Film: Night at the Museum
Night at the Museum
is a series of family comedy films produced by 20th Century Fox
and directed by Shawn Levy, starring Ben Stiller as Larry Daley, the night guard for the New York American Museum of Natural history who learns that the exhibits come to life at night. It is based on a 1993 children's book by Milan Trenc.
The first films was released on December 22, 2006, written by Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon of Comedy Central
's Reno 911
and MTV's The State
, and directed by Shawn Levy. A new novelization of the screenplay by Leslie Goldman was published as a film tie-in. Larry is a struggling inventor who is trying to bond with his son, so to make ends meet he takes a job as the night guard for the Museum of History. He learns from the retiring guards on how to deal with the various exhibits as they come to life because of a magical tablet displayed with Egyptian royalty Ahkmenrah. Recognizing the responsibility he has to keep order, he also has to fend off a nefarious plot to plunder the museum of its magic and riches.
The sequel, subtitled Battle of the Smithsonian
, was released in May 2009. Here, as the New York museum is being renovated many exhibits are stored in the Smithsonian. This brings with them a whole other genre of problems, as Ahkmenrah's brother Kahmenrah is animated at the Smithsonian and seeks to use the tablet's powers to open a portal and unleash his army. To stop him and protect the other exhibits Larry teams with Amelia Earhardt to unravel the mystery of the tablet and stop Kahmenrah.
The second sequel, Secret of the Tomb
, was released December 19, 2014. The final mystery of the origin of the tablet is revealed as they have to 'revive' it's power since the magic is slowly wearing out, stopping in the middle of public showings. The London Museum holds the answers and with it massive hijinks abound. It will also be one of the last film roles for Robin Williams after his suicide death in August 2014, and for Mickey Rooney, who passed away in April of the same year.
This film series contains examples of the following tropes:
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- Action Girl:
- Sacagawea, who, despite not having as much screentime or dialogue as some of the other exhibits, is helpful to Larry in all three movies (as a tracker in the first and third, as a fighter in the final battle in the second, and in helping Larry plan an important event in the beginning of the third).
- Also, Amelia Earhart in the second movie, true to the feisty nature of her real life counterpart.
- All There in the Manual: If you don't know basic to mild World History, then you'll miss most of the jokes.
- Ambiguously Gay: Octavius.
- In addition to several moments of Ho Yay with Jedediah, Octavius also comments on Lancelot's "beautiful blue eyes" in the third movie, leaving Jedediah to silently stare at him. It helps that the real life Octavius (AKA Augustus Caesar) was known as "every woman's husband and every man's wife."
What? They're very blue.
- As the tablet further corrodes, Octavius and Jedediah attempt to die holding hands.
- Animate Inanimate Object: Everything in the museum that comes to life counts as one of these.
- Artistic License – History: Zig-zagged. They make a point of correcting some common misconceptions about history and historical figures, but also indulged in some of the same incidents. Napoleon, for example, is not portrayed as exceptionally short, but took umbrage at a remark that could be construed as a dig at his height. Larry does mention that regardless of accuracy we have "Napoleon Complex" named after him.
- Beta Couple: Teddy and Sacagawea, especially in the first movie (their relationship isn't strongly emphasized in the sequels, but they are together), with the Alpha Couples being Larry and Rebecca in the first film, Larry and Amelia/Tess in the second, and Tilly and Laa in the third.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Dr. McPhee really seems like one at times.
- Cool Versus Awesome: Given the premise of the movie, this is bound to happen:
- In the first movie there's Roman army against Wild West cowboys.
- The third movie has Sir Lancelot vs a giant nine-headed bronze statue of a Chinese snake demon.
- Dance Party Ending: The first and third movies play this completely straight. The second movie has a variation: the characters aren't actually dancing, but they are taking guests around the very crowded and successful museum, there's party music and flashing lights in the background, and the mood is quite festive.
- Deadpan Snarker: Larry gets quite a few lines of this in all the movies.
- Defeat Means Friendship: After Larry brings down the "bad guys" of the first movie, the three former security guards, there don't appear to be any hard feelings. When Larry goes to visit them at the retirement home in the third movie, they are quite friendly to him (save for a bit of Gus's usual snark), and Cecil actually helps Larry figure out what to do next to repair Ahkmenrah's tablet.
- Eternal English: In the first movie, Ahkmenrah speaks perfect English right out of the gate, which he explains as being from his time as an exhibit at Cambridge. In the second film, Kahmunrah first tries Egyptian, then French when he meets Larry before settling on English. In the third movie, Ahkmenrah's parents also speak perfect English.
- Everything's Better with Monkeys: Dexter may look like just an ordinary mischievous capuchin, but he's actually very smart.
