Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian
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Night has fallen upon the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. The guides have gone home, the lights are out, the school kids are tucked in their beds... yet something incredible is stirring as former night guard Larry Daley (Ben Stiller) finds himself lured into his biggest, most imagination-boggling adventure yet in which history truly comes alive. In this second installment of the Night at the Museum saga, Larry faces a battle so epic it could only unfold in the corridors of the world's largest museum. Now, Larry must try to save his formerly inanimate friends from what could be their last stand amid the wonders of the Smithsonian, all of which, from the famous paintings on the walls to the rocket ships in the halls, suddenly have a mind of their own.
Ben Stiller wrestles with extinct beasts, historical figures, and meddling monkeys in Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, the sequel to the popular 2006 special-effects extravaganza. This time, the ancient Egyptian tablet (the one that brings all the exhibits at New York's Museum of Natural History to life at night) is being shipped off to the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C.--which, as the movie diligently tells us, is the largest museum in the world. Naturally, former museum guard Larry Daley (Ben Stiller) heads down to rescue it (and, by extension, keep his magical museum friends alive). He ends up fighting with a nasty pharaoh who talks like Boris Karloff (Hank Azaria, The Simpsons) and falling in love with Amelia Earhart (Amy Adams, Enchanted). All the old gang are along for the ride, including Dexter the monkey; much face-slapping and special effects ensue. There aren't many surprises, but Battle of the Smithsonian is cheerful enough to entertain everyone who enjoyed the first movie. Extras include commentaries by the director and the writers, the usual self-congratulatory making-of featurette, deleted scenes that are actually as good as the rest of the movie, an alternate ending, and an entirely pointless second disc about Crystal, the capuchin monkey who plays Dexter (the monkey disc has less than a half-hour of material, including two mediocre games). The great supporting cast from the first movie returns, including Owen Wilson, Steve Coogan, and Robin Williams. --Bret Fetzer
Stills from Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian (Click for larger image)
- Commentary by Director Shawn Levy
- Commentary by Writers Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon
- The Curators of Comedy: Behind the Scenes of Night At The Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian
- 5 Deleted Scenes with Commentary by Shawn Levy
- Alternate Ending
- Gag Reel
- Phinding Pharoah
- The Jonas Brothers in Cherub Bootcamp
- Trailer Farm: Family Catalog Trailer, Space Chimps 2, Glee, Aliens in the Attic
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Many of the cast return, though some, like Robin Williams and Brad Garrett, insultingly get less screen time here. Dick Van Dyke, Mickey Rooney, and Bill Cobbs are nowhere to be seen, which is disappointing as I would have at least liked a cameo of these guys. The previous love interest, played by Carla Gugino, is also gone. In her place is Amy Adams, playing the brought-to-life version of Amelia Earhart. While I am a certified life-long fan of Amy Adams and therefore have absolutely no problem with her appearance in this film, I would still like to know what happened to the girl from the last film...this isn't a James Bond thing...Ben Stiller couldn't pull that off.
But Amy Adams isn't the only positive addition to the cast. Also coming onto the screen is Bill Hader, turning out a very memorable and highly enjoyable performance as General George Armstrong Custer. Our villain this time around is Hank Azaria, playing Kahmunrah, the evil mummified brother of Akhmenrah, the mummy from the first film. He plots to summon an army from the underworld to conquer our world with the aide of the tablet, which is now a numbered dial pad as opposed to the sliding puzzle it was last time (Boo!) How did this power of the tablet never come up before? Why was the tablet's format changed?
The cast was again quite good, even if some got short-changed on screen time. I don't understand why the statue of Abraham Lincoln from the Lincoln Memorial needed to be in this as I saw no valid point to it. I'm sure others already established in the film could have pulled off what he did. It was just too out there for me.
So this film's got its ups and downs. Unfortunately, its downs slightly overshadow the ups and cost it that fifth star. I will say that I liked this film's ending better though. The first film's closing scenes were good, but I just liked these more...I'm fairly certain my obsessive fan worship has something to do with that. As far as sequels go, this one's solid and worth watching if you liked the first one. Enjoy.
Some of the good include the paintings that come to life and what happens when the tablet is brought to the air and space building. There is pure pandemonium as everything comes to life. For the bad, well, this movie is just mindless fun. The son is wasted and so is Ricky Gervais. Also, the moral at the end isn't needed in a movie like this.