Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb

Posted on December 18, 2014 at 5:23 pm

Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for mild action, some rude humor and brief language
Profanity: Brief schoolyard language
Alcohol/ Drugs: None
Violence/ Scariness: Comic peril and violence
Diversity Issues: None
Date Released to Theaters: December 19, 2014
Date Released to DVD: March 9, 2015 ASIN: B00SSI2PKO
Copyright 2014 Twentieth Century Fox
Copyright 2014 Twentieth Century Fox

Fans of the first two “Night at the Museum” films will like this one because it is pretty much the same film. They go to another museum, this time the British Museum in London, and the exhibits come to life and create chaos. The good news: it’s a zippy 90 minutes. The bad news: way too many of those minutes involve a peeing monkey.

The most popular characters from the earlier films are back, including the late Robin Williams in an especially poignant role as Teddy Roosevelt and the late Mickey Rooney as a retired museum guard. Dick Van Dyke almost steals the movie in a brief appearance showing that he can still get down and boogie.

But once again the focus of the story is on Larry (Ben Stiller), museum security guard turned wrangler of the exhibit figures when they come to life at night. The museum director, Dr. McPhee (Ricky Gervais), thinks that Larry has created some sort of special effects, but when a fundraising gala is held at the museum after dark so the guests can marvel at what they think is some kind of animatronic display things go very wrong. The ancient Egyptian tablet that creates the magic is becoming corroded and the result is like a corrupted computer code. The exhibits go wild, and the director is fired.

Young Egyptian King Ahkmenrah (the terrific Rami Malek) says that the only way to figure out what is wrong with the tablet is to take it to his parents, who are exhibits at the British Museum. With Dr. McPhee’s help, Larry brings Ahkmenrah to the British Museum for “conservation.” Once he arrives, he finds that there are some stowaways — Teddy Roosevelt and Sacajawea (the lovely, elegant Mizuo Peck), a prehistoric man who looks very familiar (Stiller again as Laa), Dexter the monkey, and our fierce little toy soldier-sized friends Octavius the Roman centaurian (Steve Coogan) and Jedediah the cowboy (Owen Wilson).

Ahkmenrah is reunited with his parents (Sir Ben Kingsley and Anjali Jay) who explain the problem — like an iPhone, the tablet need to be recharged. All it needs is moonlight, but getting it there in time is a problem, especially when it is stolen by a very confused Sir Lancelot (“Downton Abbey’s” Dan Stevens). Lots of hijinks and slapstick stunts ensue, with a highlight being entry into a vertiginous M.C. Escher drawing.

There are Muppet Movie’s worth of guest appearances, including Rebel Wilson riffing as a security guard. It zips along briskly, not wasting any time in this episode on any kind of love interest for Larry, though there is a dreary detour about Larry’s high school senior son (Skyler Gisondo taking over for Nick Daley) not wanting to go to college. We’re there for the stunts and special effects, and mostly for the dream that maybe some night at some museum, it does all come to life.

Parents should know that this movie includes comic/fantasy peril. Some characters appear to be hurt but are fine. There is also potty humor and brief schoolyard language.

Family discussion: Do you agree with Nick’s decision about the tablet? Which museum would you like to see come to life and why?

If you like this, try: the first two movies — and read about the real legends and histories of Theodore Roosevelt, Camelot, Sacajawea, ancient Egypt, and M.C. Escher.  And visit your local museum to imagine your own adventures.

Related Tags:


Action/Adventure Comedy DVD/Blu-Ray Pick of the Week Fantasy Series/Sequel