MOVIE REVIEW: Night at the Museum: Kahmunrah Rises Again
"Why couldn’t I have a normal summer job?"
It was in 2006 that the world was introduced to night guard Larry Daley (Ben Stiller) and New York's magical (at night) Museum of Natural History in the hit film Night at the Museum. We are also introduced to Larry's son Nick (Jake Cherry and Skyler Gisondo). Night at the Museum: Kahmunrah Rises Again, the new animated Disney+ original movie, follows Nick as he becomes the new night guard. And it is a surprisingly fun and touching romp into this wonderful world.
In Night at the Museum: Kahmunrah Rises Again, Larry (now voiced by Zach Levi) is trying to find a replacement for night guard for the summer as he travels to Tokyo to become museum director over there. The only problem is the magical museum displays keep scaring the replacements off. They want Larry to hire Nick (voiced by High School Musical: The Musical: The Series star Joshua Bassett) because he knows them. Nick is a shy teenager who loves music, but too unconfident to do it. And he is too scared to ask his crush out. Hesitantly, he takes the job.
One of the things Nick has to do is lock the basement, but he is too scared and accidentally releases the evil Egyptian Pharoah Kahmunrah (Joseph Kamal), a character introduced in Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian. Kahmunrah takes the tablet that fuels the magic of the museum with the nefarious plan to rule the world. With the help of the chaos god Seth (Akmal Saleh), he opens a portal to ancient Egypt. It's up to Nick and his museum display friends Teddy Roosevelt (Thomas Lennon), Attila the Hun (Alexander Salamat), Sacajawea (Kieran Sequoia), Joan of Arc (Alice Isaaz), Caveman Laaa (Levi), Tiny Roman soldier Octavius (Jack Whitehall), Tiny cowboy Jedediah (Steve Zahn), and Dexter the monkey (Dee Bradley Baker) to stop Kahmunrah and save the world.
When Disney bought 21st Century Fox, Night at the Museum became a Disney franchise. Then and now current Disney CEO Bob Iger announced that they would be doing an animated sequel. I was excited about this project as I always loved the original trilogy. I was not disappointed by Night at the Museum: Kahmunrah Rises Again. Matt Danner's animated sequel is just a fun revisitation to the Museum of Natural History with a heartwarming ending.
The cast is great with the museum display characters feel familiar to their live action versions. Levi is great as the new Larry, but I think he had more fun playing the monosyllabic Laa. The breakout, however, is Bassett who managed to voice his character without making me think of Ricky from High School Musical: The Musical: The Series. He really brought heart to Nick.
While the story is derivative of the original trilogy (havoc is unleashed at night as the museum displays come to life), it still feels fresh. Perhaps its because the wheel has now been placed in the hands of Nick who was more like his dad in the first movie. Or perhaps all we wanted in a sequel is another adventure with these wonderful museum display characters. Either way, Danner, who's credits include The Legend of the Three Caballeros, and crew carefully and lovingly crafted a wonderful sequel.
I truly believe that Night at the Museum: Kahmunrah Rises Again fits perfectly into the franchise.