- The Guards Must Be Crazy:
- This trope was averted in the first film: Larry was the only guard and it didn't take long for the news to notice when the exhibits started running through Central Park, especially the appearance of cave drawings at the subway station or dinosaur tracks on 81st Street. The second film has no such excuse. The entire National Mall is brought to life by the tablet. They fly the Wright Brothers plane outside. An octopus swims in the reflecting pool. The Lincoln Memorial goes for a stroll. No one notices. In real life, Washington D.C. is one of the most heavily policed and security conscious areas on earth with numerous security-sensitive buildings and areas. One of the exhibits would've tripped an alarm somewhere in the city to cause a massive security scare in the city.
- In the second movie, Larry and his son spend time at the beginning of the movie studying the vast security measures of the museums, and yet are somehow able to stroll through them and leave and enter at his leisure. Also, the real Smithsonian facilities are virtually never empty of people, as plenty of staff work through the night on maintenance, conservation, and research.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: Jed and Octavius, once they stop fighting and become friends near the end of the first movie, are this for the rest of the series.
- In-Series Nickname: Several of the characters with long names have theirs shortened (at least occasionally) by Larry. He almost always uses "Jed" for Jedediah and "Teddy" for Theodore Roosevelt, and also sometimes uses "Dex" for Dexter, "Sac" for Sacagawea and "Ahk" for Ahkmenrah.
- Larry also gets several from various museum exhibits:
- Jed calls him "Gigantor" exclusively in the first and second movies. Larry protests this at first but seemingly accepts it later. Jed does refer to him as "Larry" a couple of times in the third movie, though.
- Ahkmenrah calls him "Guardian of Brooklyn". This came from Ahkmenrah introducing himself to Larry as a Pharoah of Egypt, to which Larry replied "I'm Larry...I'm from Brooklyn."
- Inverted by Teddy, who calls him by his full name, Lawrence.
- Nick is referred to and addressed as both Nick and Nicky in all of the movies.
- Ironic Echo: Teddy Roosevelt asked Larry "What are you made of?" in the first movie; in the second movie Larry says this to Amelia.
- It Is Pronounced Tro PAY:
- Sacagawea's name many times. There's also a deleted scene where Sacagawea's name is pronounced "Saka-gah-way-a", while Ahkmenrah's name is pronounced "Akh-men-rah". The Sacagawea case is justified since no one knows how her name really was pronounced.
- The Smithsonian guard Brandon (as spelled on his nameplate) in the sequel argues to Larry that his name is "Brundon" "BUR-RUN-DON".
- The Lancer: Teddy Roosevelt, in the first and third movies.
- Mundane Made Awesome:
- Octavius and Jedediah: "You're going to live!" (breaks hourglass with helmet)
- Also, when Ahkmenrah introduces himself to Larry as the "Great King of the Great Kings" of Egypt in the first movie, Larry replies, "I'm Larry...I'm from Brooklyn," which leads to Ahkmenrah calling him the "Guardian of Brooklyn" for the rest of the series. Lampshaded in the third movie when Larry notes that he's moved to Manhattan now, but Ahk replies that "Guardian of Brooklyn" just "sounds cooler."
- Museum of the Strange and Unusual: Thanks to that magic tablet, the museums comes to life at night:
- The American Museum of Natural History in all three movies
- The entire Smithsonian Museum (duh) in BOTS
- The British Museum in SOTT
- The Napoleon:
- The portrayal of the very Napoleon is like this.
- Jedediah, moreso in the first movie.
- Nice Guy: Ahkmenrah, who is, throughout the whole series, unfailingly polite and nice to everyone.
- Not So Different: Larry gives this talk twice in the series — to Jedediah and Octavius in the first film and to Dexter and Able in Battle of the Smithsonian — to get them to cooperate.
- Official Couple: The museum exhibit versions of Teddy Roosevelt and Sacagawea. It's a plot point in the first movie that Teddy admires Sacagawea from afar because he's too shy to admit his feelings to her. Once he saves her from being run down near the end of the movie, the two begin a relationship that lasts for the rest of the series.
- Once per Episode: Being miniatures, Jed and Octavius have extremely hilarious hijinks when they get separated from Larry's group.
- In the first movie, they battle the raging gale... of a decompressing tire. Lampshaded as the camera keeps cutting back to a wider view of the area... and the only indication of this "battle" is the very soft, almost inaudible hiss of air leaving the tire.
- In BOTS, Octavius gives a speech about how he's going to storm the White House to get help for Jedediah and runs toward the building on foot. Cue the camera cutting to a position where we can't even see or hear him. Eventually he gets tired, admits he misjudged the distance, and gets attacked by a squirrel.
- In SOTT, Jed and Octavius fall into an air vent and are sucked toward the vent's filters... and the camera pans out to show them stuck against the grate, with a very soft, mild breeze moving through the vents.
- Only Sane Man: Larry to an extent, but over the course of all three movies, Sacagawea is honestly the most normal of the cast.
- Secret Keeper: Anyone non-museum-exhibit people who know about the Museum coming to life:
- Larry and Nick in all three films.
