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Night at the Museum 3: One last trip to the museum

Updated on November 20, 2014

One more Night at the Museum

The first two Night at the Museum films have both been big hits. They feature night watchman Larry Daley, who works at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, and who gets the surprise of his life on his first night on the job. All the historical exhibits at the museum come to life in spectacular fashion, and it's up to Larry to keep his head straight and solve the problems this brings with it.

This third movie is the end of the trilogy. According to director Shawn Levy, it's a very definitive end to the series, wrapping everything up neatly. In an interview with Empire magazine he said: "This story is going to a place where there's not going to be a Nights 4, 5 and 6, at least not in this incarnation of it. There's a resolution to this. I mean, sure, in this day and age there's always a reboot, sometimes in just the next year, but this is definitely a conclusion for me. And I'm really proud of how this story is going to finish.

Where it all began

Night at the Museum started in 1993, with a childrens book by writer Milan Trenc. The story, about a night watchman who encounters living exhibits at the museum he worked in, attracted the attention of several movie studios. Still, it took a few years before the movie came to theaters in 2006. It was director Shawn Levy who convinced Ben Stiller to do this movie with him, and together they turned it into a smash hit. In the first movie we meet Larry, who starts work at the Smithsonian. The three old night guards (including Dick van Dyke) are going to be replaced by just the single one, to cut costs. The old guards warn Larry to not let anything in or out the museum, and at a certain point during the first night Larry realizes what they mean by that.

A tyrannosaurus rex running through the hallways. Cowboy and Roman miniatures doing battle with each other. A capuchin monkey up to mischief. Teddy Roosevelt riding around on his horse. And that's only the beginning. Larry finds out that all the exhibits come to life thanks to an old Egyptian tablet, which contains magical powers. Of course, he is not the only one who knows about the powers, as his three predecessors try to steal it and use the powers of the tablet for keeping themselves rejuvenated.

Night at the Museum was a fun adventure for the whole family. Crowds connected with it and the movie was a worldwide smash, one of the biggest ones in Stiller's career. What helped was the rest of the cast, featuring not only Dick van Dyke, but also Robin Williams, Owen Wilson and Steve Coogan. A sequel was inevitable.

A not so magical sequel

Night at the Museum 2: Battle of the Smithsonian, gave the fans of the first movie more, much more of what they liked in the original movie. The problem was, it all seemed a bit too much. The action moved from the museum of natural history to the Smithsonian Institute, where the magical tablet brought to life many more historical characters. But you know, it was all a bit too much. The movie is basically one long battle for survival, with hardly a moment of peace and quiet. It has plenty of moments that are memorable, and a great new character in Amelia Earhardt, but something was just missing. Mind you, part 2 was still a worldwide success, but box office receipts were down from the first movie, so something had to change for part 3.

The third and final night

To be honest, I'm even a bit surprised that they decided to make a third movie. Normally when box office is down for a sequel, that means the end of a series. But Stiller and Levy wanted to end their series with a bang and were able to convince executives to give them a shot at ending their trilogy.

For the third movie, the action moves to England, London to be exact. When the action starts, we learn that the powers of the amulet are dying out, and Larry has to find a way to rejuvenate the powers so that his exhibit friends can keep coming to life every night. It's a mad race against the clock, though director Levy revealed to Empire magazine that he didn't want it to be another high adrenaline movie, just like the second one: "When we came to our third act, we were just like: Let's not have another battle! The earlier incarnations of the script definitely had that, but we wanted to do something different. This movie is about mortality, I guess. Which sounds kind of heavy, but is also kind of true."

A new direction for the series sounds like a good idea. Of course, the move to England brings with it plenty of opportunities to introduce new classic characters, like Lancelot for instance, but the new focus on something a bit more reflective is a welcome change. Most of the cast jumped at the chance to get back into their roles, or to take on a role made for this third movie.

Casting call

Most of the cast of the earlier movies returns for this third movie. People like Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson and Steve Coogan reprise their roles, as well as Ricky Gervais, Dick van Dyke and Brad Garrett as the voice of the Easter Island statue. Special mention has to go to Robin Williams and Mickey Rooney, two actors who both sadly passed away after filming their roles.

The big new name for this third movie is Ben Kingsley, who takes on the role of Merenkahre, the pharaoh who was once the creator of the tablet. Other new people at the museum include British actor Dan Stevens as heroic knight Lancelot, and Rebel Wilson, as another night guard who is just as shocked as Ben Stiller's character was when he first saw all those historic characters come back to life...

Release date: US December 19th 2014, rest of the world in between December 17th 2014 and February 2015.

So, are you excited about this third Night at the Museum movie?

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