Okay, this is the very last part of the “Diminished Characters” segment. Now, this character is not a television character but I feel very strongly about his lack of screen time in the three respective movies so he’s a “bonus” post.
Pharaoh Ahkmenrah-Night at the Museum Trilogy
When I first saw Night at the Museum, it was fun and cute and the mysterious Pharaoh Ahkmenrah was built up throughout the film as being terrifying. The night guard referenced it, when everyone woke up, Larry experienced the sarcophagus shaking and screams erupting from it. Even Teddy Roosevelt yelled at him “You haven’t been out in 50 years we’re not gonna let you out now!” or something to that effect and when we meet him, this cutie comes out of those mummy wrappings. I remember going “Omg! that dude is cute! Who is that!” Rami Malek… dude you’re not really in anything but omg you’re so cute. I hope they do more movies for your character lol. But in actuality, I think they didn’t do his character right, because in all honesty, after his introduction in the first film, he should have been the next leading character alongside Larry and Teddy.
Night at the Museum
What they did: So in the first film, Ahkmenrah is locked in his sarcophagus and when his tablet brings everything to life, he remains stuck and screams every night because he wants to be let out. When the old night guards steal it, Larry and his son Nicky have no choice but to let Ahkmenrah out. His introduction is a really cool scene. When the locks are undone, he throws the lid off, slowly sits up while growling at them in Egyptian, being all menacing and stuff and then he takes his face wrappings off and he is a young adult lol (my head canon is that he’s between 19-21 just because I think he ruled for a year or two before he died). He unfortunately doesn’t talk much, a few lines about his tablet here and there but nothing that is important which it should be. If anything, he should be the one explaining the magic behind it, or at least what he knows about it, it is HIS tablet after all. Then he’s playing around with the other exhibits the rest of the movie. It was nice to see but it happened a little too easily.
What they should have done: So for the first movie, it’s okay to have him be shrouded in mystery with everyone being so scared of him. That makes sense. But after he is freed, and he gives his little introduction and explains why he can speak English “He was on display in the Egyptology department at Cambridge University”, in which he probably could hear them talking around him and maybe he was able to roam around as his tablet brought him to life every night and he read books and what not, after he was freed, there should have been more centered around him instead of him just running around after Larry.
Anyway, he goes to help them and I don’t know, maybe instead of highlighting Sacagawea and Teddy’s “romance” (especially as she is pretty underdeveloped too but I’m not going to talk about her because her character is bogged down with actual history) and showing us Octavius and Jedidiah facing the gale winds from the tire they were flattening (I mean it was funny but come on), they could have spent a little extra time allowing us to understand the tablet and why the old night guards taking it would be such a bad idea instead of just allowing Larry to assume these things (or have the knowledge because Ahk told him off screen but for real, we should have seen it) and explain it himself. It would allow Ahk to not only have more screen talking time, but for the viewers to understand just why this tablet is so important outside of it bringing everyone to life at night. It would also allow everyone to make amends for leaving Ahk in that tomb for 54 years. I don’t remember anyone apologizing to him. So Teddy should have apologized on behalf of the museum and Ahkmenrah thanks them and someone sheepishly approaches him with a soccer ball (or something) to engage him with everyone else.
Conclusion: I think if they would have just allowed him a bit of time to actually feel welcomed into the community instead of just throwing him in there like 54 years wouldn’t have scarred him, then it would have added much more to his character. I know it’s a kid’s movie but kids aren’t stupid. Plus, he is legit an interesting character, so it would have been worth it.
Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian
What they did: He’s not even in this one!! At least not much. We learn that Larry left the position as night guard and is failing at his own company or something and a lot of exhibits are being shipped to the Smithsonian museum in D.C. but not Ahkmenrah so now it’s all sad because Atilla the Hun, Dexter, the miniatures (Octavius and Jed included) and Sacagawea among others are going and won’t be among those who wake up every night (which means that Sacagawea and Teddy are apart too). Dexter however steals the tablet and takes it with them to D.C so now Larry has to go there to get it back and shenanigans ensue. An important note is that they meet Kahmunrah, Ahk’s older brother (who is played by Hank Azaria and is friggin hilarious) who tries to get the tablet because he wasn’t to unite it with the “Gate of Kahmunrah” or something, which would allow the dead to come back or something. Basically Ahkmenrah is not there. We don’t see him again until the end where Larry has talked the curator into having a “night tour” where people can visit during the night hours when the exhibits are awake and Ahkmenrah is seen giving tours and talking about his tablet. He tries to tell two little girls what it does but they naturally don’t believe him.
