If you were a kid growing up during the 2000s, Night at the Museum was probably one of your favorite film franchises. While an animated sequel to the trilogy wasn’t necessary, it also wasn’t a hard sell. Night at the Museum: Kahmunrah Rises Again offers a fun, short, and sweet time for both kids and adult fans of the franchise.
The film follows Larry’s son Nick (Joshua Bassett) becoming the new Night Guard at the Museum of Natural History while his dad is away. However, during his first night on the job, Nick accidentally leaves the basement open and allows Kahmunrah to escape, and now he (along with many of the museum statues that have come to life) must stop Kahmunrah before he can complete his evil plan.
With a runtime of an hour and 18 minutes, Night at the Museum: Kahmunrah Rises Again is not a lengthy movie, but this actually works to the film’s advantage. It never overstays its welcome — the film knows it’s only here for a good time and not much else, so no scene ever feels stretched out or meandering.
The characters all still remain likable and the voice cast members do a good job with all their respective characters. Joan of Arc (Alice Isaaz), a new character, is sure to be a hit with Night at the Museum lovers — she’s plenty of fun and a welcome addition to the museum gang. It’s a joy seeing this group of characters again, they all feel heartwarmingly familiar, like seeing an old friend after such a long time.
Of course, our protagonist now is Nick Daley and not Larry, but Nick makes for an easy-to-like lead character. Where they could’ve easily gone the same route as Disenchanted — having the child suddenly be distant and sarcastic because they’re going through high school — Nick is actually very nice and earnest and has a good relationship with both his dad and the members of the museum. For the most part, this movie never feels cynical or mean-spirited, instead choosing to embrace the silly but endearing nature of its premise.
The humor, however, is where the film falters. For every chuckle or laugh, there is a groan. About half the jokes work — they’re clever and witty and delivered with a lot of energy from both the voice actors and the animators — but the other half falls flat, instead relying on predictable punchlines and overdone running gags.
While the adventure is enjoyable, it’s also forgettable — you’re not going to remember this one the same way you remember the past three films. It’s a fairly simple and straightforward story with not a lot of big events happening, making it more of a time filler rather than a must-watch offering.
Still, for such a short film, Night at the Museum: Kahmunrah Rises Again is an easy recommendation for fans of the original trilogy. It’s a bite-sized treat with a sincere heart sure to provide a nostalgic time for anyone who grew up with the films.
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