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MOVIE INFO

Director:
Shawn Levy
Cast:
Ben Stiller, Rebel Wilson, Owen Wilson, Steve Coogan, Robin Williams, Ben Kingsley, Ricky Gervais
Writing Credits:
David Guion & Michael Handelman

Synopsis:
Larry spans the globe, uniting favorite and new characters while embarking on an epic quest to save the magic before it is gone forever.

Box Office:
Budget
$127 million.
Opening Weekend
$17,100,520 on 3,785 screens.
Domestic Gross
$112,448,525.

MPAA:
Rated PG

DISC DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Audio:
English DTS-HD MA 7.1
English Descriptive Audio 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
None

Runtime: 97 min.
Price: $39.98
Release Date: 3/10/2015
Bonus:
• Audio Commentary with Director Shawn Levy
• 7 Deleted/Extended Scenes
• “Improv, Absurdity and Cracking Up – The Comedy of Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb” Featurette
• “The Theory of Relativity” Featurette
• “Becoming Laaa” Featurette
• “A Day in the Afterlife” Featurette
• “The Home of History: Behind the Scenes of the British Museum” Featurette
• “Fight at the Museum” Featurette
• “Creating the Visual Effects” Featurette
• Gallery
• Trailers and Previews
• DVD Copy


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


Night At The Museum: Secret of the Tomb [Blu-Ray] (2014)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (March 16, 2015)

Less than two and a half years passed between winter 2006’s Night at the Museum and spring 2009’s Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian. Rather than produce another sequel quickly, fans had to wait five and a half years to get late 2014’s Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb. Would this third – and final – chapter be worth the wait?

Tomb reintroduces us to Larry Daley (Ben Stiller), night security guard at New York’s Museum of Natural History. As established in the first two movies, the Egyptian Tablet of Ahkmenrah works magic that allows the establishment’s exhibits to come to life every evening.

This has made the museum a major success, but Tomb introduces a wrinkle. Corrosion causes the tablet to lose its powers, and Larry doesn’t know how to fix it.

However, Larry comes up with a possible solution. He consults with Ahkmenrah himself (Rami Malek) and learns that the pharaoh’s parents reside at the British Museum. Along with his son Nicky (Skyler Gisondo), Ahkmenrah and various exhibits like Theodore Roosevelt (Robin Williams) and Sacagawea (Mizuo Peck), Larry heads to London to find out how to preserve the magic that brings his pals to life.

Looking back on Smithsonian, I recalled it as something of a flop. The first film made $250 million in the US and nearly $600 million worldwide, which meant it became a massive hit. In my memory, the first sequel fell far short of those levels.

While Smithsonian didn’t come close to the first movie’s totals, it did better than I thought. Smithsonian took in $177 million US and $413 worldwide, so it clearly showed a decline from its predecessor, but it didn’t seem catastrophic.

Perhaps I remembered Smithsonian as a financial dud because I felt so unenthusiastic about the film itself. While I thought the first flick was a fun, amusing adventure, the initial sequel remained consistently bland and forgettable. I couldn’t call it a bad movie, but it seemed mediocre at best.

That makes me happy to report that Tomb manages to restoreluster to the franchise. Like the first movie, it never turns into anything I’d call exceptional, but it does provide a lot of charm and entertainment.

Perhaps expectations affected all involved. After the semi-surprise success of Museum, I suspect they felt more pressure when they made Smithsonian. It got a big “summer tentpole” release date and the anticipation that it would equal – if not surpass – the earnings of its predecessor.

When that didn’t happen, I figured the franchise would end, so the existence of Tomb came as a surprise. Again, Smithsonian wasn’t the commercial dud I remembered, but I do think it fell short of expectations, and that didn’t bode well for the series – especially after more than five years.

With less at theoretical stake, all involved with Tomb seem able to loosen up and have fun again. That’s the key to Tomb: unlike the sluggish, plodding Smithsonian, the movie gives us plenty of delightful moments.

