I recently had the opportunity to watch a sneak preview of the third installment of “Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb” and am happy to report, I laughed, I cried and came away really excited to take my kids and my husband to see it. You see, we are die hard ‘Night at the Museum’ fans, having seen the very first film when Ben Stiller first starred as Larry, a single dad who can’t seem to find a steady job until he takes a position as a security guard at the Museum of Natural History and the exhibits miraculously come to life during the night.
The first edition of ‘Night of the Museum’ turned my whole family into believers. The second installment which featured Jonah Hill and took moviegoers into the mysteries of the Smithsonian had us laughing from the moment we took our seats. But the third and perhaps final installment may be the best since it touches upon elements in my own life that really hit home on a number of levels and features a touching scene with Robin Williams that will absolutely have you reaching for kleenex towards the end of the film.
Get ready for the wildest and most adventure-filled Night At the Museum ever as Larry (Ben Stiller) spans the globe, uniting favorite and new characters while embarking on an epic quest to save the magic before it is gone forever. Two incredible new additions this year include Rebel Wilson as a British security guard who will have you laughing out loud and Dan Stevens, who portrays Sir Lancelot who is on a lifelong quest to find his Guenevere — trust me, the scene with Hugh Jackman (who plays himself in the film) and Dan Stevens is priceless.
“Night at the Museum features an all star cast including Ben Stiller, Robin Williams, Owen Wilson, Dick Van Dyke, Dan Stevens, Ricky Gervais, Ben Kingsley, Rebel Wilson, Mickey Rooney (in one of his final film roles), and Rami Malek. Two things that resonated with me was the connection Larry had with his college bound son who is actually a little kid when the film first started. As his son tries to assert his independence and defer college for a year, Larry is not too happy with his decision and instead takes him along on an adventure to the British museum in London where he discovers how amazing his dad’s night job really is and even gets the chance to save him with the help of Sir Lancelot, played by the incredibly talented and comedic Dan Stevens.
But what really affected me while watching the film was seeing Robin Williams, who reprised his role as Teddy Roosevelt and shared an incredibly touching scene with Larry towards the end of the film that will absolutely have the audience reduced to tears. When I got to attend a private roundtable event with the cast and producer Shawn Levy, we found out more about that touching scene and what made Robin Williams so incredibly special as well as a behind the scenes story about the actor’s incredible comedic talents. Take a look….
The Culture Mom: The movie turned out to be a fantastic tribute to Robin Williams. I’m sure for all of us it really–it was such a touching tribute to him. And I was wondering what it was like for each of you to work with him and how the death was more meaningful to you in light of the fact that you just worked together?
Shawn Levy: Well, first of all, thank you because obviously this was Robin’s last movie. So, it was really important to all of us and certainly to me in the editing room every day to have it be, as you say, a fitting and loving kind of piece of his legacy.
So, I’m glad that you felt that it had accomplished that. We finished shooting this movie less than three months before he passed. And he did some voice work for me a month before his death. In fact, you know that little Garuda statue in the movie, that’s Robin.
Robin saw that picture on my laptop. And he said that guy’s cute. What’s he? And I said, oh, he’s this statue in the British Museum. I want to bring him to life.
And he goes, well, he looks kind of mischievous. Let me take a whack at that, huh? And it wasn’t his job, it wasn’t planned. And he just recorded an entire language for that little Garuda.
That was kind of emblematic of this guy who was certainly a grown man, but very much still a boy with all the playful spirit of that. And so, it was a horrible day when we heard. And it’s been a rough few months since. And there’s kind of no positive spin on that.
But I certainly am very, very grateful that I got the experience of being friendly with him and being collaborative with him.
Question: Making the third movie in a franchise is always a tricky thing. What made you guys decide to come on board?
Owen Wilson: Well, we had a story that I think also you know when we made the first one I don’t think any of us expected it to get the reception that it did and for people to enjoy it as much as they did.
And so, then that obviously leads to, well, you know, make another one. And we did. And I think we all enjoyed making both of them.
But I think it was important with this one, the third one, to kind of try to figure out a way to tell it in an interesting way that wouldn’t just be, okay, now we’re going to a new museum that’s dealing with kind of letting go and some of the more poignant themes that are in the movie, but also hopefully still entertaining people and people having a good time.
And, yes, I think we did it.
Question: Going to a museum is such a classic weekend activity with the kids or the family. What is your favorite weekend activity with your kids or your family members? What is the thing that you would enjoy doing the most?
Ben Stiller: Well, I like taking my kids to museums and things like that. But they don’t love it. I would do that every weekend. My kids really love to just hang out at the house and play. I mean I love to watch movies with my kids. But they don’t love that much either.
I say, do you want to watch a movie? He’s like, no, I want to play. I’m like, all right. You want to be creative and actually come up with your own stuff? You don’t want to just sit and stare at a screen?
But they really do love to just hang out. And we don’t think about it. But they do have a lot of pressure going to school and after school activities and things like that. They really appreciate having that free time when they have it.
And then, what’s great is that things then if we’re just hanging out at the house over the weekend, the things that develop, what you get into, whether it’s going outside and playing baseball or something or going inside and just playing, you know, something that they’re into.
Maybe I might not necessarily be into in the beginning. But then you get into it with them. And then it’s great because it leads to something else. And that’s the best really.
Fortunately for me, I have a son who loves to hang out on the couch and watch movies and best of all, I’ll be taking him to see Night at the Museum 3: Secret of the Tomb when it opens in theaters this Friday, December 19. Trust me when I tell you, you will fall in love with the Night at the Museum franchise all over again! Check out the trailer below and mark your calendar for this must see holiday movie of the year!