“Why don't you take a picture, it'll last longer!”
Nine years after Shawn Levy first directed Night at the Museum, he brings us the third and final installment of the franchise. Who would’ve thought that the film would be so successful at the box office to invest in two more sequels? Critics certainly didn’t because the film was never warmly received. It was an interesting premise and had a charming cast, but you’d think that the magic had run off by now. I wasn’t a fan of the franchise, but I still was entertained by some of the performances and the same can be said about this third film. It has its charming moments, but there are more misses than hits here with the gags. The formula is repeated once again, but one of the positive elements in Night at the Museum is the introduction of Dan Stevens (from The Guest) as Lancelot. He is the funniest character in the film, although he plays sort of the same character as Buzz Lightyear in Toy Story. He thinks he is real and the gags center on that. It is recycled material, but Stevens is funny and makes it work. The other new addition is Rebel Wilson who plays a guard at a British museum, but her character doesn’t work. She plays her usual self and the jokes fall flat here. Apart from the lead performance from Ben Stiller and the addition of Lancelot, other positive things about this sequel are the returning characters: Jedediah (Owen Wilson) and Octavius (Steve Coogan) who are perhaps my favorite of the franchise, and the cameos from Dick Van Dyke, Mickey Rooney, and Bill Cobbs who return from the first film. Of course the most emotional and engaging scenes are the ones that feature Teddy Roosevelt. It’s the opportunity to see Robin Williams in his final feature film. Roosevelt isn’t among his best characters, but it was still emotional to see him one last time and get a chance to say good-bye to one of my favorite comedians of all time.
The Night of the Museum franchise is family friendly and probably one of the films most families will get together to watch during the Holidays. It is entertaining and kids will enjoy it. There is nothing fresh about this sequel, but I don’t think parents will mind. Shawn Levy has made a career of directing these light comedies and his films are mostly average (my favorite of his is Real Steel and that is probably how they got Hugh Jackman to do a cameo for this sequel). There are funny moments, but this isn’t one of those comedies that is worth rewatching because the material is recycled. It is fun for a one time watch because of the cast involved, but I don’t think audiences will find it funny on a second viewing. There is not much more to add about this film, if you were a fan of the previous two films you will probably end up loving this, but if not it really is more of the same.