- The previous night guards (Cecil, Reginald, and Gus) as well, although they don't appear in the second movie.
- Rebecca, who only appears in the first movie.
- Tilly, Larry's British Museum counterpart, becomes one in the third movie.
- At the end of the third movie, McPhee finds out as well.
- Octavius and Jedediah alone reference many movies and works:
- The scene at the end of the first movie, to Independence Day. They do it again at the final battle of Smithsonian, this time to 300.
- Early on in the movie Octavius orders a Rain of Arrows to be thrown at Larry his order is Unleash Hell! in reference to Gladiator.
- When Octavius sees the squirrel, he makes the "dinosaur vision" speech from Jurassic Park.
- They have one to Brokeback Mountain in the first movie. It helps that Jedediah's an actual cowboy.
- In BOTS, Kahmunrah gets into the pop-culture wing and claims Archie Bunker's "throne" as his own. He's also seen trying on Muhammad Ali's robe at one point, as well as passing on wearing Dorothy Gale's ruby slippers.
- When Custer is knocked off the motorcycle early on, he tells Larry to keep going with, "Fly, you fool!"
- During the finale of the third film, Tilly and La recreate one of the more famous Dirty Dancing scenes, specifically the lift. Rexy and Trixy, the dinosaur skeletons are also shown doing this.
- Sibling Yin-Yang: Between the Egyptian pharaoh brothers, Ahkmenrah and Kahmunrah, in both personality and their appearances in the films:
- Ahkmenrah isn't met in person until the climax of the first film, but he very quickly establishes himself as one of the good guys, playing a vital role in helping Larry and Nick stop the bad guys and restoring order to the Museum. By contrast, Kahmunrah is met pretty early on in the second movie, he quickly shows himself to be evil, and he becomes the Big Bad for the rest of the movie.
- This applies personality-wise, too: Ahkmenrah is a polite, composed, regal Pharaoh and serious-but-friendly Nice Guy who helps Larry throughout the series, while Kahmunrah is a hammy, power-hungry, cheerful-but-ruthless Pharaoh and Laughably Evil bad guy who is the source the main conflict in the second movie.
- Sidekick Ex Machina: Ahkmenrah owns the tablet which made the whole exhibits alive, but he doesn't gain a lot of screen-time, especially in the second movie.
- Sliding Scale of Living Toys: The exhibits are either Level 4 or 5. Well, except the mummies.
- Spell My Name with an "S": How is the tablet owner's name spelled? Ahkmenrah, Akhmenrah, or Akmenrah? Made more confusing as the ending credits of the first movie spell it as "Akhmenrah", but the third movie beginning and credits spell it "Ahkmenrah".
- Took a Level in Badass: Larry between the first and second films. And from a mental standpoint as well—if not between the first and second films, then definitely between the second and third. He comes up with several brilliant deductions and ideas in the third movie.
- The first film explained that the older janitors became Badass Grandpas because of dealing with the museum exhibits (and the magic of the tablet). Between films Larry gained those same skills in a younger body.
Night at the Museum (Original)
- All Animals Are Dogs: Rexy, the tyrannosaurus skeleton.
- Angrish: When angry, the owner of the museum starts metaphors and can never finish them.
- Ax-Crazy: Attila the Hun.
- Badass Grandpa: Night guard Cecil is a badass. Justified in that the tablet also reinvigorated him.
- Beta Baddie: Cecil, Reginald and Gus. They only wanted the tablet because it gave them virtual youth.
- Big "Shut Up!": The Moai.
- Calling Your Attacks: Gus does this.
Gus: "Sweet dreams, cupcake! PILEDRIVER!"
- Eenie, Meenie, Miny Moai: One of the exhibits in the original museum is a Moai, who is very fond of bubble gum.
- Freudian Trio: Cecil (Ego), Reginald (Superego), and Gus (Id).
- Getting Crap Past the Radar:
Jedediah: (After trying to shoot Larry in the eye with his toy gun) "Now, you know my shame. Jedediah's impotent rage. His guns don't fire."
- Ham-to-Ham Combat: The scene where Atilla and Larry are yelling at each other.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Cecil did this unintentionally when giving advice to Larry. Cecil advises Larry to research stuff on the museum exhibits to help him out which is used against him when Larry shouts the secret code to stop the horse-drawn cart Cecil used to escape.
- Hot-Blooded: Gus, one of the villainous night guards.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
Mr. Doctor McPhee really comes across as just a Jerkass, but you can't help but feel for him in the second - and he does seem to be warming up to Larry by the end.
- Major Injury Underreaction: After Teddy gets hit by the horse-drawn carriage, he gets cut cleanly in two down the middle, but just sort of comments "Oh, dear" in a "Well, that kind of sucks" way. Thankfully, Sacagawea fixes him.
