May 22, 2009
For anyone who ever said museums are boring, think again. Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian might just get kids interested in history.
History comes alive, literally, in this follow-up to 2006’s Night at the Museum. Ben Stiller is back as a now successful entrepreneur who must save the exhibits/pals from a future in a storage area at the Smithsonian. While trying to save the day he must also battle some of history’s nastiest characters. With Ivan the Terrible (Christopher Guest), Napoleon Bonaparte (Alain Chabat), and Al Capone (Jon Bernthal), all conspiring with ancient Egyptian pharaoh Kahmunrah (Hank Azaria) to take over the museum, followed of course by the world, you’d think the good guys wouldn’t stand a chance. Thank goodness just as many of history’s heroes are housed in the same building.
Plot of Night at the Museum 2
The premise of the sequel is essentially the same as the first. Find out what happens at the museum when the lights are turned off and the last of the visitors have gone home. Since audiences learned the answer in the first one, originality isn’t at the forefront of this film. Fortunately, boisterous activity and lively characters are. Kids will be entertained by the non-stop action and slapstick comedy, but the movie falls flat for adults (with the exception of an amusing cameo by the always good-for-a-laugh Jonah Hill).
Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian Cast
Night at the Museum 2 has a great cast, most of whom probably deserve a better vehicle to display their talent. The shining star of the film is the delightful Amy Adams, who plays Katherine Hepburn, er, scratch that, Amelia Earhart. Robin Williams is also notable in his heartfelt portrayal of Teddy Roosevelt. The most unfortunate role is probably that of Ben Stiller. The funnyman is forced to once again portray the straight man to the cast of ridiculous characters, reacting to their antics rather than bringing his own brand of comedy to the film.
While it’s unlikely that students will ace their history tests after seeing this movie, it may at least give kids a glimmer of interest in the subject. The first film ever to be shot in the Smithsonian complex, Night at the Museum 2 has at least broken some new ground and managed to make museums fun. The visuals are impressive, particularly when they bring paintings and sculptures to life.
It probably won’t be the most memorable movie of the summer, but for parents looking to distract the kids for a couple of hours, this one will do the job.
•Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian
•Directed by Shawn Levy
•Starring Ben Stiller, Amy Adams, Owen Wilson, Hank Azaria
•Running time 105 mins