Rendering possibilities fused with digital wizardy in “Night at The Museum: Secret of the Tomb”
Walk into the world’s most magnificent museums in the third instalment of the global hit franchise Night At the Museum that have captivated audience round the globe starring Ben Stiller. The latest “Night At The Museum: Secret of the Tomb” completes the trilogy that started some eight years ago and now, all of its beloved and new characters come alive for their greatest adventure yet.
Ben Stiller reprises his role as Larry Daley, the museum’s night security guard. This time, trouble simmers anew at New York’s Museum of Natural History. The iconic figures from the past, which come to life each night, are malfunctioning and wreaking havoc. The magic has gone awry. Larry, to the rescue, has to take urgent action to save the lives of his historic friends. That means embarking on a trip to the British Museum in London.
As the sun goes down on New York and the legendary museum exhibits turn into living, breathing people and creatures as always. But they are not acting normally. Larry Daley (Stiller) is shocked to find that his friends Teddy Roosevelt, (Robin Williams) the miniature Jedediah (Owen Wilson) and the two inch tall Roman centurion Octavius, (Steve Coogan) are on the rampage, fighting and creating pandemonium. They are all out of control. Larry discovers that the ancient Egyptian tablet, which brings them to life each night, is losing its special powers. He sets off across the Atlantic to London with his son Nick, (Skyler Gisondo) and the rest of the familiar crew. They are hoping that when they arrive at the British Museum, the great Pharaoh Of The Nile (Ben Kingsley), father of Pharaoh Ahkmenrah (Rami Malek), will be able to solve the problem and reboot the tablet.
Also returning is Patrick Gallagher as Attila The Hun and Sacajawea (Mizuo Peck). Mickey Rooney (in his final role), Dick Van Dyke and Bill Cobbs are back as the retired security guards, and Dexter the Capuchin monkey is up to mischief again. There are some wonderful new characters, including the suave, debonair and very funny Sir Lancelot, (Dan Stevens). Rebel Wilson stars as Tilly, the British Museum’s security guard who falls for the primitively rugged charms of Laaa, a Neanderthal man bearing an uncanny resemblance to Ben Stiller.
Director Shawn Levy and the writers wanted to take some of the rules from the previous films and take them to a new level, so they created a sequence where Larry, Teddy and Lancelot fall into one of Escher’s lithographs, “Relativity,” setting off what may be the most unique chase sequence in cinematic history. It’s a race through an impossible world, with multiple planes, three levels of gravity and endless possibilities.
Stiller was delighted to return as Larry Daley in the third, eagerly anticipated instalment of the hugely successful franchise and this time, take on an extra role – as a caveman. That meant doing some scenes where he is literally acting opposite himself. It was, he says with a smile, surreal and ultimately, a lot of fun.
“So he comes to life, his name is La and he sees me, and immediately thinks that I’m his father, and he gets a little jealous of my real son, Nicky (Skyler Gisondo), so I had to do a bunch of scenes with myself as two characters. I’d never done that before, and that’s where that motion control stuff comes in, which was very interesting.”
Director Shawn Levy – who also helmed the first two films – and his team utilised motion capture technology to enhance the look of Stiller as La. And the actor admits that it was a fascinating learning curve. “It was probably the most involved technical thing I’ve ever done in a movie. You have to first figure out who is driving the scene, and then you do that character first.”
“Shawn and I would rehearse, and he would play whichever role I wasn’t. Then I would do both sides of it with him, and we would figure out which side was the character to do first—so I could then react.”
“There were a couple of times when we saw that we’d made a mistake, and should have done the other character first, so we would come back and do the other side again because I knew how to react more to what I was doing than the first time. That was an interesting learning process for all of us. I’d never done anything like that before, that’s for sure.”
Action-packed with breathtaking visual effects, “Night at The Museum: Secret of the Tomb” opens January 8 in cinemas nationwide from 20th Century Fox to be distributed by Warner Bros.