- Well, for all his human appearance, he IS still made of wax and thus likely doesn't have much of a sense of touch or pain, if at all. Also, Rule of Funny.
- Mistaken for Granite: The giant statues of Anubis that guard the pharaoh.
- The Obi-Wan: Teddy Roosevelt to Larry.
- Hell, he was practically Larry's surrogate father.
- Really 700 Years Old: Ahkmenrah (one of the only exhibits in the museum who is a reanimated being besides Rexy), once the tablet activates.
- Romantic False Lead: Larry and Rebecca appear to take a liking to each other, but nothing else happens between them. Rebecca does not appear in the sequel.
- A Storm Is Coming: Larry says this while vowing to Dexter that he will get even for the monkey's antics. Then repeats it after revealing how he's tricked the monkey with a set of toy keys.
- Taking the Bullet: Or rather, Taking the Carriage. When Cecil and his horse-drawn carriage are about to run Sacagawea down, Teddy (who has feelings for her) pushes her out of the way.
- The Voiceless: Larry mistook Sacagawea for this since she was behind Plexiglas and couldn't be heard.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Was there any explanation where the protagonist's girlfriend went after the first movie?
- You No Take Candle: Easter Island Head talk this way. Dum dum want lot of gum-gum.
Battle of The Smithsonian
- Accidental Misnaming: His name is not Brandon, it's Brundon.
- Action Girl: Amy Adams as Amelia Earhart.
- Adrenaline Time: Invoked when Octavius and Jedediah storm through Napoleon's soldiers and Capone's mob
- Affably Evil / Faux Affably Evil: Kahmunrah. Between his lisp and over the top antics he becomes rather likable. That being said, he tries to kill Larry/have him killed numerous times, and has no qualms about threatening or killing Larry's friends.
- Agony of the Feet: Jedediah and Octavius weaponize this towards the enemy soldiers. Given the large number of them that we see hopping and holding their feet, it's quite effective.
- Androcles' Lion: The Giant Octopus
- Artistic License – Physics:
- The flight of the Wright Flyer (flying from a dead stop, and making maneuvers that would have been impossible for the flyer).
- Likewise, even on the winter solstice (when you'd get the biggest advantage from latitude) it is impossible to take off from Washington, DC an hour before sunrise and make it to New York City in a single engine propeller plane and land in New York City before dawn. The plane simply isn't fast enough.
- Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Abraham Lincoln's statue.
- Better to Die Than Be Killed: At the end of the film, Amelia decides to take a plane and fly off into the wild blue yonder, and certain death, since she'll turn to dust once the sun rises. However, she wants to die doing what she loves, rather than spend the rest of her existence as an inanimate statue.
- Big Bad: Kahmunrah
- Big Damn Heroes: It doesn't get much bigger than the Lincoln from the Lincoln Memorial saving you.
- Brick Joke: Daley's Devices seems to be built on Larry's experiences in the museum; in particular, the "unloseable keychain" stems from the kleptomaniac capuchin monkey.
- Larry loses his smartphone when he and Amelia Earhart are chased into the VJ Day In Times Square portrait, which is picked-up by a seaman from Brooklyn. A post-credits scene has this sailor tinkering with the device in his home. His name? Joey Motorola.
- Captain Obvious: That one Tuskegee airman may as well be named this.
- Casting Gag: The trio of singing cherubs are played by the Jonas Brothers.
- Chekhov's Skill: Larry's moves with his flashlight. First just a cool move, by the end of the movie, a life-saver.
- In a similar vein, the capuchin kept stealing Larry's keys, somehow teaching Larry enough to steal Brundon's keycard.
- Cultural Translation: The Italian rendition of the movie is literally riddled with them, often bordering on the Getting Crap Past the Radar:
- While in the original dub Napoleon, upon meeting Amelia and Larry just gives them an Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other speech, in the Italian rendition Napoleon compares their sexual tension to the many romances he had in life, quipping that he may have sired lots of sons who never knew their ancestry. This apparently innocent exchange turns into blatant Getting Crap Past the Radar (given the then currently Italy political situation) when Napoleon describes one of his latest descendants in detail: the potential descendant of an Italian lover, a jolly, funny fellow, short of stature but always overtly cheesy and cheery, who "is really important in his Country", and "once used to be a cruise ship crooner".
Brandon Brundon gets turned on the stereotypical Neapolitan fellow, braggart, slang-spewing and with a deep-set veneration for Maradona.
- Deliberately Monochrome: Al Capone and his men, and also the artistic photograph of 1945 in Smithsonian.
- Demoted to Extra: The exhibits who have to stay at the Museum of Natural History during the movie (except for Teddy Roosevelt, who was also a metal bust at the Smithsonian).
- Deus Exit Machina: The statue of Abraham Lincoln walks off after dispatching Kahmunrah's underworld army, since it would have been a Curb-Stomp Battle had he stayed for the climax.