What they should have done: I read the original script of the movie and Ahkmenrah was so much more involved. He was one of the exhibits moving to the Smithsonian so when they got there, Kahmunrah wakes up and he would know his little brother and his tablet are nearby and goes in search of it. So when Larry comes, he finds Kahmunrah and his guards posted outside the crate (which would indicate that this Kahmunrah is a wax figure and not the actual mummy otherwise he wouldn’t have frozen but decayed as he is real but no one mentioned that in the movie so they would in my version). There are some funny exchanges between Kahumrah and Larry, with Ahkmenrah interjecting every now and then because Kah was jealous of his favoritism and Ahk just wants him to get over it already.
Hijinks happen with Larry and Amelia Earhart and when they captured, Kah not only has the tablet now, but it’s revealed that he managed to pull Ahkmenrah out of the crate where the other Natural History exhibits were locked inside of and hold him prisoner, and that he killed Ahkmenrah in his sleep. All of this happens in the original script. That’s definitely important to the overall story, especially for Ahk’s character. He was a young king obviously, kinder than his older brother, probably the reason why he wasn’t coronated and Kah was jealous and killed him. All of that is very interesting stuff.
Kah tries to unleash his dead army, but the combination won’t work so he demands Ahk to tell him, they speak about their parents, giving a little more insight into their relationship with each other, and both their relationships with their parents, not to mention about the tablet. More interesting and important stuff!
There’s a scene (in the original script) where Ahkmenrah (after being beat up a bit by his brother’s guards) is showing the Natural History exhibits a battle plan, very elaborate that confuses everyone but shows that he obviously was a good tactician. Another hint at his history! Anyway, later when Kah tries to open the gate, the other exhibits come to fight, just as Kah and Larry square off, Ahkmenrah intervenes and ends up fighting his brother (you know that would have been awesome to see) and then he’s the one who kicks Kah through his “death” gate effectively sealing it and ending Kahmunrah.
There should have also been a scene, maybe a mid credits scene or something where Larry and Ahkmenrah talk about Kah and how it wasn’t really his brother as unlike Ahk (who did not freeze in the crate like the script says as he is an actual mummy figure and not wax) he froze. Meaning, the real Kah is probably still in his tomb in Egypt. Ahk could get emotional about it, knowing that maybe someday he would actually have to face his brother.
Conclusion: All of that actually works, it should have been kept. Ahkmenrah is one of the more interesting characters, where they are not actually locked in by history being that he is not a real pharaoh. There is plenty they could have done with him but they didn’t because… why? Every that happened in the movie is pretty much the same just with some added Ahkmenrah scenes. There would have been insight to his life, to his relationships with his family, about the tablet and more on what it can actually do and it would have been amazing. Plus, with Ahkmenrah being the one to finally subdue Kah and kick him through the death gate, it’s some kind of vindication. But to later find out it wasn’t the real one has to have some kind of… emotional something. The movie is already big, fun and hilarious, his scenes would have added to that but also given us more about him and his tablet and they would have added some drama.
Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb
What they did: Okay so Ahkmenrah is a bit more involved in this film, but he is still wrongfully a secondary character. The film starts out with the Museum of Natural History doing a benefit to raise more money but Ahkmenrah notices something is wrong with the tablet. It’s corroding causing everyone in the museum to act crazy, except Ahkmenrah who begins to fall out/over/weaken etc. Because of this, they go to the British Museum where his parents are in order to find out why the tablet is dying. While there, they meet Tilly (who is a bit extra if you ask me), bring along Laa (who really didn’t need to be in the movie at all), Lancelot (who is funny) and finally Ahkmenrah’s parents. He learns why the tablet was created (though Kahmunrah isn’t mentioned at all), that he was clearly the favorite and why the tablet is dying. It was created with the light of the moon, so it needs moonlight. We see Ahkmenrah continue to weaken and Larry tries to get the tablet into the moonlight but Lancelot takes it, thinking it’s the Holy Grail completing his quest. There’s a battle for it, and a chase scene (a funny scene with Hugh Jackman and Alice Eve) and everyone ends up on the rooftop. Teddy is turning back to wax, Sacagawea freezes, Attila the Hun is falling over also freezing, Ahkmenrah is literally decaying (though no one is worried about him back there) and the monkey falls over. Now look, I don’t mind the monkey but his shenanigans got old in the first movie, so I had a problem with the fact that Larry and his son run over to the dang monkey when the actual human person, whose tablet is the reason why everyone is alive in the first place, is back there dying… AGAIN. I mean after asking his father to tell the secrets of the tablet, he doesn’t talk again until the rooftop scene where he tells Larry they’re too late because he’s visibly starting to decay now. Lancelot sees the error of his ways, give the tablet back and Larry is able to allow the moonlight to fix it making everyone right as rain. Ahkmenrah stays in the British Museum with his parents, everyone else goes home. He doesn’t say anything again until he says goodbye to Larry but NO ONE ELSE says goodbye to him, I mean it’s not like it was his tablet that brought ya’ll to life all of those years, and ya’ll didn’t leave him locked up in his sarcophagus for 54 years, some of ya’ll probably antagonizing him through his screams… but he doesn’t deserve ya’ll goodbyes. Yep.
Larry explains everything to Tilly since she’ll be the night guard with the tablet. The exhibits visit the Natural History museum sometimes and finally Tilly tells McPhee (the Natural Museum of History’s curator) about the tablet.
What they should have done: I’m glad that Ahkmenrah was more involved in this film, for him not to know why the tablet was corroding means there’s a lot about it he didn’t learn. Throughout the film he grows weaker and weaker, as does everyone else but he literally should have been crumpling to the ground and I feel like he should have been reliving his death. Or is constantly in pain (but probably hides it) because maybe his reanimated organs are disappearing or he’s going through process like he’s losing them. He falls over in two scenes, where Larry catches him from falling, which is fine, but depending on how Kahmunrah killed him, it should have been us seeing that this is truly horrific and the stakes are high because without Ahkmenrah, the tablet will never work again as it is rightfully tied to his life, that’s never actually said but it would be interesting if that was true. So if Kah strangled him (which in my head canon he does), he should be struggling to breathe; in the second scene where he falls over, he does seem to be gasping for breath but outside of asking if he’s alright, it’s never actually talked about. If Kah had stabbed him, which is a popular opinion, not that kids have to see him bleeding (though I mean they watch worse stuff, and this movie could have been PG-13 without a problem), he could be grasping his chest or whatever… drama people! It works especially for a fan favorite character! Instead of all of those stupid scenes devoted to that Larry look-alike caveman they should have developed Ahkmenrah more.
When he sees his parents again, it’s a touching moment but it’s highjacked so quickly that he doesn’t even talk to his own parents for a time. The tablet starts to corrode more while he’s with them, if he’s decaying and dying again, he should have fallen. He also should have mentioned his brother and asked if his parents knew about him and what happened, at least to link the second movie to the third one. From this moment on, we can visibly see he’s weaker as he’s doubled over but everyone gets to comment on how they’re turning to wax, or how Atilla is not a punk and stop screaming everywhere due to his personality becoming faulty or that Sacagawea keeps freezing but no one actually mentions Ahkmenrah being in physical pain.
During the scene where they’re riding a bus, Ahk was sitting there trying to hold himself together and that should have been a moment where Larry and Teddy (or even Sacagawea) speak to him at least. He’s young and is probably scared, ask him how he’s doing, he could answer that he’s terrified of dying again. He died young the first time, how he spent years captive in his own tomb in Egypt, left by himself until his father joined him in death, then his mother (or maybe his father died first, he could still be coronated as king with his father alive so it would depend), later his brother who would be in the same tomb but separate only to be separated again by being split up him going to Cambridge and them going to the British Museum. Then being left in his “cage” at his new home for 54 years (allowing them to learn that even though he’s forgiven them he hasn’t necessarily gotten over it) only to be going through the motions again but this time… he’ll never wake up if they don’t fix this because if he dies in death, then the tablet will be rendered useless. HELLO! I mean why ignore that?? Again, they gloss over some good stuff for humor and a dumb romance between Tilly and Laa.
