Night At The Museum: Secret Of The Tomb

Directed by Shawn Levy
Starring Ben Stiller, Robin Williams, Owen Wilson, Dan Stevens, Steve Coogan, Rebel Wilson, Ricky Gervais, Dick Van Dyke, Mickey Rooney & Ben Kingsley
In UK Cinemas December 19th, 2014
by Alice Sanders

I’m not ashamed to admit it: I adore the Night at the Museum franchise. I’m a comedy-loving Classicist so I may be slightly biased, but I cannot help but love any film where I get to laugh at both esoteric jokes about Pompeii, AND lolcats. Secret of the Tomb starts with a very Indiana Jones-esque tomb-raiding sequence, and immediately I was hooked. Indiana Jones is also a favourite of mine, and anything that has grand mystical overtones is also a winner. This bit sets up the plot of the whole film, but the truth is, there’s not much of a plot. At least, there’s not a very interesting or complicated over-arching plot. Don’t be put off though, that’s not what makes the film good anyway. The cast is made up of lots of excellent comic actors, who all play their roles as famous real or mythical characters from the past with relish, and this is where the joy is found. Ben Stiller plays the central character, Larry Daley, in all three of the films. He plays it well, he’s likeable and comically deadpan, his mannerism and demeanour joyously parodied by Dan Stevens as Sir Lancelot. Owen Wilson and Steve Coogan are my favourites as the miniature Jedediah and Octavius, who have developed a penchant for YouTube videos. Jedediah, philosophical as ever, watches a cat chase a laser light around the floor and remarks “it’s almost as elusive as human happiness”. Robin Williams is also brilliant as the wise and kind Teddy Roosevelt, and it cannot help but feel incredibly poignant when he remarks woefully to Larry “I’m turning back to wax”.

This time, the gang make a trip to The British Museum, in order that we all might behold the wonders of the animated Elgin Marbles on the big screen! It’s definitely worth the visual spectacle of seeing it on a big screen for this one thing alone, but there are several other museum-exhibits-come-alive that make it worth it too. My only other criticism of this film is its lack of female characters. In terms of the historical characters there’s Sacajawea who basically doesn’t speak, and an Egyptian Queen with very few lines. I don’t believe there aren’t any interesting females that could’ve been brought back from the dead. After all, in Night at the Museum 2 we had Amelia Earhart, full of moxie, played by Amy Adams. I’m pretty certain that this film wouldn’t pass the Bechdel test – I don’t even think there is a scene in which two female characters speak to each other! Aside from this glaring oversight, it is a really fun, enjoyable ride.

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