A lot of the credit goes to the cast, as we get a nice array of actors here. Returning performers like Stiller, Williams, Steve Coogan, Owen Wilson, Ricky Gervais and Dick Van Dyke all do well, and Tomb throws in a few fine new folks. Rebel Wilson sticks with her tried and true, but she amuses, and Dan Stevens – best known for dramatic work on Downton Abbey - provides a deft comedic turn as Sir Lancelot; he surprises and delights as the arrogant knight.

Tomb also delivers a truly delicious cameo from a major star. I won’t ruin the fun, of course, but this appearance becomes a highlight, especially via the manner in which the performer becomes willing to mock prior glories.

This all becomes part of the film’s looseness. All three of the Museum flicks embrace wacky hijinks, but Tomb comes with more of an “anything goes” attitude than its predecessors. This suits it well, as it allows the movie to provide consistent laughs.

If I wanted to find a minor negative, it’d come from the movie’s lack of strong narrative. The plot exists for little reason other than to send the characters to London and motivate a bunch of comedy/action set pieces. Not much of the tale seems to make sense beyond its existence as this framework.

Given the entertainment that comes along for the ride, though, I don’t mind the generic nature of the story. With a fine cast and plenty of comedic moments, Tomb becomes a consistent pleasure that finishes the franchise in fine fashion.


The Blu-ray Grades: Picture A-/ Audio A-/ Bonus B

Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Expect strong visuals here.

At almost all times, sharpness seemed solid. The only minor softness resulted from effects shots; in particular, scenes with Ben Stiller in two roles could be a smidgen fuzzy. Otherwise, this was a tight, well-defined image. No issues with shimmering or jaggies occurred, and I saw no edge haloes or digital problems. Print flaws also failed to mar the presentation.

While Tomb opted for a standard teal and orange feel, those hues didn’t overwhelm. Even with those in the forefront, the movie still managed enough variety to provide satisfying colors. Blacks were tight and dark, and low-light shots displayed positive delineation. Everything here worked well.

In addition, the movie’s DTS-HD MA 7.1 soundtrack fired on all cylinders. With so much action, the soundscape boasted plenty of auditory excitement, and the mix exploited those opportunities well. Creatures and drama emanated from all the speakers and combined to create a lively, involving sense of place. All of this ensured a vivid sonic impression.

Audio quality satisfied. Music was rich and full, and speech sounded natural and concise. Effects provided accurate, dynamic elements without distortion. I felt pleased with this terrific soundtrack.

As we shift to the set’s extras, we open with an audio commentary from director Shawn Levy. He offers a running, screen-specific look at story/character areas, visual effects, cast and performances, sets and locations, music and audio, editing, deleted scenes, and basic trivia.

A veteran of many commentaries, I enjoy Levy’s chats. While he maintains a positive attitude and praises all involved, he never seems obsequious or disingenuous; he displays a likable enthusiasm that ensures he doesn’t just slather on the praise.

Levy also manages to tell us a ton about the production. He seems happy to reveal “secrets” and he digs into many good notes about all the relevant areas. Levy’s Tomb commentary becomes engaging and informative.

Seven Deleted/Extended Scenes fill a total of 14 minutes, 13 seconds. Much of the cut material falls under the umbrella of unnecessary explanation, mostly related to Dr. McPhee and the NYC Museum. Though they would’ve made the movie drag, they’re fun, largely due to Ricky Gervais, and they also expand Rachael Harris’s non-existent part as the museum’s chair into something a little meatier.

Though not billed as such, one of the scenes offers an alternate ending. It’s an interesting choice, and because it’s more subtle than the actual finale, I feel like I should prefer it. However, I don’t, as I think the existing ending feels more satisfying.

After this we locate a bunch of featurettes. Improv, Absurdity and Cracking Up – The Comedy of Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb runs eight minutes, five seconds and offers notes from Levy and actors Ben Stiller, Ricky Gervais, Owen Wilson, Steve Coogan, Dan Stevens, Rebel Wilson, Rami Malek, Patrick Gallagher and Mizuo Peck. We see various improvised moments from the shoot. Some of this devolves into praise for the talents of those involved, but we get a lot of fun alternate lines from the actors.

During the 12-minute, nine-second The Theory of Relativity, we hear from Levy, VFX supervisors Swen Gillberg and Erik Nash, executive producer/1st AD Josh McLaglen, editor Dean Zimmerman, 2nd AD Maria Battle-Campbell and stunt coordinator/2nd AD Brad Martin. The program examines the challenges involved with a scene that takes place in the world of MC Escher’s art. “Theory” offers a tight, informative overview of the various elements required here.

Stiller’s double-role comes to the fore in Becoming Laaa. During the seven-minute, 24-second piece, we locate details from Levy, Stiller, Wilson and screenwriters Michael Handleman and David Guion. We find out how those involved used movie magic to allow Stiller to play against himself. Like “Theory”, we learn a lot of nice notes, and I love the shots of Levy as he acts out parts against Stiller.

Next comes A Day in the Afterlife. In this 16-minute, 26-second show, we get comments from Levy, Stiller, Stevens, “Ahkmenrah” and “Craig the Mummy”. “Day” pretends that Ahkmenrah’s undead buddy “Craig” weaseled his way onto the shoot and proceeded to annoy everybody. Parts of it amuse, but it runs way too long.

One of the movie’s real-life locations takes center stage in The Home of History: Behind the Scenes of the British Museum. The featurette goes for 21 minutes, 24 seconds and involves Levy, Stiller, Stevens, British Museum Head of Security and Visitor Services David Bilson, British Museum Deputy Director Jonathan Williams, British Museum Ancient Egypt and Sudan Keeper Neal Spencer, British Museum Medieval Collections Curator Naomi Speakman, Briitish Museum Ming China Exhibition Curator Yu-Ping Luk, British Museum Ancient Greece Senior Curator Ian Jenkins, British Museum Enlightenment Gallery Manager Janet Larkin, British Museum South and Southeast Asian Collections Curator Richard Blurton, British Museum Oceania Curator Natasha McKinney, British Museum Department of Ancient Egypt and Sudan Assistant Keeper John Taylor, and actor Skyler Gisondo.

We get information on the British Museum, with an emphasis on ways the actual site connects to the movie. Though this occasionally feels like a promo, we mostly find a good collection of thoughts about the location.

Fight at the Museum lasts six minutes, 22 seconds and delivers details from Levy, Stevens, Martin, and Nash. As implied by the title, the short gives us notes about one of the movie’s fight sequences. It delivers another interesting piece.

Finally, we get the three-minute, 10-second Creating the Visual Effects. It lacks narration as it instead shows “before and after” shots that let us see how effects got added to the original photography. Some commentary would’ve been nice, but this still can be a nice glimpse at the stages involved.

Under Gallery, we get two subdomains. “Photos” shows 11 shots from the film, and “Pre-Vis” brings us 12 examples of concept art. The latter offers some interesting material, but “Photos” seems like a bore.

The disc opens with ads for Peanuts, The Penguins of Madagascar and Russell Madness. We also find two trailers for Tomb itself.

A second disc presents a DVD Copy of Tomb. It includes two of the deleted/extended scenes, the gallery, the “Comedy” featurette, the trailers and the previews. All of the other extras remain exclusive to the Blu-ray.

After a lackluster second film, the Night at the Museum franchise becomes fun again with the amusing Secret of the Tomb. The movie packs a lot of laughs and excitement to finish the series on a high note. The Blu-ray brings us excellent picture and audio as well as an informative set of supplements. Tomb might be my favorite of the three Night at the Museum films, as it offers a delightful ride.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.75 Stars Number of Votes: 4
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Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main