Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb Blu-ray Review
The fact that 2006’s NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM has spawned to sequels is mind boggling to me. I could see some direct to video sequels or maybe a cartoon spinoff, but two theatrical releases and two successful ones at that is surprising. If you show up for the third Museum film, then you should know what you’re getting into by now. With that in mind, there’s nothing about this film that separates it from the first two and whether or not that’s a good thing I guess depends on your opinion of the franchise.
This time around, Larry (Stiller) has to find a way to fix the Tablet of Ahkmenrah, which has a strange, green residue growing on it that is slowly sucking its power out. To figure out the problem, Larry hatches an elaborate scheme to take the tablet to London, where he can seek out Ahkmenrah’s father, the Pharoah. Hijinks ensue, of course and our familiar friends find a way to come to London with Larry, including Eisenhower (Williams), Jebediah (Wilson), Octavius (Coogan) and Sacajawea (Mizuo Peck). They also end up taking on a new member during their quest, Sir Lancelot (Dan Stevens). By moving the story to London, the plot is conveniently set up to open up a new series of heroes and adventures and although I wouldn’t say it breathed new life into the franchise, it was at least a puff of fresh air. I did have to laugh at the overall plotline since it seemed screenwriters David Guion and Michael Handelman had a creative way to get the characters to London, but really had no idea how to actually solve the problem of the corroding tablet. As it turns out, they settled on “expose the tablet to moonlight”, which just seems lazy.
But these films aren’t known for their intricate plots. The idea is to take familiar historical characters and put them in modern day situations and let the hilarity ensue. We get more of that here, with Sir Lancelot and a caveman Larry providing most of that type of humor. They offer a few chuckle-worthy moments, but the shtick has been done and it feels a little old by now. They also added Rebel Wilson, but she was underused and wasn’t asked to do anything more than recite a few lines in her familiar character. I have to keep reminding myself that this is the third film in a trilogy that shouldn’t have lasted more than 90 minutes, so it’s no wonder the jokes seemed to dry up this time around.
I’m not the biggest fan of the Night at the Museum movies, but the third one isn’t really better or worse than the previous two. Fans of the first two should get plenty out of the third one and to its credit, the film does seem to nicely wrap everything up, making another sequel with Ben Stiller in the lead less likely. If you already have the first two, then there’s no reason not to add the third to your collection.
Video: NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM: SECRET OF THE TOMB isn’t spectacular on Blu-ray, but it’s efficient. It’s a dark movie and I would have liked the colors to pop a little more than they did.
Audio: The audio was fine.
Commentary with Shawn Levy: Levy gives a somewhat entertaining commentary, talking about the inspiration for the move to London and how they shot several of the more complicated scenes.
Deleted Scenes (14:12): A lot of these are actually extended scenes and none of them really add anything to the film.
Improv, Absurdity and Cracking UP (8:03): Eight minutes of the cast and crew laughing on set and talking about how much fun they had.
The Theory of Relativity (12:07): There’s a scene in the film where Larry and Lancelot get stuck in an MC Escher drawing. This featurette looks at how that was done.
Becoming Laaa (7:22): Laaa is the name of the Caveman Larry in the film and this featurette looks at how Ben Stiller transformed into Laaa.
A Day in the Afterlife (16:28): This is a featurette clearly geared towards young kids, focusing on how they brought the characters back for a third film.
The Home of History (21:23): This focuses on the British Museum used in the film.
Fight at the Museum (6:20): Another short featurette dedicated to a set piece.
Creating the Visual Effects (3:11): the film was nominated for an Academy Award for visual effects and we only get a 3 minute featurette that talks about them.