Night at the Museum: Kahmunrah Rises Again is the newest installment of a franchise that should have ended when Robin Williams died.
I would have probably been on board with an animated film if they had the original cast. Instead, this feels much like one of those direct-video sequels where the stars walked away after the theatrical predecessor. When I saw that Nick Daley (Joshua Bassett) was going to be the lead character, I thought, okay, this might be something interesting. Instead, it just doesn’t have the same magic. The fact that they’re bringing Kahmunrah (Joseph Kamal) back as a villain really shows that the well is dry in this franchise. It pains me to say it but I felt like I was watching the film out of obligation because of watching the original theatrical trilogy.
The first Night at the Museum film introduced us to a world of magic at the American Museum of Natural History. This one might have some “magic” but it’s not in the same way. The museum is in need of a new watchman because they can’t seem to keep them employed. One, it feels like Larry (Zachary Levi) can’t seem escape out of the museum’s shadows. When the newest watchman proves unable to handle the job, Larry recommends Nick work there over the summer. It’s not a bad idea because he knows the secrets–you know the ancient tablet that brings everything to life. There’s Jedediah (Steve Zahn), Octavius (Jack Whitehall), Sacagawea (Kieran Sequoia), and of course, President Theodore Roosevelt (Thomas Lennon). Joan of Arc (Alice Isaaz) is one of the newer attractions since the third film.
What happens here is the museum is about to feature an exhibit on Kahmunrah. If you watched the Battle of the Smithsonian, you know this is a terribly bad idea. His plan is no different than the last time: free the Army of the Dead from the Egyptian underworld. At this point, screenwriters Ray DeLaurentis & Will Schifrin are try but fail in coming up with new gags. They try to freshen this world but it’s not working. These films have done similar gags in the past and funnier, I must add. Emptying the Delaware River onto the floor? Been there, done that. Or at least it feels this way.
No offense to Zachary Levi but Ben Stiller made the role. Levi isn’t even making an attempt to do a Stiller impression here and so it just feels weird. The same goes for the rest of the cast. It just feels rather off. I cannot stress this enough. This isn’t like when they spinoff a film into a series and use an entirely new cast. No, this is a direct sequel to a film. I can’t even call it a cash grab because let’s face it, this is not going to bring in any new subscriptions for Disney+.
History might come alive again but Night at the Museum: Kahmunrah Rises Again only rehashes the same story all over again and doesn’t feel new.
DIRECTOR: Matt Danner
SCREENWRITERS: Ray DeLaurentis & Will Schifrin
CAST: Joshua Bassett, Jamie Demetriou, Alice Isaaz, Gillian Jacobs, Joseph Kamal, Thomas Lennon, Zachary Levi, Alexander Salamat, Akmal Saleh, Kieran Sequoia, Jack Whitehall, Bowen Yang, Steve Zahn
Disney+ launched Night at the Museum: Kahmunrah Rises Again on December 9, 2022. Grade: 2.5/5
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