I didn’t know when the next time I would write was going to be. And I didn’t it was going to be this. But for what it’s worth, here.
What word would you use to describe the way the movie Prince Caspian compared with The Lion, the Witch, adn the Wardrobe? Well, you can take that term, and apply it to Night at the Museum: Battle at the Smithsonian and it might fit.
Then again, that might be a bit strong. This film was far from top notch, but so was the first one. And of amongst all the continuations of stupid franchises that have been released every weekend this season, this one starts to look pretty good. (That’s always the way Hollywood works: by relativity).
Picking up two years after where the first one left off, this film find Larry Daley (Ben Stiller) at the top of his game. He has quit his job as a night guard, and is now running his innovation company (like he dreamed of before). And he has less and less to spend with his somewhat embittered friend at the Museum of Natural History. So he is surprised when he finds out that all his old friends- Jedediah the cowboy, Octavious, Sacagawea, Dexter the Capuchin, Attila the Hun, etc, etc.- are being boxed up and sent to the Smithsonian’s archives, to be replaced by new technology. (as a side note, this is hugely accurate, in that more and more museums are morphing into interpretive centres). There is one final reunion, then they’re all packed away. Without the Tablet from the first one.
Imagine Larry’s surprise, then, when the next night Jed calls him and tells him that Dexter has stolen the Akmunrah tablet, and now the biggest museum on earth is coming to life. And apparently, an evil Pharaoh, Kahmunrah (who has a lisp), has plans to take over…..
True to the first one, the new Night is packed with goofy humour. But while it exceeded in quantity, it slumped in quality. I laughed out loud while in the theatre, but little of the humour was mature. What kept a slight air of sophisticated fun were the historic figures: The dozen or so Einstein bobble-heads (hee hee), Amelia Earhart, General Custer (heh heh), and the compatriots of the evil Pharaoh: Ivan the Terrible, Napoleon, and Al Capone. Other new character or items would include a space monkey, the Thinker, paintings, skeletons, animals, and Cupids. These, along with all the characters from the first, set the stage for a Chronicles of Narnia style battle scene at the end, only funnier.
Of course, having more of almost everything than the first one, it’s only fitting that this movie should be more annoying and in some ways more stupid. A pointless romance between Larry and the feministic Amelia is shoved in. Abraham Lincoln is given airtime, enough to shoo away a crowd of creatures that Kahmunrah has called from the “underworld” with the Tablet. And to some extent, the whole shape of the movie was pointless, since instead of a climactic battle it would have been a lot easier for Larry just to wait till dawn and fix things then. And of course, like the first, this film pushes a feel good Hollywood message, this time about doing what you love.
So, on a scale of one to five, Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian is a 2.5. But, then again, in the genre of action comedies of this type, it would have to be moved up once. My advice: If you liked the first one, and want a funny view, you should…wait for the DVD.