- Distracted from Death: A non-lethal variant. Teddy Roosevelt is about to go back to being wax, and wants to give him one last bit of advice before he does so. However, unfortunately, just as he is about to give said advice, Larry has to take a phone call, and looks up to find that Teddy has already turned to wax by the time he finishes talking.
- Doppelgänger Replacement Love Interest
- Dramatic Drop: Al Capone, rather tellingly, drops the Einstein bobblehead when Kahmunrah opens the portal to the netherworld.
- Enemy Civil War: Larry starts one by first implying that Kahmunrah is the "master" of Ivan the Terrible, Napoleon, and Al Capone, who don't take it very well.
- Fake Ultimate Hero: General Custer.
- Fanservice: This being a family movie, there's something for everyone - Amelia Earhart's really, really tight pants for the boys (and dads); Ahkmenrah's Bare Your Midriff costume for the girls (and moms).
- Flashlight Fu: Larry's skill with a flashlight in Battle for the Smithsonian, also brought as a Chekhov's Skill.
- Fly-at-the-Camera Ending: With an old fashioned biplane.
- Funny Background Event: Plenty of these in the art gallery and aerospace museum scenes.
- Genius Ditz: The Einstein bobbleheads. Admittedly, some versions tell that Einstein was quite goofy.
- Genki Girl: Amelia Earhart
- The Greatest Story Never Told: Larry's the only one who knows about the Battle for the Smithsonian.
- The Smithsonian therefore has both the worst security and best maintenance staff of all time.
- The Guards Must Be Crazy: We only see one security guard for the Smithsonian, and it seems to be the slowest night ever in Washington, DC - no one notices a thing amiss. Where's the DOD when you need them?
- Hands Go Down: Kahmunrah after being asked about his tunic thinking it's a dress by Al Capone and Ivan the Terrible.
Kahmunrah: Are there any other questions?
(Napoleon's hand goes up)
Kahmunrah: Any questions not about the dress... tunic.
(Napeleon's hand goes down)
- Hidden in Plain Sight: The movie ends with Larry selling his company and donating the money to the AMNH, under the guise of funding more "high-end" upgrades to the exhibits, allowing the exhibits to come alive at night without any fear of breaking the Masquerade.
- Historical In-Joke: The WW2 sailor who nabs Larry's cellphone is named Joey Motorola. Wait, does this mean the Timey-Wimey Ball could be in effect?
- Historical Beauty Update: Amy Adams plays Amelia Earhart Beat. Umm... She Cleans Up Nicely, but in those pics she could stand to gain a few pounds.
- Historical Villain Upgrade: Ivan the terr... er, the Awesome complains about this in the second movie, just before acting the part for the rest of it.
- Hollywood History: Subverted somewhat with Ivan the Terrible, who points out that a more accurate translation of his nickname would be "the Awesome", and that he was in fact a fairly good ruler.
- Homage: Larry scouting out the Smithsonian is accompanied by background music from National Treasure. Note that both movies involve breaking into a national museum.
- Jedediah and Octavius use combat moves lifted intact from 300 when they're attacking the mooks' feet.
- Hypocritical Humor: Al Capone makes fun of Kahmunrah's tunic, calling it a "dress". Ivan the Terrible also makes fun of Kahmunrah's "dress", even though he himself is wearing a fairly long robe that itself might be easily mistaken for a dress.
- In a somewhat darker example, we have this line: "You'll never get lost following Amelia Earhart."
- Identical Grandson: Subverted with the girl at the end who looks like Amelia Earhart. Apparently they're not related. As far as she knows.
- Idiot Ball: Larry seems to have forgotten that it was well established in the previous film that simply turning the middle piece of the tablet cancels the spell, meaning he could effectively solve the entire problem in seconds.
- When Larry returns to the villains and is given the hourglass with his trapped friend, why doesn't he immediately free Jed, by opening the glass as quickly as Kahmunrah closed it? Or at the very least turn it upside down to let the sand flow away from him? Instead, he stands there for a huge part of the dialogue just holding it (at least having the sense to hold it horizontally so no more sand pours on Jed). Later on, the hourglass once again falls on the floor upright, putting the cowboy in mortal danger again.
- I Have Your Friend: When Kahmunrah discovers that the tablet's combination has changed, he traps Jedediah (whom his men captured earlier) in an hourglass (in the side that's filling up with sand) to force Larry to figure out the new combination for him.
- I Lied: Kahmunrah says this word-for-word to Jed as he's trapping him in the hourglass:
Kahmunrah: (holding a squirming, shouting Jedediah) Don't squirm, don't squirm, you'll only make it worse. Come now, I shan't hurt you. (drops Jed into the hourglass and shuts it) Oops, I lied. (flips hourglass over)
- Improbable Weapon User: Larry and his flashlight.
- Insistent Terminology: Brandon/Brundon... oh, and Kahmunrah's dress sense:
Kahmunrah: This is not a dress, it is a tunic!
