Sunday, May 24, 2009

Movie #10: Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian

I saw Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian today in theaters with a couple of friends, and I have to say, it was a lot of fun. Although not an especially serious or philosophical movie, or even arguably especially high-quality, it was an enjoyable film, and a much-needed laugh after the intensity of Air Force One. It's the sequel to Night at the Museum, the somewhat popular Ben Stiller film from a couple of years ago. Stiller is back as Larry Daley, a former night guard at NYC's Museum of Natural History whose company has now taken off, meaning that he no longer has to work nights guarding the historical and natural figures who come to life at night in the museum. Although he is successful, Larry seems to miss his old job, and comes one night to visit the museum where he used to work and the characters with whom he worked...only to discover that they're being shipped to the Federal Archives in Washington for storage. When monkey Dexter steals the tablet that brings the figures to life, Larry has one night to get it back before all hell breaks loose. Featuring all the old favorites from the previous movie, Battle of the Smithsonian also adds characters like Amelia Earhart, Gen. Custer, Rodin's The Thinker, Al Capone, a pharoah who wants to rule the world, and even Abraham Lincoln.
The dialogue was entertaining, the plotline was amusing if similar to the original, but for me the two most fun parts of this movie were the actors/characters and the location. I love DC, so it's always exciting for me to see vistas and locations in the city in a movie or TV show. I have to admit though, on that note, that what happened to some of said gorgeous and historic locations made the historian in me cringe. Ben Stiller continued to be mildly entertaining as Larry Daley, but it was the supporting cast that really made the movie. Hank Azaria was hysterical as Pharoah Kahmunrah, trying to conquer the modern world and trying out Archie Bunker's armchair as he waited, and Robin Williams' reprised role as former President Theodore Roosevelt is still great to watch. All in all, don't go see this if you want serious quality filmmaking-- but if you want a flick that doesn't require too much brainpower, Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian is a really fun movie.

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