Movie Review - Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian

Ben Stiller’s at it again, running around museums with a huge entourage of the best of the best character actors in the biz only this time he’s in D.C.’s Smithsonian Museums instead of New York’s Museum of Natural History. This is a great family movie to start out the summer movie season. “Museum 2” is creative, fun, witty, and actually has a little bit of history incorporated too. Don’t expect career defining performances, but expect to sit back, relax and enjoy an adventure (Amelia Earhart would be proud!).

- History Come to Life – I bet every kid has wondered what it would be like to have the exhibits in a museum spring to life. The two “Museum” movies have brought that exciting day dream to the theaters. The highlights of the second film include Amelia Earhart, of course, Einstein, living photographs (this is a really neat effect), Al Capone, Ivan the Terrible, Napoleon Bonaparte, and a lot more.

- The Visuals – Two special effects that I really enjoyed were: 1) the photographs becoming animated and interacting with the events at the museum (also, Stiller and Adams end up in the famous Sailor kissing a Nurse photo and play out a scene in 1942). And 2) is an effect specific to Al Capone and his men – because their exhibit was in black white, the gangsters remained in black and white even when they came to life! It was fun to watch as the black and white Capone stood next to the very colorful Ivan the Terrible and little Napoleon Bonaparte.

- Amy Adams – Stole every scene she was in! She nailed the 1920’s/1930’s era lingo and speech pattern perfectly. She’s the Adams we all love - lighthearted, a little kooky, but smart and self reliant.

- Hank Azaria – Mostly he’s Kahmunrah (big brother to Museum One’s Ahkmenrah), but also adds the voices to Abe Lincoln and the Thinker statue. Azaria’s flexibility is astonishing – he’s great at choosing the comedic quirks of his characters. Kahmunrah has a bit of lisp and throws a fit when people touch his stuff. He and Adams are enough reason alone to watch Museum 2.

- The Character Actor Guest List – Stiller recruited the top funny folk in the movie industry for this movie. The hilarious ensemble includes - Owen Wilson, Robin Williams, Christopher Guest, Steve Coogan, Ricky Gervais, Bill Hader, Jay Baruchel, Clint Howard and about half the cast of “The Office.”

- Plot, Not So Much – When it comes to movies with you-can’t-wait-to-see-what-happens-next plots, Museum 2 is not one of those movies. But that’s ok, it wasn’t supposed to be.

- Monkey Slapping – I love monkeys! But the scene where Stiller, the Monkey from the first movie and a new Monkey are slapping each other goes on waaaaaay too long!

- Under Utilizing the Talent – Though the cast is impressive, the most talented of them all Robin Williams and Christopher Guest are the least to speak! Even the Neanderthals have more lines!

- The Jonas Brothers – A better choice for the singing Cherubs would have been Justin Timberlake.

“Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian” is a great way to spend the afternoon with your kids (young or in their 20’s as per my case). Historical figures left and right are springing into action and interact with Stiller and Adams to help out in unexpected ways. Is it a history lesson with a funny script? Definitely not, but, as my dad said “If it gets even one kid to go home and Google “Sacajawea” then it’s a good thing” (I’m paraphrasing, sorry dad). But is it a funny adventure film with a huge cast of talented character actors? You bet! It may be a rental, but it’s definitely an entertaining summer sequel.

What did you think of the movie? Cheesy sequel or fun film?

"Basically, I'm for anything that gets you through the night - be it prayer, tranquilizers or a bottle of Jack Daniels.” – Frank Sinatra
So may the prayers, tranquilizers and JD be with you and see you next time.

1 comment:

MKJ said...

I can't wait to see this one! I am trying to go and see it in I-MAX as soon as I have the time/funds/someone to go with.

Wow, that made me sound like a loser, lol.