Review by Adam Donato
Disney is taking over in more ways than one. The acquisition of 20th Century Fox brought with it a plethora of usable brands to capitalize on. What do they do with an Ice Age franchise that has run way past its course? They produce a cheaply animated sequel of sorts starring the side characters. Night of the Museum seems to be taking a similar route as an animated movie coming straight to Disney+, where the son of Larry Daley takes over the mantle as night guard of the museum. Does anybody still care about Night of the Museum? Doesn’t matter. If there’s juice that’s able to be squeezed out of this fruit, Disney will exploit it. Despite the uphill battle, is Night of the Museum: Kahmunrah Rises Again good enough to be noticed on this endless crop of mediocrity that is Disney+ original content?
No, it’s bad. The biggest change to note in this installment of the franchise is the switch to animation. This decision makes sense as gathering all these stars would be overly expensive considering the level of quality this feature was expected to be. Not to mention, recasting Teddy Roosevelt is not an easily digestible task. The quality of animation in this movie is the first indication that this movie is meant for babies. Having a run time of 77 minutes also doesn’t help. There’s clear effort in the recast of these memorable characters. The stand out (if there is one) would be Thomas Lennon, who remains one of the most underrated comedic side character actors. Only one scene is worth remembering, where “the camera” flies around the room as each member of the team tries to take down the undead army. That’s really grasping at straws though.
(L-R): Attila (voiced by Alexander Salamat), Joan of Arc (voiced by Alice Isaaz), Sacagawea (voiced by Kieran Sequoia), Teddy (voiced by Thomas Lennon), Easter Island Head (voiced by Kelemete Misipeka), Nick Daley (voiced by Joshua Bassett) and Laaa (voiced by Zachary Levi) in 20th Century Studios' NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM: KAHMUNRAH RISES AGAIN, exclusively on Disney+. Photo courtesy of 20th Century Studios. © 2022 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.
If anyone cares about the canon of the franchise, then this continuation is certainly of interest. Passing the torch to the son of Ben Stiller’s character is a logical and easy choice — especially if this story is animated and it doesn’t matter who stars in it because it’s made for babies. It becomes clear that the highest ambition for this franchise is to have this movie spinoff into its own show as we follow the new adventures led by Nick Daley. This story is written by a marketing team and the test screenings probably consisted of babies exclusively. There’s little to no good reason for Larry Daley to leave the fold as he has to take some job overseas. It feels like such a passionless, borderline bastardization of what was a solid fantasy, family comedy franchise.
This half-assed attempt to continue the Night of the Museum franchise should be properly ignored. There is nothing of value or substance. The comedy doesn’t work. The sense of wonder is non-existent. It’s a shell of the type of movie the franchise had been clearly. To be honest, it was never good enough in the first place to demand more stories be told in this universe. Please, go gently into that goodnight.
Night at the Museum: Kahmunrah Rises Again is now streaming on Disney+.