One of the most financially successful films of 2006 was oddly enough Night At the Museum. Not that the film was an awful one, but it was neither a highly anticipated sequel nor a summer blockbuster, so it kinda came out of nowhere. It is a simple story about a nightwatchman at a natural history museum in which the artifacts come alive at night. Ben Stiller is playing that goofy, awkward, loser character that he has played numerous times before and yet people still connected with it on a large scale.
Being divorced from his wife, Erica (Kim Raver – from television’s 24), and only having visitation rights to see his son, Nick (Jake Cherry – Friends With Money), every second weekend is hard for Larry Daley (Ben Stiller – Zoolander, Meet The Parents). He is a struggling inventor who has to move often due to his lack of funds. When Erica finds out from Nick that Larry is ‘moving’ again she tells him that the situation is no good for Nick and that Larry cannot have him next weekend or until he finds himself in a more stable situation financially.
Larry is now desperate to find a job and so when he is sent to the Museum of Natural History on an interview he’ll take whatever they offer him. The position that they offer to him is that of nightwatchman. He is hesitant but desperate so he agrees. He is shown the nuts and bolts of the place by the three watchmen on the day shift, Cecil (Dick Van Dyke), Gus (Mickey Rooney) and Reginald (Bill Cobbs – Random Hearts, Hope Floats). They are all in their senior years and the museum is not doing so well so in an effort to cut costs they are letting the three go.
His first night on the job, Cecil leaves Larry a bunch of sheets that he tells him are the instructions on how to do the job. Larry is confident he will not need the sheets and just proceeds to try and entertain himself through the night. Soon enough Larry learns that he will not need to come up with things to entertain himself throughout his shift as the museum itself will do that. And not the way you would think! The only question left is whether Larry is up to the task.
There are several entertaining cameos in the film from the likes of Robin Williams, Steve Coogan, Ricky Gervais, and Owen Wilson. They provide plenty of laughs and hijinks. One of the good things about the film is that once the action starts it really kicks into high gear and keeps it up for pretty much the rest of the film. The laughs and special effects keep you distracted from the fact that there is not much of a story to it. But, hey, it’s meant to be a fun family film, so kick back and take it for what it is.
-2 Audio Commentaries
Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian directed by Shawn Levy:
Face-slapping, hijinx and special effects aside there is not much about this film that you don’t expect. Many of the previous characters are back, including my favourite Dexter the monkey, and some new ones are added in. But there is enough of the same type of good vibes as there was in the first film that if you enjoyed that one then this one will please you as well.
The Museum of Natural History is closed for renovations and some of the museum pieces are moved to storage in the Washington Museum and are being replaced by interactive holograms. Larry (Ben Stiller – Zoolander, Meet the Parents), who is now the head of invention company Daley Devices, meets up with some of the museum pieces and talks with them about their worries.
The evil pharaoh Kahmunrah (Hank Azaria -Run, Fatboy, Run, America’s Sweethearts) using a magic tablet brings all the exhibits back to life – old and new. Needless to say, some conflict ensues. Larry gets the help of Amelia Earheart (Amy Adams – Doubt, Leap Year) to try to restore order.
Many sequels try to top what the original flick did and most fail miserably. This film by director Shawn Levy (The Pink Panther – 2006, Night at the Museum) does not make the mistake of trying to be a ‘great’ film; it knows what it is and why people are going to come see it and doesn’t try to be more. Yes, the original will always be the best because there was something unique about it, but it still is enjoyable
The additions to the cast, Hank Azaria and Amy Adams, are good with Azaria practically stealing the film out from under Ben Stiller’s nose. Azaria’s craziness as a pharaoh who speaks like Bella Lugosi will get some belly laughs from you.
-The Curators of Comedy: Behind the Scenes of Night at the Museum 2
-Historical Confessions: Famous Last Words
-Directing 201: A Day in the Life of Producer/Director Shawn Levy
-Caveman Conversations: Survival of the Wittiest
-Show Me the Monkey
-The Jonas Brothers in Cherub Bootcamp
-Museum Magic: Entering the World of the Photograph
-Secret Doors and Scientists: Behind the Scenes of the American Museum of Natural History
-Fox Movie Channel Presents: Making a Scene
-Fox Movie Channel Presents: World Premiere
Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb directed by Shawn Levy:
The biggest plus of this film was seeing Robin Williams on the big screen for his last time. It was hard to watch him at times because you knew that it was the end for this comedic genius. Watching it I was filled with a sense of melancholy as a result (to top it off this was also Mickey Rooney’s last film). It reminded me how untimely his death was. The part where his Teddy Roosevelt utters the line “It is time to let us go” I almost broke into sobs. That being said this film is not going to go down as one of the highlights of his film career. Not because of Williams, but rather because of the lack of quality of the script. The story is different so that is a good thing. Unfortunately the difference does not equate to a rise in quality.
While the third at the Museum film is better than the second it is still not a good film. Rather it is a kids’ film that really does not have enough funny stuff or action sequences that they can relate to in order to hold their attention. Unfortunately as far as sequels go the ones for kids’ films are usually even more subpar.
An Egyptian tablet, the table of Akmenrah, is the reason that at the Museum of Natural History in New York City each night the exhibits come to life. Museum night security guard Larry Daley (Ben Stiller – Zoolander, Tropic Thunder) figures out that something is wrong with the table and that it is losing its power. The fact that it is losing its power comes to light at the worst possible time as it is during a high profile soirée at the Museum that ends up as a fiasco and cost museum head, Dr. McPhee (Ricky Gervias – The Invention of Lying, Muppets Most Wanted), his job.
Trying to right this wrong, Larry investigates. He finds out from Akmenrah (Rami Malek – Need for Speed, Night at the Museum) that the tablet seems to be corroding and that his father (Ben Kingsley – Schindler’s List, Shutter Island) is the only one who might know the way to fix it. Larry with the help of Dr. McPhee arranges that Akmenrah and the tablet travel to the British Museum of Natural History in London, so he can find out how to fix it.
After opening the crate and finding not only the tablet and Akmenrah are inside but also Laaa (Ben Stiller), Teddy Roosevelt (Robin Williams – Dead Poets Society, Good Will Hunting), Attila the Hun (Patrick Gallagher – Sideways, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World), Dexter the monkey, Jedediah (Owen Wilson – Midnight in Paris, Wedding Crashers), and Octavius (Steve Coogan – Philomena, Despicable Me 2) are there to help him. Once they get past the night security guard Tilly (Rebel Wilson – Pitch Perfect 2, Bridesmaids), they also have to face off against Sir Lancelot (Dan Stevens – The Fifth Estate, A Walk Among the Tombstones) and a host of other obstacles in order to save the tablet.
Each of these types of films (funny but trying to have some depth) has a lesson or message that it tries to have run throughout and this one has a father/teenage son focus. It just tries to push through the idea that family is important and as kids get older that parents have to adjust to the changes if they want to stay connected.
It has just enough laughs and Robin Williams so that it keeps just above the level of disaster, but there certainly isn’t enough here to regret that it is probably the end of the series or to claim that in any way, shape or form that this is a good film.
-Improv, Absurdity and Cracking Up – The Comedy of Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb
-The Theory of Relativity
-A Day in the Afterlife
-The Home of History: Behind the Scenes at the British Museum
-Fight at the Museum
-Creating the Visual Effects