It’s a bit odd how the third Night at the Museum movie was supposed to be a way to say goodbye to the franchise, but seeing as how Hollywood thrives on reviving old ideas and trying to cash in on them it’s not hard to see how a fourth movie could come about, with animation at least. Robin Williams’ unfortunate passing has put a huge damper on the idea of making a live-action movie since there was really no one that could be brought in to replace the legendary comedian, but with animation, it feels likely that an attempt can at least be made to revive his character and make the fourth installment take shape. The idea, as it has been noted, is to focus on Larry Daley’s son, Nick, and possibly bring back Kahmunrah, who was played by the always funny Hank Azaria. Apart from that, it doesn’t sound as though a lot of the original cast would be brought back to voice the various characters, but the characters would in fact return. In a big way, this feels as though it would be made for roughly the same reason that a lot of movies are being made these days, nostalgia. There’s nothing wrong with nostalgia really since it brings back a lot of good memories, but it doesn’t always push new narratives as it turns about to focus on the past instead of the present and the possible future. Even if this fourth movie does manage to spark some creative end, it’s still likely that it wouldn’t do much more than say goodbye, again, to several characters that we’d already said goodbye to in the last movie.
It does sound as though the project is set to get underway by early November, which means any second thoughts have been abolished at this time or aren’t being taken that seriously, which is regrettable in one sense even if gives hope to those that are wanting to see another movie. The regrettable part is that the franchise really feels as though it was over and done with by the third movie and that we’d said our goodbyes and been just fine with it. That’s not how Hollywood works though, since if they get the idea that even a decent amount of profit can be made with something they’ll continue to revive it and drive the idea into the ground until there’s nothing left. It’s not too often that the business will leave an idea alone simply because it’s reached a conclusion that’s comfortable and doesn’t require another chapter. Some would argue that some stories don’t ever need to end since there’s so much material to be used, but the counter to this is that while it’s true, that many stories have multiple chapters that can go off in various ways, the mere act of continuing the story ‘just because’ eventually kills off any and all interest in the story since it’s exhausted everything that people want to pay attention to. The first movie was great since it brought a new idea to the table using old ideas in a new way. The second movie was decent since it introduced another dynamic that was fun and engaging, while the third was starting to run out of gas even if it was successful, as the idea was starting to become a bit tired and worn.
An animated story could be something interesting, but if one of the main points is that Nick is bound to take over as a night watchman like his father, then you might as well start rolling your eyes and looking for the most obvious and worn-out old jokes at this time since one knows that the writers will fall back on them and that they’ll be used as supports that will keep up the plot and possibly be used as a way to keep the story going. Let’s be honest and fair at the same time and say that this movie could be something that’s worth watching for the nostalgic feeling it could possibly give to those that were still growing up when the first movie came out, but let’s also be realistic when stating that this idea has continued down a road that has been largely the same for the past three movies, and needs a new route that can help it continue to be enchanting. It’s entirely possible to do, but to keep people coming back isn’t difficult since like it or not, a lot of us will gravitate towards something familiar, especially if there’s an idea that it might be presented in a different manner. People aren’t hard to figure out sometimes when it comes to entertainment, even if they’re incredibly fickle most times. That’s why this movie will likely be embraced initially, though it’s also why it could be forgotten not too long after its release.