Film Review: Night At The Museum: Battle Of The Smithsonian

Posted in Film, Reviews
By Sam Bathe on 20 May 2009

While the original Night At The Museum didn’t offer too much artistically, it was at least, a lot of fun. Starring Ben Stiller as Larry Daley, the night guard at New York’s Museum Of Natural History, an ancient tablet brings all of the exhibits to life, the riotous night that ensued brought a fair few laughs and smiles.

As you might expect from the sequel, it’s a fairly similar affair all over again. With the New York museum closed for refurbishment, the antiquities are moved to the Smithsonian archives in Washington DC, tablet included.

Now a successful entrepreneur, Daley finds out about moving of the artefacts, and fearing mayhem at the Smithsonian, travels to Washington to try and contain a whole hoard of newly resurrected historical figures. Over in DC, Egyptian prince Kah Mun Rah (Azaria) tries to use the magical ancient tablet to bring his army back to old life and take over the museum and then the world, backed up in the archives by Al Capone (Bernthal), Napoleon Bonaparte (Chabat) and Ivan The Terrible (Guest). But never fear, Larry is only one step behind, with the help of Amelia Earhart (Adams), try to foil Kah Mun Rah’s evil plans.

Feeling even more like a cross between Jumanji and Meet The Spartans, Night At The Museum: Battle Of The Smithsonian perhaps steps a little too far with the amount of characters resurrected. Though it may allow for a who’s who in the ensemble cast, the sheer number of historical figures that turn up becomes laughable towards the end. The repetitive animal actor-based slapstick comedy, as in the recent Indiana Jones film, is an equally bad directorial and scripting move. There are, however, still plenty of laughs along the way. Ben Stiller’s character is effortless to watch and Hank Azaria will have you near in tears on a couple of occasions. Sadly two of the funniest characters played by Ricky Gervais and Jonah Hill are in the very briefest of scenes.

For obvious reasons, and a lack of plot development on the original, Night At The Museum: Battle Of The Smithsonian doesn’t have the originality of the first film and feels a little boring for such. Amy Adams, though, is a good addition to the series and any kids along for the ride will have a decent time, just about making the big budget worthwhile.

★★★★★

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