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Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb
  • Composed by Alan Silvestri
  • Varèse Sarabande / 2014 / 58m

The final film in Shawn Levy’s unlikely trilogy Night at the Museum, Secret of the Tomb continues the historical adventures as museum exhibits come to life.  Alan Silvestri has been on board for all three movies and it’s fair to say the previous two scores, while perfectly professional jobs, weren’t amongst his more distinguished contributions to film music.  The third is undoubtedly the best of the bunch – the familiar Mummy Returns-style main theme makes a welcome reappearance, and the score alternates between lighthearted adventure (centering around a playful secondary theme) and rambunctious action.  Silvestri has always been a first-rate composer of action music and he gets to flex his muscles a few time here – “The Grand Re-Opening” perhaps the pick of them, later “Xiangliu” another highlight, with choir going full-pelt alongside the orchestra.  It’s at its best when it’s full-on – occasionally it’s more stop-start, as the earlier scores were, and those cues feel far less musically satisfying, flitting around and lacking focus when heard away from the film (and occasionally it’s got electronics – Alan Silvestri and electronics do not mix).

The biggest surprise comes as the score nears its conclusion, when it turns into a quite lovely piece of whimsy, the last ten minutes of so of the album being touching and genuinely warm, culminating in the gorgeous “Teddy’s Goodbye” (the Teddy in question being Roosevelt, played by Robin Williams in one of his final performances).  It’s not exactly classic Silvestri, but Secret of the Tomb does contain more than enough good material to satisfy any fan of the composer, with numerous highlights spread throughout the hour-long album; and it’s a more well-rounded score than either of its predecessors, Silvestri seeming to have more time to develop ideas and allow them to play out satisfyingly.

Rating: *** | |

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  1. tiago (Reply) on Sunday 25 January, 2015 at 03:14

    I guess Silvestri must’ve read Movie-Wave’s reviews of the two other Night at the Museum scores, because for the album of the third film he corrected the issue of the numerous short tracks.

    For me, the score for Secret of the Tomb is better than the other two, mostly because of the touching finale and the cue Xiangliu, probably Silvestri’s best action cue in a long while.

  2. Owen (Reply) on Sunday 25 January, 2015 at 04:39

    I would have to disagree on one of your points – that Silvestri and electronics do not mix. Certainly his more recent use of electronics has been distasteful, but scores like Predator and The Abyss have masterful synth integration.

    Other than that, great review! I was waiting for someone to review this one to see if it was worth purchase, but I think I’ll pass and just go listen to The Mummy Returns. Silvestri at his best.

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