The fascination with this comedy/adventure franchise has always eluded me, yet it has continued to be successful, so much so that, apparently a third entry was required in Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb. The third film retains all of the now familiar traits and characters from the past endeavors, including Ben Stiller as the perennially annoyed museum nightwatchman Larry Daley and director Shawn Levy (This is Where I leave You) (who helmed both previous films) behind the lens.
The basic story sticks very close to the two earlier efforts with little deviation. Larry Daley discovers that the magical tablet that brings his motley crew of museum exhibits to life every night after sundown is losing its mojo, so he must travel to London’s British Museum to find out from Ahkmenrah’s (Rami Malek) father Merenkahre (Ben Kinglsey) how to fix it. Along for the ride are Larry’s now rebellious son Nick (Skyler Gisondo), Teddy Roosevelt (Robin Williams), Dexter the mischievous monkey, Jebediah the diminutive cowboy figurine (Owen Wilson), his companion, Roman soldier Octavius (Steve Coogan), the lovely Native American girl Sacajawea (Mizuo Peck), and Attila the Hun (Patrick Gallagher). At the British Museum, Larry finds a whole new group of exhibits come to life, including Sir Lancelot (Dan Stevens) and a snake demon. Rebel Wilson joins the cast as Larry’s counterpart at the British Museum, and a rather daft one at that.
The adventure follows the same pattern as always. Things come to life, Larry and his companions face peril, things spill out onto the streets, and some of the CGI work is inexplicably dubious given the advancements in technology these days. Still, the film’s consistent energy and underlying comedic sensibility will keep families entertained, especially the young ones with short attention spans.
The most poignant moment for the film, however, will come at the end when Larry finally says goodbye to those whom he finally realizes have become his friends over the years. Given the recent passing of Robin Williams, it’s difficult not to read too much into the scene and the lines that pass between Stiller and Williams.
We might one day see Night in the Museum: Secret of the Tomb released on 4K Blu-ray given that it was shot on the Red Epic Dragon in 5K and 6K and mastered in 4K and brought to Blu-ray in a 1080p AVC encodement. Given its provenance, it looks not surprisingly, exceptional on Blu-ray, with minimal video noise, obsidian black levels and strong contrasts. Detail is crisp, flesh tones are natural and we can make out lots of textural information in the elaborate costumes of the numerous historical figures.
This film lends itself well to the English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 (48kHz/24-bit) mix that is the default audio option on this Blu-ray. Coming through with fine balance and no instances of the dialogue ever dropping below the onslaught of sound effects, we get solid effects in the surrounds, lots of atmospherics, and deep, extended low end with bright, airy highs.
The release is packed with extras, including deleted and extended scenes and some improv with this group of great comedians that is not to be missed.
- iTunes Digital HD Digital Copy & Digital HD UltraViolet
- Audio Commentary by Shawn Levy
- Deleted/Extended Scenes (1.85:1; 1080p/24; 00:14:13)
- Improv, Absurdity, and Cracking Up – The Comedy of A Night at the Museum Secret of the Tomb (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:08:05)
- The Theory of Relativity (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:12:09)
- Becoming LAAA (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:07:24)
- A Day in the Afterlife (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:16:26)
- The Home of History: Behind the Scenes of the British Museum (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:21:24)
- Fight at the Museum (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:06:22)
- Creating the Visual Effects (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:03:10)
- Gallery (1080p/24):
- Theatrical Trailers (1.85:1; 1080p/24;00:04:49)
The Definitive Word
Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb ultimately offers nothing new. It’s a paint by numbers copy of the two earlier films with only some minor tweaks to the canvas. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t play well as a family adventure, it’s just nothing groundbreaking.
Additional Screen Captures
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