Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb Adoption Movie Review

Larry Daley is a night guard at a museum. Years ago, the museum began to come to life at night. A magical tablet, created for Egyptian royalty, wakes the museum exhibits each evening. However, we learn that the archeologists who discovered the tablet also awoke a curse. Now, the tablet is losing its powers. Unless Larry can reverse the curse, the tablet’s power will end, and the museum population will never wake again.

Larry talks to Ahkmenrah, who reveals that the secrets of the tablet are only known to his father, who is on display inside the British Museum. Larry takes several museum friends with him to London to attempt to uncover the secret of the tablet and to save the museum’s magic.
At the same time, Larry’s son is deciding that he does not want to go to college, and Larry struggles to allow his son the right to self-determination. They’ll have some time to talk, because Larry’s son has come with him to London.

The Adoption Connection
Ahkmenrah’s parents made the tablet so that he could be with them forever.  However, they are being exhibited in museums that are an ocean apart. His parents are delighted to see him when he arrives at the British Museum, and he decides to stay with them, where he belongs.

One Neanderthal looks very much like Larry (and is played by Ben Stiller, who also plays Larry.) He calls Larry “dada.” Larry continually refutes him. A talking head teases Larry, saying “dumb-dumb got a new son-son.”

Strong Points
Larry is a committed dad. He tells his son, “I’m always gonna worry about you; I’m your dad.” He acknowledges that it’s “a strange thing seeing your boy become a man.” He’s trying to let him grow up though. He tells one character that his son seems ready to take on the world on his own; the other character replies, “Then you’ve done your job.”

Ahkmenrah’s father obviously loves his son. He explained, “When I first gazed upon you, you meant more than anything.” It’s good when fathers can verbally express their affection for their children.

Weak Points
A towering monkey saves his miniature friends from lava by peeing on the lava flow, and also his friends. They get drenched.
Larry is perhaps overzealous in his parenting. He tracks his son’s phone; when his son learns this, he is offended. A similar theme came upin Men, Women and Children (click to read more.) He explains that he is only looking out for his son, who replies (correctly, I think), “spied on is not the same as looking out.”
The Egyptian ruler’s comment to Larry is intended for laughs, but could offend some viewers. Larry relates that he is Jewish. The ruler replies, “I love Jews. We owned 40,000 of them.” Larry tells him that they hated living in Egypt, “We have dinner once a year and talk about it. It’s a big deal to us.”

This is Robin Williams’ last movie. His final line is one of parting, to Larry, “Smile, my boy. Sunrise.” Although it will probably go over the heads of most young viewers, it was bittersweet for me. Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb seems like a pretty harmless movie, and there are two positive father-son relationships modeled. While it’s not great, it’s fun, and parents might appreciate seeing Robin Williams one last time.  This could be a good dad-son movie for kids ages 7-11 or so.

Questions for Discussion
How much direction should parents give their teenagers? Should it be insight, or direction? At what points does it change?

Why is it hard for dads to express their feelings sometimes? How do you think Larry did? How about Ahkmenrah’s dad?


  1. You’ve ended that post with a mind-boggling question. It’s nice to see that you connected the movie into a family-related situation and its common issue, which is parental monitoring. I’m pretty sure your readers who watched the movie might think of that lesson too. Hopefully, they’ll be able to come up with a solution for the benefit of both the kids and the parent. Anyway, thanks for sharing your review, Addison. I’ll be looking forward to reading more of your interesting reviews in the days to come. All the best!

    Simon Walker @ The Viewlorium

  2. If you've seen the trailer, then you've already seen 80% of the more-hilarious jokes in the movie.


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