Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian
Night at the Museum was an okay movie with some nice moments. The second NATM has lost some its magic. There is a feeling of too much of everything and not enough substance. Since the cast of characters has grown in this sequel, almost everyone is shortchanged.
Moving the story from American Museum of Natural History to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC does seem like a brilliant idea, but the execution of is rather sloppy and lackluster. You can tell that the writers and director wanted to expand the universe by adding new characters, but didn’t want to let go of the original characters. So, the original characters mostly stay inside a cargo truck for most of the movie.
Then there are the strange choices the writers made with the main character. Ben Stiller’s character is no longer the security guard at the museum. He’s become a millionaire with paid programming and selling useless items. Basically, Stiller’s Larry Daley is another form of Billy Mays. Now, why in the hell did they take the character completely in another direction? Does it really have much to do with the overall plot? Not really, but because Larry Daley is a rich guy, it does payoff at the end. However, there are so many other interesting ways they could have gone with Stiller’s character.
Now, what does work is the chemistry between the very cute Amy Adams (as Amelia Earhart) and Stiller. Adams is very good as Earhart. She has a lot of energy and a nice smile, not to mention spending the whole movie wearing a pair of skin-tight pants. I can’t complain about that. Watch the movie for Adams, because she’s that good in the role.
General George Arnstrong Custer is another character that I found interesting, but he also gets shortchanged with the many of the other cast members. Bill Hader does such an outstanding job with the crazy Custer that you want to see more of the guy. So, yeah, the movie needed more Custer.
Probably the weakest aspect of the movie has to be the main villain (villains). Kahmunrah (played by Hank Azaria) is probably one of the weakest villains I’ve seen in a movie. The villain is poorly written and not even a threat throughout the entire story. Then, his grand plan is such a letdown and based on a weak joke payoff, that it almost makes the movie not even worth it. (Bird People, really?) In order for us to cheer the good guys, you have to make the villains scarier and meaner than what we saw in this movie. Kahmunrah is a one-note joke.
Director Shawn Levy knows how to keep the movie going, but fails to explore what made the first film magical. The movie does have a bigger cast, but almost all of them aren’t fully explored. Stiller’s character arc makes almost no sense here, while the villains are laughable bad this time around. Even though the toy box is bigger, the toys aren’t as fun.
-Jonah Hill is very funny in his cameo, which is given away in the damn trailer. What you see in the trailer is all you get of the character.
-Darth Vader and Oscar The Grouch do show up too. They’re appearance is just as brief as Hill’s appearance. Again, spoiled by the damn trailer.
- Robin Williams isn’t really in this movie much. I get the feeling that Williams didn’t want to have that much to do with the movie.