Past Entertainment

For the week of 3/1/10

RPP DVD Movie Review

'Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian' a decent sequel effort

By Ezra Mann (Editor in Spoof)

Review will also be posted at the Pauls Valley Daily Democrat

Campy movies tailor made for milking the family budgets rarely raise much notice, especially if you’re like me and watching a movie makes choosing for pleasure bump most of these off the radar. Sure, I like a good friendly comedy as much as the next cinematic junkie, but sometimes, like nowadays I have to wait until DVD at best.
Still, I had planned to see this particular film since I enjoyed the first in theaters and while I was eventually right in thinking it wouldn’t be all that much better, it was one of the few sequels that was not a total waste of budget. This one felt like the typical rehash of the first effort, but different enough to keep me watching until the end. “Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian” was fun for what it was and hopefully enough to end things before the horse is really flogged.
The movie does a bit of a leap forward after the first museum adventure with main character Larry Daley (Ben Stiller) skyrocketed out of his old job as night watchman to a successful business man/inventor. He gets so caught up in his successful new life that he pretty much forgets the old come to life exhibits at the Museum of Natural History in New York until he finds out they are being sent to permanent storage in Washington D.C.
Alas, Larry is at least at the moment too late to prevent his artificial friends from being packed up, but that is the least of his worries when Kahmunrah (Hank Azaria), brother of the first film’s Ahkmenrah (Rami Malek) is awakened by a certain magical tablet. Of course, the big k wants the tablet to rule the world as most villains do, but he’ll have to stop Daley who has help from old friends like Teddy Roosevelt (Robin Williams) and new ones like Amelia Earhart (Amy Adams). Overall I did not feel like my time was wasted, but I feel like too much time was invested in the present which left out too much back story.
I think another problem with this film was that those overseeing direction tried to put in more characters than necessary, limiting screen time to the point that you didn’t have much meaningful dialogue. It might help if they put out an extended edition later, though I won’t hold my breath for more than a few extras or deleted scenes.
I also wanted to feel more connected to the film than I was and perhaps that is because this felt even less about the possible lessons for kids than the first movie. Yet, I do recommend it for at least a one-time viewing and know that all ages will find at least one thing to remember. For a tolerable popcorn flick with clever references abound I give “Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian” three out of five guided tours. 
Images are copyright of 20th Century Fox.

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