Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb - The end of the magic - 2.5 stars

The magic is running out on the tablet of Ahkmenrah, but has the magic run out on Larry and his friends from Night at the Museum? 

Walking into the cinema...
The first film was a magical and a surprisingly endearing experience. Night at the Museum presented a fresh concept that worked within this ensemble of characters. In the second outing to Washington DC, the magic diminished, but can they recapture the magic in this London adventure? 

Overall rating: 2.5 stars
Cinematic value: 2 stars        Family value: 3 stars 

     The success of the Museum of Natural History in New York and this film  series has come to rely on the magic that comes about every night. During a special fundraising event, things go terribly wrong and the much beloved characters of the museum turn on Larry Daly (Ben Stiller)

and the event's audience. After all of the years of coming to life in the museum, the magic tablet has begun to corrode and the magical effects are beginning to fade. The urgency of fixing the problem escalates as the museum characters continue to turn back into their wax-like state. The historical solution takes Larry and company across the Atlantic to London. In the original expedition that brought Ahkmenrah () to New York, his parent's sarcophaguses were sent to London. Through a series of events, Larry and crew are sent to London to find the solution to the tablet's problem. Pharaoh Merenkahre () holds the answers to the fate of the tablet and the museums. Larry has to work through the London museum and the reaction of the artifacts and displays as they come to life for the first time in England. Through this international adventure, Larry has to come to terms with the eventual changes and conclusion to the the magic of the the tablet, this chapter of his life and the series. 
     The Night at the Museum series has presented another successful run for the director of the Pink Panther and Cheaper by the Dozen series, . The original Night at the Museum story was rich with fresh ideas and humorous situations, but as the magic fades from the tablet so does the fresh ideas for this series. Even with new characters and  the international setting of this film the gags have become predictable and stale. Ben Stiller has made a career out of his dead pan comedic style, but during this instalment he comes off bored with the role. The new setting has the potential to present new twists to the sleepy tale, but in the end leaves a 'been there, done that' feeling to the film. (Downton Abby) turn as Sir Lancelot was initially energetic and fun, but eventually lost its lustre as the story continued. Unfortunately, Levy turns to the boorish and tiresome  (Pitch Perfect), as Tilly the London night guard, to try to infuse new life into the film, but her style has also become predictable and boring. Sadly, when the best twist of the film are the inclusion of key cameos, you know that the series has run its course. Inevitably over the nine years of this film series the human characters have matured and their life situations have changed. The appeal of this film to the younger audience was the relationship between Larry and his son, Nick. The underlying issues of a father trying to connect with his young son, humanised the story's situations and connected people with the characters. In this version of the story, Nick (has grown up and is becoming an adult. The circumstances around Larry and Nick's relationship have changed over the years. This dynamic causes a disconnect with the younger audience members. Which leaves the direction missing it's target audience and lacking the relational magic of the first film. The film will appeal to the fans of the series, but like the story line, it shows that all things must come to an end. 
     During post-production of this film, Shawn Levy could not have predicted the tragic death of . Unlike the situation with Heath Ledger and The Dark Knight, Williams' performance was bittersweet to experience. Knowing that he was suffering through the beginning of Parkinson's disease and depression made many of the scenes uncomfortable. Also the farewell scenes were haunting and turned this endearing tale into a tragic reality. The story line and the situations outside of the the production caused an introspective experience that probably were not the intent of the film, but could lead to  discussions about death, world religions and God. This light-hearted story was dampened by the tragedies that surround the situations off the screen. The film should have finished with an endearing conclusion, but the film leaves you with the hope that the producers will see that the Night at the Museum storyline has run its course and it is time to let it go. 
Leaving the cinema...
In a season of remakes and sequels, Night in the Museum: Secret of the Tomb was benign and harmless. They were looking to restore the magic to the tablet throughout the film, but the magic has gone out of this series.  

Reel Dialogue: What are the bigger questions to consider from this film 
1. Is there life after death? (John 11:25, 1 Corinthians 15:51-57)
2. What value is there to a good relationship between fathers and sons? (Psalms 127:1-5, John 5:19)
3. What can sustain us through another Rebel Wilson performance? (Romans 12:12)

Written by Russell Matthews based on a five star rating system @ Russelling Reviews #russellingreviews