'Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb/
Director: Shawn Levy
Cast: Ben Stiller, Robin Williams, Owen Wilson, Steve Coogan, Ricky Gervais
When in doubt, set up a franchise. And this idea — if you may — has worked miraculously well in Hollywood. Besides, there's a legion of never-ending franchises, be it the good ol' 'Star Wars' or the more recent 'Spider-Man' or the most recent, 'The Hunger Games'. What works in the producers' favour is the thumping fact that these are commercially successful films. Seldom do we across a sequel that isn't beating the box-office figures its predecessor had previously set. But there can be a problem too. Many a time, in their haste to stick to the franchise template, the filmmakers pay little attention to the novelty factor. As a result, the effort comes across as drab pretending to be cool. The third instalment of 'Night at the Museum' ('NATM') undoubtedly falls under such category.
Set in the predictable premise of a museum where historical figures as well as non-human creatures nocturnally come to life, the storyline revolves around a tablet from an Egyptian tomb. What follows next — as has been the case so far — is a wild chase against time. Of course, there are some fleeting seconds of surprise but it'd have been better if the writers behind this endeavour paid more attention to unexplored territories. To make matters worse, jarring jokes are cracked and sorry attempts are made to keep you from yawning, if not snoring.
Ironically, the story commences with a promise of never-seen-before spectacle. Due to some unavoidable curse from the past, that doesn't happen. The unexpected disaster leads to the main plot. It's almost interesting to witness how the museum is bound to lose its gift. However, the ensuing journey has way too many boring bumps, lousy exchanges of dialogues and lack of finesse in some scenes with special effects. In fact, the monkey in the movie is more convincing than the CGI-enabled sequences. We had certainly seen better in the last two parts of 'NATM'.
In terms of onscreen performance, Ben Stiller continues to be steady in his double role as the protagonist as well as a Neanderthal. Turns out the same could be said of his fellow cast members because the film doesn't harp much on acting skills. Maybe that's why you don't feel the significance of watching Robin Williams work in his last movie. Had they cut down on the clichés and the toilet humour and what not, it'd have been more worthy effort. At the end of the show, 'Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb' is more of a run and barely anybody is stationary.
In related news, Ben Stiller recently went on record saying this is his last venture with 'NATM'. Maybe there's a hidden message why he decided to do so right after this film.