The scene on the rooftop, he has his two lines, he is visibly decaying and collapses holding onto the railing was handled pretty well, as Larry is trying to convince Lancelot to give them the tablet (though they could have cut that scene with him accidentally melting his nose by like 5 jokes), Sacagawea freezes, Teddy is half frozen and falls over, Atilla collapses, Jed and Octavius also are freezing up, and when the monkey falls over, yes give him a moment to mourn the monkey, then Ahkmenrah could have said something to Larry. Thank him for freeing him, and something should have been said or he should have gotten some sort of emotional send off as he’s about to die. Everyone else isn’t real. They’re all cool and stuff but still were never truly alive. I guess Dexter is a stuffed monkey, but Nicky could have at least been with Ahkmenrah if they wanted Larry to have a moment with the monkey. I would have preferred for Nicky to be with Ahkmenrah as my head canon is that Nicky views Ahk as a cool older brother, especially since Ahkmenrah also views Larry as a father or mentor.
Everyone is saved, Ahk can breathe again and when everyone is saying their goodbyes because they’re okay with him staying and he can make his rounds of goodbyes. However, I would think that since his display was only on “loan” to the British Museum, he couldn’t really stay as the Museum of Natural History owned his tomb. So technically, he should have gone back, Larry could have worked with McPhee to get it straightened out and then send him back to the British Museum. Anyway, Ahk would have had his moment with everyone because Larry can be emotional with the others later, they’ll be awake until dawn if we stick to the laws of the films. Ahk can thank Sac for being a wonderful friend and teacher (they should have had more scenes together, I feel they would have been best friends), thank Atilla for his wonderful stories as Ahk would translate for him, thank Jed and Octavius for including him in their adventures, hug Dexter, thank Nicky for introducing him to modern music and his love for Djaying and for being such a great little brother because it’s been so long since he’s had such a great brother (another hint at his and Kah’s relationship), thank and hug Teddy for being a great mentor and teaching him many things and lastly thank Larry for all that he’s done, being such a great friend, father and “Guardian of Brooklyn”.
Conclusion: Basically, in this movie, he’s there but not really. Sometimes it seems as if Rami Malek is waiting for direction in the background when he should be an established supporting character. He should not be secondary at all though. It is his tablet that brings everyone to life, he is the one with the most knowledge of the object and his history is a mystery. Being that this movie is about his tablet, features his parents and even the title is about him in a way, he should have been more involved and more important. Also, thanks to the greatness of Rami Malek, every time someone falls over because of the dying tablet, he does a little something to show that Ahk is also being affected, he shrinks over more, or visibly shows he’s in pain, or he struggles to remain upright and walk properly… and all of that is in the background.
Overall, the character of Ahkmenrah (who is played by someone of actual Egyptian descent by the way) is treated like a secondary background character when everything that happens in these movies is because of him. The first movie gets half a pass due to his character being a mystery and scary, but once he’s introduced, he should be cemented as being important. Second movie, he should have been throughout the movie as it was his older brother who was the villain, it would up the stakes and make things a bit emotionally dramatic as well as having sibling rivalry. That would have been funny and cool to see. For the third film, he was there but not really. As it’s his tablet, it should have been thoroughly explained if his after life “life” is directly connected to the tablet and what would happen to it if they failed to reignite the tablet with the moonlight. He should have been cared for due to him actually dying.
His character was cute, smart, regal, sassy, kind of morbid (that old Egyptian humor) and important! He deserved better in these movies. I should have been involved lol, I would have made sure he was given a proper storyline and character arc.
Let’s be real though and just give him his own movie. Rami Malek can do it, he doesn’t look as young as he did in the first film (I mean that was 10 years ago) but he is still pretty fresh faced! Give it to us!