Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian
Directed by Shawn Levy
Starring Ben Stiller, Amy Adams, Owen Wilson, Hank Azaria, Robin Williams
Heidi’s Illustrious Rating: If your eight-years-old, this one gets a 5, if you’re a little older, a 3.
Word of Warning: This one may be scary for little, little ones. One infant in the audience at our theater screamed during every loud scene, and there are quite a few earsplitting scenes.
This movie is a sequel to the 2006 movie “Night at the Museum.” In the first movie, Larry Daly (Ben Stiller) discovers the museum he guards comes to life at night, thanks to a magical Egyptian artifact housed within the museum. Every little piece of history, even the wax figures and miniatures perched in the museum’s dioramas, come alive. Daly becomes friends with Pocahontas and Teddy Roosevelt (Robin Williams), plays rousing games of fetch with the tyrannosaurus rex skeleton, and keeps the piece between miniature gladiators, Mayans and cowboys.
In this movie Larry Daly is no longer the night guard at New York’s Natural History Museum. He has become a successful inventor and pitchman of infomercial products. But when he receives a call from his little friend, Jedediah, he has to return to the uniform that changed his life.
The New York Museum of Natural History is renovating, and many of the older exhibits are being moved to the archives at the Smithsonian in Washington D.C., including Jedediah and his fellow miniatures, but not the magical stone. Larry Daly returns to the museum for one more night with his friends, believing this is the end for his exceptionally unique friends.
However, when he receives the call from Jedediah, from deep within the bowels of the underground archives at the Smithsonian, Daly springs into action. Dexter, the naughty monkey took the magical Egyptian artifact with him to the Smithsonian and now the gigantic museum is coming alive.
To be completely honest, I liked the first movie. Most critics didn’t agree with me, but I loved the storyline. I grew up going to museums and the idea of all the dioramas and exhibits coming alive at night feeds into my active childhood imagination. I also loved the casting; I’ve been a fan of Ben Stiller since “Reality Bites.”
Therefore, despite the poor reviews and the fact that I’m not eight-years-old, I saw this movie on opening weekend. With the concept already clearly outlined in the first movie, I knew this one wouldn’t be quite as good, but I held out hope that the casting of Amy Adams as Amelia Earhart and Hank Azaria as Kah-mun-rah would save it, and it did.
Blue-eyed Adams is the perfect as the adventure seeking, first female pilot to fly across the Atlantic, and Azarai is entertaining as a power hungry Egyptian with a lisp. Adams is the perfect sparkle to Stilller’s straight man act, and whether he’s voicing characters on “The Simpsons,” or playing an outrageous gay houseboy in “The Bird Cage,” or tackling the more seriously role as newspaper columnist Mitch Albrom in “Tuesdays with Morrie,” Azaria is always a scene stealer.
Granted, don’t over think anything you see in “Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian.” It’s better to sit back and enjoy this one as though you were a child – laugh at fountain cherubs chasing Daly and Earhart around the museum attempting to serenade them with love songs (if the cherubs voices sound familiar, it’s because they are voiced by the Jonas Brothers). Marvel at talking sculptures and lively paintings in which the characters on the canvas come alive. Be in awe as a massive stone Abe Lincoln leaves his longtime seat at the Lincoln Memorial.
“Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian” is silly, predictable, and it’s made for kids, but for those of us who remember what it was like to be a kid, it’s just plain fun.
***Also appearing in the Berthoud Weekly Surveyor.