored attraction of the franchise ($987 million worldwide and counting), which has cannily married state-of-the-art particular results to a high-concept premise (loosely tailored from Croatian creator Milan Trenc’s 1993 youngsters’s e-book) situated midway between “Ghostbusters” and “Invoice and Ted’s Wonderful Journey.” On the identical time, the movies — particularly the 2006 authentic (scripted by “Reno 911” alums Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant) — have entertained a slyly subversive commentary on Individuals and their relationship to historical past.
Within the first movie, the AMNH was within the midst of declining attendance and finances cuts, till phrase received out in regards to the establishment’s enchanted nighttime particular results — the Disneyfication of historical past, if you’ll — and features fashioned across the block. And whereas he was the nominal hero of the piece, Stiller’s Larry Daley was initially depicted as one thing of an ignoramus who mistook Christopher Columbus for Galileo and Sacagawea for a deaf-mute.
It appeared fascinating that such an august establishment would enable itself (and its public) to be thusly depicted in a significant Hollywood film — besides that, in an equally fascinating convergence of life and artwork, the film sparked a 20 p.c uptick in real-life museum attendance, together with a brand new nighttime sleepover program that continues to at the present time. That satiric edge was dulled solely barely within the 2009 sequel, “Battle of the Smithsonian,” as a still-beleaguered AMNH willingly divested itself of a few of its venerable reveals to make room for high-tech holographic avatars supposedly extra interesting to the smartphone era (an all-too-believable depiction of how calcified arts-administration varieties are inclined to suppose). So it’s unsurprising that “Secret of the Tomb” brings issues full circle by suggesting, gently however persistently, that the true magic of historical past wants no hocus-pocus accoutrements.
The trail to such enlightenment is paved with 90-odd minutes of CGI-enhanced slapstick mayhem, beginning with a black-tie dinner from hell — a gala reopening of the Hayden Planetarium throughout which the museum’s lauded “animatronics” (as the general public believes them to be) go haywire, pitting Manhattan’s philanthropic elite in opposition to a rampaging T-Rex and Attila the Hun (Patrick Gallagher). One thing is amiss, it appears, with the gilded Pill of Akmenrah, the traditional Egyptian relic answerable for the museum’s mysterious powers (right here seen being excavated throughout a 1930s archeological dig in a lavish, Indiana Jones-style flashback). Fixing the thriller entails making a visit to the British Museum, house of Akmenrah’s dad and mom, Merenkahre (Ben Kingsley) and Shepseheret (Anjali Jay). (What the p.c. anti-“Exodus” brigade will make of the truth that the British-Indian Kingsley, forged as an Israelite elder in that film, performs a pharaoh right here is anybody’s guess.)
After all, a brand new museum means a raft of different new characters, the standouts being “Downton Abbey” alum Dan Stevens as a vainglorious Sir Lancelot, and Insurgent Wilson (clearly constrained by the film’s PG ranking) because the BM’s sex-starved night guard. Largely, although, “Secret of the Tomb” serves as a reunion of outdated associates, just like the Lilliputian-sized cowboy Jedediah (Owen Wilson) and Roman basic Octavius (Steve Coogan), who discover themselves deposited in a scale-model Pompeii (Coogan’s second go to to the volcanic web site this yr, after “The Journey to Italy”); and single dad Larry’s solely little one, Nick (Skyler Gisondo, changing Jake Cherry), now a moody teen with desires of changing into an EDM DJ in Ibiza.
And if the “Evening on the Museum” films are undeniably the form of work an actor like Coogan takes in order that he can afford to make Michael Winterbottom films — or, in Stiller’s case, work with Noah Baumbach — the actors nonetheless conjure a heat, infectious esprit de corps. Stiller specifically will get to stretch his comedian muscular tissues this time by additionally enjoying Laaa, the most recent addition to the museum’s group of fire-questing Neanderthals, who acknowledges in Larry a shared genetic connection (the challenges of parenthood being one other of the franchise’s operating themes).
Levy retains the London scenes shifting at a breezy clip, particularly as soon as Lancelot, satisfied that the pill is definitely his coveted Holy Grail, absconds into the night time … and onto the stage of a West Finish revival of Lerner and Loewe’s “Camelot.” However as earlier than, the film’s coronary heart of avuncular knowledge is Teddy Roosevelt, performed grandly by Williams, who couldn’t have recognized this could be one in every of his final performances, but provides the movie an undeniably elegiac contact as noble Teddy, diminished by the pill’s waning energy, watches his personal extremities flip again into ineffective wax. Lastly, Levy and the writers (David Guion, Michael Handelman and Mark Friedman) discover an out that’s directly candy and sorrowful, a closing of the door whereas nonetheless leaving it open only a crack, and an altogether satisfying finish to a sequence that has been vastly extra entertaining than it had any cause to be.
“Tomb” is stuffed with nifty visible gags, one of the best of which is a three-way duel set inside M.C. Escher’s physics-defying lithograph “Relativity” (a nod to the delirious museum chase from Joe Dante’s “Looney Tunes: Again in Motion”). Manufacturing values are usually topnotch, particularly the work of returning d.p. Guillermo Navarro, who bathes the London scenes in a radiant blue moonlight, and VFX supervisor Erik Nash’s Oscar-shortlisted results, which obtain a uncommon seamlessness of sensible and computer-generated parts.