Movie Review: Night At The Museum: Secret of the Tomb

When Night At The Museum debuted 8 years ago, it rekindled the excitement and wonder of visiting museums in viewers. Upon its release, The American Museum of Natural History reported that it saw a 20% boost in visitors that year. Given the emotional premise of the last film, crowds can be expected to throng the cinemas across the New Year. 


The third and final installment of the franchise sees museum guard Larry Daley (Ben Stiller) travel to London with his companions to repair a magic tablet. Our heroes infiltrate the British Museum and meet up with a new host of lovable characters who aid (or try to foil) their plan of restoring the tablet to its former magical glory.

The star-studded cast returns with delightful additions as well as characters who pay homage to the previous movies. Returning fans will recognize the infamous 3 night guards, Cecil (Dick Van Dyke), Gus (Mickey Rooney) and Reginald (Bill Cobbs) from the first movie. The trio are reformed retirees who point Larry in the right direction.


Dan Steven’s from Downtown Abbey also trots onto the silver screen as the dashing knight, Sir Lancelot. Pitch Perfect’s Rebel Wilson has a fair share of screen time as a quirky night guard. Oh, Sir Ben Kingsley also makes the jump from slave elder in Exodus: Gods and Kings to Pharaoh himself in this story.


Stiller continues with his trend of deadpan humor here, but he’s quite obviously worn out from the role. Certain lines seem flat at times, and the weathered look in his eyes doesn’t correlate with the more lighthearted scenes in the film. Viewers can still expect moments of emotion especially when Stiller wears his heart on his sleeve in his interactions with the rest of the cast.

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Director Shawn Levy has definitely stuck to the film’s roots as we see the budding bromance between Jedediah (Owen Wilson) and Octavius (Steve Coogan) elevated to new heights of comical proportions whilst navigating the perils of the British museum.

Everyone’s favorite capuchin monkey, Dexter (Crystal the Monkey), also returns to slap and kiss his way into our hearts.

Night at the Museum

But perhaps the most memorable character in the film is Teddy Roosevelt, portrayed by the late Robin Williams. Williams has always owned the role as America’s founding father, providing words of wisdom and guidance to Larry since his formative years.

Seeing Williams here seems surreal and his lines seem to echo the beliefs of inspiration and hope that he’s had all his life, even beyond the big screen. Watching that impassioned final scene between Stiller and Williams will most certainly put a lump in anyone’s throat.


Visually, the movie hosts a cavalcade of computer-generated images and special effects. Constellations materialize before your eyes and mystical battles with Japanese snake demons and prehistoric giants ensue. This installment of the franchise also brings the added dynamics of paintings to life as a particular scene plays out across the iconic backdrop of M.C Escher’s Relativity.

Night At The Museum: Secret of the Tomb provides a fitting closure to the franchise and is adorable and tender in equal parts. It’s a story about growing up and letting go, knowing that even then, the magic never ends.

Rating: 3/5 stars


Release Date: December 25

Runtime: 98 minutes

Language: English

Censorship rating: PG

Genre: Adventure / Comedy

Director: Shawn Levy

Cast: Ben Stiller, Robin Williams, Owen Wilson, Steve Coogan, Ricky Gervais.

Photo Credits: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation