The Student News Site of Taipei American School




The magic ends for Night at the Museum


The one thing – perhaps the only thing – this movie gets right is the last slide at the end, which read: “For Robin Williams — the magic never ends”.
Marking the end of the Night at the Museum franchise, Secret of the Tomb takes us to London’s British Museum after the exhibits at New York’s Natural History Museum start behaving strangely due to the corrosion of the magical tablet that allows them to come to life. Taking the magical tablet to London (along with some franchise favorites such as Teddy Roosevelt, the capuchin monkey Dexter, and pharaoh Akmenrah), Larry (Ben Stiller) and his gang of exhibits see the British Museum come to life for the first time in their quest to seek answers to the secret of the tablet from the parents of Ahkmenrah, whose excavation was depicted at the beginning of the movie.
While I was expecting the grand finale to the series to end with a bang, it ended with a whimper. I guess there were enough one liners and gags thrown at us to ensure a funny journey, the characters and especially the plot, felt so hackneyed. In fact, just read the summary above and skip this movie entirely.
However, as I mentioned before, the one thing the movie does do right is goodbyes. If you want a proper farewell to your favourite characters, then go right ahead and buy a ticket. Secret of the Tomb had many more emotional scenes than I anticipated, being the final physical appearance of Robin Williams (he voices Dennis the dog in Absolutely Anything which comes out over the summer) after the comedian lost his battle to depression in August last year.
A wax figure of the 26th president of the United States played by Williams, Teddy Roosevelt was a fatherly figure and mentor to both Larry and the other exhibits. “You have to let us go,” he says to Larry, after the gang decides that both the tablet and Ahkmenrah belong to London, alongside his parents, which means that the exhibits in the New York Museum of Natural History will now always remain in their lifeless state. What was the so frustrating for me to watch was that this ending basically makes this entire movie a wild goose chase. Larry made promises to Dr. McPhee about bringing the magic back to the museum he cared so deeply about, but that promise was never be fulfilled because he gave the magic away.
In Teddy Roosevelt’s final scenes, I teared up. Not just because Williams passed away six months ago, but also because the filmmakers allowed the scene to capture the last moments of the actor. It seemed pretty clear to me that it was Williams himself that was standing right there on the big screens instead of Teddy Roosevelt, which only made it more emotional. His final words on screen? “Smile my boy. It’s sunrise,” as he mounts his horse and prepares to turn back into wax, presumably never to come alive again.
Secret of the Tomb marks the end to the Night at the Museum trilogy, perhaps not with a big bang like I had expected, but it taught me so much more about the death of Robin Williams — that even though Williams is no longer with us, his magic never ends. We have immortalised him. We will always be able to see his smile and enjoy his entertainment everytime we watch him on screens.
The movie might have been a big flop in many ways, from the plot that consistently fell flat on its face to the ending that contradicted itself, but I guess I’ll give it credit for trying to engage the audience with its one-liners and of course, for capturing the final moments of Robin Williams perfectly. I give the film two out of five stars.

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