Whenever a performer dies during that time between completing (or nearly completing) a performance, and seeing that performance released to the public, it becomes difficult for the viewing public to separate their love for the performer from their feelings about the performance. The third installment in the Night At The Museum franchise is no different; reviews regularly mention Robin Williams‘ performance in particular. People wrote specifically about Susan Schneider, Williams’ widow, attending the premiere, and the review at NDTV starts by specifically warning readers that Williams’ character of Teddy Roosevelt has several sad moments throughout Night at the Museum 3: Secret Of The Tomb.
Well, there goes the last Robin Williams film #NightAtTheMuseumSecretOfTheTomb it was…okay, I guess.
— Alesiopdv (@Alesiopdv) December 30, 2014
I watched Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb last night and every time Robin Williams came on the screen I wanted to cry.
— oppositeofwinter (@Sumwumwoo27) December 30, 2014
This is hardly a new phenomenon, of course. Brandon Lee’s performance in The Crow was gorgeous, but the movie reached a much broader audience due to the publicly garnered when Lee died during a freak accident on set. Some critics have said that while Heath Ledger’s performance in The Dark Knight was terrifying, his posthumous Oscar win had more to do with his death than it had to do with his life. Fans of Hunger Games are still feeling the effects of the death of Philip Seymour Hoffman, with a great deal of speculation made as to what exactly had to be changed in the fourth and final installment of the series, as Hoffman had not completed filming when he died. Sometimes, death can overshadow a performance.
Shoot might have to see the new night at the museum cause that’s the last movie Robin Williams will be in
— Jack (@squattingmoose) December 30, 2014
As John Campbell says in his review on Echo
The headliners who made the prequels such larks are back, although in the case of Robin Williams (as Teddy Roosevelt) there is a terrible poignancy about seeing the genius at work for the last time. Indeed, the closing scene, in which he farewells Larry (Ben Stiller), is heavy with a sadness that could never have been envisaged during the shoot.
The reviewers at Morning Star similarly felt that they were saying goodbye as they viewed the film.
It is these goodbyes that tug at the heartstrings, especially when you look into the eyes of Williams, who looks so tired and sad. I heard that they had to re-edit the ending as Williams’ farewell was too sad. I think that might have been wise. I, for one, went in knowing I was watching one of his last films and felt a bit melancholy the whole time.
Even the New York Times film critics spend more time discussing the effect of Williams’ unexpected passing on the film than on the substance of Night At The Museum. Granted, there’s not much else to talk about, from what the reviews say. If you enjoyed the first two Nights, you’d probably enjoy this one as well. If you’re going to say goodbye to the wonderful Mr. Williams, well, it seems that you won’t be disappointed there either.
Night at the museum 3 was really, really good. I loved it. Felt like a good end for Robin Williams. “Magic never dies.”
— Tanja (@rippi89) December 30, 2014