Ben Stiller and his Museum exhibit friends are back again with a few more additions. Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian was a fun movie that is great for the whole family, in fact, the Night at the Museum sequel beat out Terminator: Salvation to take the top stop at the box office this weekend. The Box Office numbers report that NATM 2 took in approximately $70 million dollars for the Memorial Day weekend. I admit this surprises me as I thought the latest installment in the Terminator franchise starring Christian Bale would take the top spot at the Box Office this weekend.
I actually enjoyed this sequel just as much as the first movie. It has the same qualities exhibited in the first film, but with bigger effects. All of the stars of the first film are back in this sequel but sadly they aren’t as prominent as they were in the first film. This film focuses more on the new additions introduced in this film. Amy Adams plays Amelia Earhart and acts as Larry Daley’s (Ben Stiller) love interest. Hank Azaria plays Kahmunrah, Ahkmenrah’s evil brother who plans to rule the world with the help of Al Capone, Ivan the Terrible, and Napoleon Bonaparte.
**POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD**
So how do they get to the Smithsonian? It is kind of clever how they worked that in. The Natural Museum of History is updating their exhibits with interactive displays and they are shipping all of their old exhibits, minus a few key exhibits (i.e.Teddy Roosevelt, Ahkmenrah), to the Smithsonian archives. So without the magic of Ahkmenrah’s tablet, Larry Daley’s friends will never be able to come to life ever again. Ok…obviously if that were to happen, we wouldn’t have a movie. Somehow, Dexter, the monkey takes the tablet and that is how Kahmunrah (who is in the Smithsonian archives) comes back to life. Kahmunrah’s plan is to use Ahkmenrah’s tablet to open the gate to the underworld and release an army in order to take over the world. Larry Daley, who is now a rich CEO of his own company, makes his way to Washington so that he can help save his friends.
Amy Adams was a welcome addition to this sequel. She certainly steals every scene she is in, and she was far from a damsel in distress but a woman who “lives” for danger and seeks “adventure”. I also found Kahmunrah’s gang of Ivan the Terrible, Al Capone, and Napoleon to be quite funny. In particular, Napoleon was more “funny” (in a good way) than a bad guy in the film. Also there is a trio of cupids that sing popular songs which was silly but hilarious!
What didn’t work (or rather what didn’t make sense)?
In the first film, Ahkmenrah was a mummy in the Natural Museum of History, so if brought back to life – he would have memories of the past and how his tablet works. When we meet Kahmunrah…he is a wax statue. How would he know how to use the tablet, or rather know what it is in the first place? Also what didn’t quite make sense was how things came to life. In the first movie, everything within the museum came to life. In this movie, it seems the tablet had to be within a certain range in order for exhibits to come to life. We learn in the movie that the Smithsonian archives is underground and connects all of the museums that make up the Smithsonian. So in theory there could’ve been more things running amok.
I quite enjoyed the film. It is fun, but it isn’t as funny as the first film but equally as good on a different level. The effects are more involved in this film, so based on the title of the movie…it wouldn’t be a “battle” without special effects. One disappointment was diminishing the roles of the original characters from the first film in this sequel. The only person who seemed to have a bigger role of the original bunch was Owen Wilson playing Jedediah the cowboy. There is a “twist” at the end of the film which was a little trite and predicatable but I accepted it since it was cute and rounded out the film in a good way. On a scale of 1 to 10 I would give this film a 7.