- It Is Pronounced "Brundon", despite being spelled the same as "Brandon".
- Large Ham: Kahmunrah. Hank Azaria must have had a lot of fun....
"I have come back to LIFE!!!"
- Leeroy Jenkins: Custer.
- Legion of Doom: Kahmunrah forms one to rule the Smithsonian. Darth Vader and Oscar the Grouch try to join up, but are turned away for apparently not being evil or scary enough. Vader's having been a Tragic Villain who redeems himself before his death is a big strike against him, and Oscar's just... Well, a grouch.
- Lzherusskie: Ivan the Terrible is played by Brit Christopher Guest.
- Mayfly-December Romance: Amelia Earheart and Larry. There's obvious sexual tension between them, but Larry deliberately chooses to spur her advances knowing how, upon taking the Tablet away, Amelia will return to her lifeless, mannequin status, dooming their romance to live and die in a single night, and vowing to spare the horrible truth to Amelia. Amelia has different ideas though: she already knows, she just doesn't care that much.
- Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Amelia Earhart.
- Mission Pack Sequel
- No Endor Holocaust: The destruction or disappearance of some of the most valuable artifacts in human history and a large break-in into a government facility. All signs clearly point to Larry being the one responsible. Are you telling me no-one's investigating this? When you realize his sole alibi is that he was protecting the world from an undead army and allied with waxworks brought to life by magic. Yeah... Larry's likely going to be in prison for a long time.
- Oh, Crap: That's the exact translation of the Bird-warriors' screeches when Abraham Lincoln's statue enters the battle.
- Overly Long Gag: Often the plot stops dead to allow for various characters to have a back-and-forth argument, seemly just made up of snappy lines the writers came up with.
- Painted-On Pants: Amelia Earhart's pants. In fact, she's the page picture.
- Parental Favoritism: Kahmunrah said that his "mother and father" gave Egypt to the more thoughtful Ahkmenrah.
- The Password Is Always Swordfish: The tablet opens a portal to the underworld after punching in... the value of Pi to the first eight decimal places.
- Portal Picture: Larry and Amelia escape into The VJ Day Kiss in Times Square photo. Due to Larry accidentally leaving his cell phone there, it falls into the hands of a kid named Joey Motorola.
- Punctuated! For! Emphasis!:
- "I! Have come back! To life!"
- "Don't! Cross! This! Line! With your hand!"
- Reality Is Unrealistic: In-universe example: some kids complain about how Rexy's "animatronics" suck. Rexy, who's genuinely mobile and only acting like he's animatronic, roars to scare the pants off the doubters.
- Retired Badass: Larry passes as this on his interaction with Brandon... I mean, Brundun.
- Sadistic Choice: Kahmunrah forces Larry to choose between finding the new tablet combination (which will allow Kahmunrah to unleash an underworld army to kill him and wreak havoc) or letting his friend Jed die via drowning in sand in an hourglass.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: The short stay of the Bird-Warriors.
- Sequel Non-Entity: Rebecca doesn't appear or get mentioned in the sequel, despite starting a relationship with Larry at the end of the first film.
- Slap-Slap-Kiss: Spoofed.
- Small Name, Big Ego: Custer at first.
- Stock Parody: Of 300.
- Take That: At one point Kahmunrah refuses to accept Oscar the Grouch and Darth Vader as accomplices.
- Well, it is Vader with no powers or Lightsaber who won't even talk. If you didn't know who he was you wouldn't be impressed either. Oscar is just vaguely... Grouchy, and he lives in a garbage can.
- Villain Team-Up: Kahmunrah, Ivan the Terrible, Napoleon, and Al Capone.
- Weaponized Landmark: The Lincoln Memorial.
- Wilhelm Scream: In the Air and Space Museum.
- What Happened to the Mouse?:
- Amelia flies off into the sunset at the end. Unless the plane turned to dust with her, there's going to be one hell of a crash in the morning. May be lampshading the real Amelia Earhart's fate where she disappeared while flying over the Pacific in 1937.
- How is Larry going to explain the destruction or disappearance of some of the most valuable artefacts in human history?
- Writers Cannot Do Math: Played with. Some bobblehead Albert Einsteins tell Larry that the value of π (pi) is 3.14159265 "to be exact", however, they were specifically providing the exact code for the tablet, rather than saying that this is definitely where Pi stops.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Once Kahmunrah opens the gate to the underworld, he no longer needs Larry (whom he had had previously allowed to live so Larry could find the tablet's combination for him). Thus, his first command to the underworld soldiers is for them to kill Larry. Luckily, the arrival of Octavius and Abraham Lincoln distracts him.
