Night at the Museum: Kahmunrah Rises Again – A Safe but Confused Revival
In the realm of nostalgia-tinged franchise revivals, Night at the Museum: Kahmunrah Rises Again, now streaming on Disney+, treads familiar ground. The original Night at the Museum, released in 2006 by Fox, struck a chord with audiences as it whimsically brought the objects in a museum to life every night. While subsequent sequels didn’t quite live up to the charm of the first film, the series gained a loyal following. After a six-year hiatus, Disney, now owning the franchise, decided to reboot it, this time as a fully animated movie, introducing fresh faces and a new production team. The end result is Kahmunrah Rises Again, a muddled yet faithful addition to the series that may please longtime fans but leave newcomers scratching their heads.
The Story of Kahmunrah Rises Again
Kahmunrah Rises Again follows the character of Nick Daley, son of the original film’s protagonist, Larry Daley. When Larry decides to become a museum director in Tokyo, he entrusts his position as night guard to Nick. Although Nick is already familiar with the living exhibits, the shadows of the night and social awkwardness present new challenges. Things take a sharp turn when the Egyptian Pharaoh Kahmunrah, the villain from the second movie, Battle at the Smithsonian, reawakens. Determined to open the doors to the Underworld and rule over the living, Kahmunrah becomes a formidable adversary for Nick and his newfound friends. It is now their responsibility to stop him and restore peace to the museum.
Aesthetically Pleasing Animation
Kahmunrah Rises Again successfully transitions from live-action to animation, showcasing fluid movements and pastel colors that add texture to the visuals. Director Matt Danner, known for his work on Disney+’s The Legend of the Three Caballeros, brings his expertise in crafting animated adventures with slapstick energy to the Night at the Museum franchise. The revival of the 2D animation style, last seen in Disney’s 2011 film Winnie the Pooh, is a refreshing change that resonates with viewers.
A New Cast, But Familiar Voices
While none of the original voices from the series make a return in Kahmunrah Rises Again, the new cast members do an admirable job stepping into their roles. Thomas Lennon takes on the task of replacing the late Robin Williams as Theodore Roosevelt, the unofficial leader of the museum. Lennon brings a different energy to the character but still captures the boisterous bravado and can-do attitude that define Roosevelt, making the transition feel somewhat natural. Despite the changes, viewers can suspend their disbelief and enjoy the casting choices as they embark on this animated adventure.
Stuck in a Familiar Plot
Kahmunrah Rises Again does little to break free from the constraints of its predecessors’ storyline. It falls into the trap of recycling the same villain and plot from a previous film. Kahmunrah, once again, attempts to bring inanimate objects to life and create mischief before ultimately being thwarted. While the introduction of a new character named Joan of Arc initially sparks intrigue, her presence lacks purpose and fails to contribute meaningfully to the overall plot. Missed opportunities like this prevent the film from carving out its own unique identity.
A Continuity Conundrum
For fans invested in the Night at the Museum series, Kahmunrah Rises Again introduces some confusion regarding its place in the franchise’s continuity. Nick’s presence in high school and the return of certain characters from the third movie suggest that the events of this animated installment occur between the second and third films. However, the inclusion of Laaa, a character from the third movie, contradicts this timeline. The best estimation places Kahmunrah Rises Again in the period preceding the third movie’s epilogue, where Larry returns to school and the museum undergoes changes after Ahkmenrah’s transfer to London. While this discrepancy may not significantly impact the overall plot, it raises questions about the series’ timeline.
A Familiar Formula, but Lacking Innovation
Night at the Museum: Kahmunrah Rises Again adheres closely to the formula established by its predecessors. It follows familiar beats, deals with similar stakes, and employs numerous recycled jokes. Although the film doesn’t bring much innovation to the table, it stands as a harmless standalone piece. At a runtime of 100 minutes, it can feel a bit rushed, but it still manages to deliver some delightful moments and above-average animation for a streaming-exclusive project. While dedicated fans may find enjoyment in the movie, Kahmunrah Rises Again remains a forgettable addition to a long-dormant franchise that fails to introduce fresh ideas.
Night at the Museum: Kahmunrah Rises Again retains the spirit of its predecessors but falls short of capturing the magic that made the original film a beloved classic. Its transition to animation proves visually appealing, thanks to the talented direction of Matt Danner. While the new cast does their best to fill the shoes of the original voices, the film lacks a compelling and original story, relying on recycled plotlines and missed opportunities. Despite these shortcomings, the movie serves as a harmless and occasionally entertaining addition to the Night at the Museum franchise.
1. Can I watch Kahmunrah Rises Again without having seen the previous Night at the Museum films?
While it is possible to watch Kahmunrah Rises Again as a standalone movie, having prior knowledge of the series and its characters may enhance your viewing experience. Familiarity with the previous films provides context and a deeper appreciation for the story and humor.
2. Will there be more Night at the Museum movies in the future?
As of now, there are no official announcements regarding future Night at the Museum movies. However, given the franchise’s popularity and lasting appeal, there is always a possibility of further installments or spin-offs down the line.
3. Is Kahmunrah Rises Again suitable for children?
Yes, Kahmunrah Rises Again is suitable for children. Like its predecessors, the film offers a family-friendly adventure with humor and fantastical elements that appeal to a younger audience.
4. How does the animation style of Kahmunrah Rises Again compare to the previous live-action films?
Kahmunrah Rises Again adopts a vibrant and visually pleasing animated style that differs from the live-action aesthetics of the previous films. The transition to animation allows for more fantastical sequences and imaginative visual storytelling.
5. Does Kahmunrah Rises Again pay homage to the late Robin Williams’ character, Teddy Roosevelt?
While Robin Williams’ presence is greatly missed, Thomas Lennon’s portrayal of Theodore Roosevelt in Kahmunrah Rises Again maintains the boisterous spirit and leadership qualities of the character. The film pays tribute to Williams’ legacy by carrying on the legacy of Roosevelt’s charm and enthusiasm.
Night at the Museum: Kahmunrah Rises Again is now available to stream on Disney+ for fans looking to revisit the magical world of living exhibits and embark on a new adventure with Nick Daley and his friends.