Night At The Museum: Secret Of The Tomb - Blu-ray Review

'Aside from a few well executed moments here and there, the new location of the British Museum is for the most part squandered'.

Since its inception close to a decade ago, the Night At The Museum series has always based itself candidly and undemandingly within the realm of family-oriented cinema in a way that feels somewhat quaint for a 21st Century franchise. What that means in reality is that whilst the first two instalments never managed to garner a great deal of critical acclaim, both managed to win over the public and achieve considerable success at the box office.

Second sequel Night At The Museum: Secret Of The Tomb in many ways attempts to continue this trend, and certainly manages to do so in some ways at least. The stellar returning cast fit comfortably into their now well-worn roles, making for easy viewing but never drawing any particularly memorable performances from anyone involved. New addition Sir Lancelot (Dan Stevens) is good fun, fitting into the tone and spirit of the franchise well. Cameo appearances from Dick Van Dyke, Mickey Rooney and Bill Cobbs - reprising their roles from the first film after sitting the second out - are welcome but not overdone, and a few other guest appearances throughout also work well and deliver some of Secret Of The Tomb's most successful moments.

For every element that returning director Shawn Levy gets right here, however, there is generally at least one more that falls flat. Rebel Wilson as "wacky" British Museum security guard Tilly grates from her first moment on screen to her last. A running gag about Larry's (Ben Stiller) resemblance to neanderthal waxwork Laa (also Stiller) also feels stale from the start and continues to provide painfully tired attempts at comedy at regular intervals throughout the film. There is also more reliance here on crude humour than has been seen in previous Night At The Museum films, which not only saps yet more of the comedy from proceedings but also feels decidedly lazy on the part of screenwriters David Guion and Michael Handelman.

What resigns Secret Of The Tomb to being more failure than success is its lack of inspiration. Despite the promise of an Indiana Jones-esque opening sequence, the story feels woefully pedestrian, retreading several familiar steps seen in the first sequel but in a less entertaining fashion. Aside from a few well executed moments here and there, the new location of the British Museum is for the most part squandered, as is the wider setting of London. A subplot involving Larry struggling to cope with his now adolescent son Nicky (Skyler Gisondo) becoming more independent could be lifted from any run-of-the-mill TV sitcom and never takes hold. Ultimately, whilst there are fantasy-fuelled moments here that fans of the franchise will undoubtedly enjoy, this third film - purportedly the final entry in the series at the time of writing - must sadly be considered the weakest of the trilogy.

Night At The Museum: Secret Of The Tomb is released on UK Blu-ray and DVD on Monday 13th April 2015.

By Ben Broadribb. Ben is a regular contributor to Film Intel, having previously written at Some Like It Hot Fuzz. He is normally seen in the wild wearing t-shirts containing obscure film references. He is a geek, often unashamedly so. He's also on and Twitter.

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