- You Said You Would Let Them Go: Played with. It's clear in the Overly Long Gag between Larry and Kahmunrah with the hourglass, tablet, and combination that Larry is trying to avoid this situation. He is Genre Savvy enough to know that Kahmunrah probably won't release his friends and return Jed even if Larry does give him what he wants (and, in fact, the back-and-forth banter between the two implies that this is indeed the case), so he demands that Kahmunrah fulfill his end of the bargain before Larry holds up his. However, once Kahmunrah's henchmen show up with the combination, Kahmunrah snatches the tablet from Larry before carelessly tossing Jed's hourglass over his shoulder (which Larry then catches). He does not, however, say anything about releasing Larry's other friends, and it's implied that Kahmunrah doesn't care if Larry gets Jed back at that point because they'll both be killed by his Underworld Army anyway.
Secret of the Tomb
- Adam Westing: Hugh Jackman (Arthur) and Alice Eve (Guinevere), when Lancelot gatecrashes their Camelot play.
- Doubles as Actor Allusion when Hugh Jackman tries threatening Lancelot as Wolverine. Understandingly, Lance doesn't get it.
- Amazingly Embarrassing Parents / Fantastic Racism: Ahkmenrah's parents have a moment of this when they first meet Larry and the rest of the group, as they proclaim that their Egyptian gods are the "true gods". When Larry patiently explains that several members of their group practice other religions, he concludes by saying that he is half-Jewish, at which point Ahk's parents happily proclaim, "We have thousands of Jews! Such nice people!" Poor Ahk actually hangs/ducks his head in embarrassment. To be fair, his parents were simply being Innocently Insensitive (since those views were perfectly reasonable during their time), and didn't have any malicious intent in their comments. Larry seems to realize this, as he doesn't take offense to it and is perfectly polite throughout the conversation.
- Artistic License – History: Larry is barely able to lift Lancelot's sword, mirroring a common belief that knightly swords were so heavy and unwieldy that only a strong, trained user could even lift them. In reality, the average one-handed sword rarely weighed more than two pounds.
- Badass: Lancelot has incredible sword skills.
- Bittersweet Ending: At the end of the movie, Ahkmenrah and the tablet have been saved and although they stay at the British museum, they temporarily return to New York as part of a special exhibit, along with a couple of the British exhibits (Lancelot and Trixie). McPhee finally realizes that the exhibits truly come to life, Tilly is reunited with her Neanderthal love Laa, and the movie ends with a Dance Party Ending. The sad part about it comes from Larry not being there; though we see him outside the museum, noticing the dance party with a smile, we never get to see if he ever goes into the museum and/or sees his friends again. What's more, a line from McPhee plus some Fridge Logic seems to imply that he can't go back there to be a night guard again, since he allowed himself to get fired in order for McPhee to keep his job (see Taking the Heat).
- Book Ends: During Larry's first night in the first movie, Teddy pranks Larry just before turning to wax at sunrise. During Larry's final night in the third movie, Teddy does it again.
- The Cameo: Aside from the abovementioned Adam Westing, Cecil, Gus and Reginald from the first movie are now in a nursing home. Cecil is relevant to the plot in the first act of the film.
- Chekhov's Gun:
- The YouTube video (of cats chasing a laser light) that Jed and Octavius watched in the beginning of the film gives Larry an idea to distract the giant lion statues in England later.
- The defibrillators. The first time, Laa is messing around with them. The second time? Larry uses them to fry the bronze Xiangliu statue.
- Contrived Coincidence: The tablet, after briefly acting up right when the exhibits woke up at the British Museum, is then perfectly fine for the next 30+ minutes of the movie...until the group is trying to sneak through a room with a sleeping Chinese statue of a nine-headed dragon. Of course this is when the tablet acts up again and makes the group start acting weird, which wakes up the dragon so Larry, Nick, and Lancelot can have an awesome battle with it.
- Deliberate Values Dissonance: Ahkmenrah's parents proudly boast of owning thousands of Jews, much to the embarrassment of their son. Larry politely explains that the Jews were not in fact ok with it and kinda walked off one day.
- Diabolus Ex Machina: An interesting twist in that the exhibits do this to themselves near the end. They decide that Ahkmenrah—and thus his tablet as well—should remain in the British Museum with his family, which means that they would not be able to come to life anymore, despite spending most of the movie trying to restore the tablet so they could still live. This disregards the fact that Ahkmenrah actually belongs to the American Museum, and his absence would be noticed.
- Also, the other exhibits are all Ahkmenrah's friends that he's known for years, and he knows what will happen to them if he and the tablet stay in Britain. The fact that he would be cool with it seems really out-of-character.
- The novelization does state that there were other mummies in the exhibits, who were also his friends and whom he hadn't seen for years.
- Expy: The American archaeologist at the beginning is pretty much one of Indiana Jones, except with a fancy waistcoat.
- Failed Attempt at Drama: Lancelot is threatened by Hugh Jackman doing his Wolverine pose. Lancelot of course doesn't get it, and Jackman's co-star admits it would probably have worked better if he were shirtless and had the claws.
