Night at the Museum is a franchise I’ve had some fun with in the past. The first installment was a pleasant surprise, which had a lot of wonderful ideas, even if it was lacking in some other areas. I found the scenes where the characters were simply walking around the museum were by far the most interesting. The sequel, Battle of the Smithsonian, was along the same lines, with some interesting new ideas introduced, but with the same problems with plot holes, and some of the humour not quite hitting the mark. Secret of the Tomb carries on in almost the exact same vein, although I have no hesitation in saying that this is the best of the three.
The third installment in this franchise moves the action over to the British Museum in London. As with the first two films, some of the best scenes are where the characters are simply walking through the halls of the museum. A personal favourite of mine was when the cast first arrive, and they go through a room filled with broken Greek statues that are crawling around on the floor, a surprisingly creepy moment for a film like this.
This film does however have some of the same flaws that were seen in the first two Night at the Museum films. Quite a lot of the jokes simply aren’t funny. For every belly laugh there are ten moments that fall flat. There are also some huge flaws in the plot of this film, which I won’t go into as it would spoil certain moments, but I imagine most people would pick up on them. The films two biggest additions, Rebel Wilson as Tilly the security guard, and Dan Stevens as Sir Lancelot don’t just fail to add anything, but slow down the action in what is otherwise a frantic, fast paced film.
Having said that, the old cast are all on fine form. Owen Wilson and Steve Coogan return as Jedediah the cowboy and Octavius the Roman soldier, and they provide a lot of the films biggest laughs. Crystal the Monkey is also back, and her performance is better than a lot of the films other stars, providing not only some good physical humour, but some surprisingly touching moments. The real stand out performance, however, comes from Robin Williams. It might well be because of what happened in his personal life, but I have no shame in admitting that one of his scenes made me genuinely emotional.
That scene was one of a few that provided a perfect full stop to what should be, and hopefully will be the end of this franchise. Unfortunately, the film carried on for another ten minutes, and what happened in those ten minutes pretty much negated every emotional scene in favour of a more Hollywood ending.
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