- Five-Man Band: There are many more than five people in the group that goes to London, but they still fit this dynamic:
- Heel-Face Revolving Door: Lancelot starts off being on the heroes' side, helping them defeat Trixie the triceratops and then the Xiangliu statue, but then pulls a Face-Heel Turn once he believes that the tablet is the Holy Grail he seeks, stealing it and trying to flee to Camelot. However, once he discovers that he is a made-up character and Camelot isn't real, and after witnessing the exhibits starting to die, he pulls a Heel-Face Turn and gives Larry the tablet back, ultimately returning to being (and remaining) one of the good guys.
- Heel Realization: When Larry desperately tries to keep Dexter alive as the tablet is about to lose its power completely, Lancelot realizes that Larry's quest was never about the tablet, but about saving his friends, and returns it on the spot.
- Heroic BSOD / Villainous BSOD: Lancelot can be both or either, depending on your perspective. After stealing the tablet from Larry, when Lance realizes that he is not a real character and Camelot/Guinevere aren't real, he has one of these. Seeing the New York exhibits dying snaps him out of it and convinces him to pull a Heel-Face Turn.
- Hot-Blooded: Lancelot, who's always eager for a fight.
[The group sees the sleeping Xiangliu]
Lancelot: All right, let's kill it.
Larry: No, we're not gonna kill it! It's asleep.
Lancelot: You're right, it wouldn't be sporting to kill it while it sleeps. ... All right, let's wake it up, then kill it.
[Later, once the dragon wakes up]
Lancelot: Ah, good. Now we can kill it.
- Hydra Problem: Averted. The Xiangliu is a Chinese Hydra, but since the statue is made of metal, the electric shock of a defibrillator takes all of the nine heads down.
- Knotty Tentacles: Larry unwittingly does this to one of the Xiangliu's heads while trying to escape from it.
- Let Us Never Speak of This Again: Jed and Octavius agree never to speak of their trip to Pompeii, from which they were saved by Dexter and his urine.
- Literal-Minded: Inverted. When Larry and Laa are locked in the break room by Tilly, Larry is trying to get the door open while also chatting with Laa about his son Nick. Laa points at the door and then at his head, and Larry interprets this as Laa saying that he should be more open-minded to Nick's point of view. Turns out, Laa was the one who was being literal-minded; he was actually signaling that he wanted to ram his head into the glass window on the door so they could break the glass and open it (which he then does).
- Lunacy: Turns out that exposure to moonlight will recharge the tablet and undo the corrosion that was taking it over.
- Mayfly-December Romance: Tilly and Laa.
- Passing the Torch: Larry to Tilly, now that Ahkmenrah's tablet will stay in the British Museum.
- Shaggy Dog Story / Shoot the Shaggy Dog: The whole movie starts to feel like this near the end (for most of the characters, anyway). The entire reason for everybody going to the British Museum was to fix the tablet so all of the museum exhibits could keep coming to life. This is after the whole point of the second movie was to establish that Larry needs his museum friends in his life. Yet, after they succeed in doing so, the other exhibits decide that Ahkmenrah and his tablet should stay at the British Museum with his family, meaning that everybody else, who will go back to New York, will stop coming to life anyway. Needless to say, poor Larry is heartbroken about this. Thankfully, this is averted at the very end when the tablet does come back to the museum, albeit three years later.
- Scenery Porn: The Tomb of Akhmenrah, discovered in 1938 at the beginning, as well as the scenes in Ancient Egypt. Oh, and the bit where the team walks into the white room with all the assorted exhibits lumbering around.
- Sequel Goes Foreign: The gang heads to London this time.
- Taking the Heat: Larry does this for McPhee near the end. As a result of a Hayden disaster at the beginning of the movie (caused by the tablet starting to rust and malfunction), McPhee is being forced to resign (essentially, being fired) as Museum Curator. However, at the end of the film, once it's determined that the museum exhibits will no longer come to life, it's implied that Larry no longer wants to work at the museum (which is understandable, since it would likely be too painful for him), and as a result, he takes the blame for the incident and resigns in McPhee's stead, allowing McPhee to keep his job.
- Time Skip: At the very end of the movie, the plot jumps ahead three years for the last scene.
- Toilet Humor: Dexter pees on Larry. He uses it again on Jed and Octavius, saving them from the Pompeii lava. Then once again just because he thought it was funny.
- Tomato in the Mirror: Lancelot spends most of the film ignorant of what he really is, until he stumbles upon a stage play of Camelot. The revelation hits him so hard he'd rather let the tablet degrade completely than live a farce.
- Tragic Villain: Lancelot. Though he does cause problems for the group...it's only because he sincerely doesn't know any better as a 'newborn' and the world he sincerely believed was true is just a legend.
- Use Your Head: Laa does this to a door window in order for him and Larry to escape the break room.