Sunday, May 24, 2009

Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian

Ben Stiller took the part a few years ago as Larry Daley and it has proven to be a bonanza. This could be an ongoing series or they could end if after this one. This sequel was as good as the original though both films are neither spectacular. I mean, we are not talking Dumb and Dumber, The Waterboy, or Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. It is not even Ben Stiller's funniest movie which is probably Meet the Parents or There's Something About Mary. The latter may be his best movie.

The pretty face in this movie is Amy Adams who plays Amelia Earhart. She was in Talledega but they plained her up in that movie. I am not sure why Larry never asks Amelia where her plane went down. That is one of the mysteries of the world, where her final fatal crash took place?

Owen Wilson plays Jedediah Smith. I am not sure if that is a real person or just a fictional or generalized cowboy fit for a museum. Smith has plenty of action in this film though he spends a lot of the film in a sandy situation. Ofcourse his friend Larry comes through and gets him out of it. With the help of the Roman general-Octavius-who actually does most of the leg work along with the help of a squirrel.

Robin Williams returns as Teddy Roosevelt. He is also shown as the just the copper bust of the former outstanding President. TR is no where to be found throughout most of the film which I do not understand and does not seem to be trapped inside the trailer with the rest of the statues from the museum.

The movie revolves around the ancient Egyption seal again. This time the main antagonist is
Hank Azaria who plays Kahmunrah. He is Ahkmenrah father who seems to be jealous of the success of his son in leading Egypt and his popularity. The apple fell far from the tree here. Ahkmenrah has morals, whereas his father is bent on power and conquest. He has Al Capone, Ivan the Terrible, and Napoleon Bonaparte on his side. I disagree with the latter, never wanted to be dictator nor a king, he was chosen for this role. He did not run for emperor, he was granted this honor. He never wanted to become a powerful politician but he did want France to be safe. With England, Russia, and Prussia surrounding his country, was he suppose to capitulate? Capitulate is what France has done in virtually every threat and engagement since then.

The museum is replacing all of the replicas and statues with talking holograms. Larry is perturbed so he locates his friendly statues in the basement later that night. He has missed them and vice versa. Larry has taken on a new role in life. Larry is no longer the night security guard but a businessman whose company is emerging and it is called Daily Devices. He hosts his own TV show and has guest stars like George Foreman to promote his show and name.

On the search around Washington's museums, Jonah Hill makes an appearance as a security guard with Larry. This could be the funniest scene in the movie. Jonah and Stiller are hilarious bickering back and forth. Larry has learned some moves with a flashlight and he shows at the movies climax when he defeats Kahmunrah with the team work of Amelia.

Larry receives a distress call Jedediah Smith which alarms him later that night. With the help of his son who seems to have a military like layout of Washington D.C. to guide his father around the area, Larry locates his friends later than night. When he finds his familiar statues, they are taking shelter in a trailer protecting the golden seal. Kahmunrah and his soldiers are attacking the trailer and trying to grab the seal. With the mistaken help of Larry, they obtain the seal. Larry is chased around with the seal and for some reason can not make it back to his comrades. He has a chance to make it but for some reason he does not which damages the movie. Kahmunrah is outsmarted by Larry when Larry makes up a story about another artifact but this is only a trick to lead Kahmunrah and his men into an octopus trap. This octopus would not survive 3 minutes out of water but this movie is totally fiction. This octopus which Ahab so badly wants to kill tosses Kahmunrah around and his men. For some mystical reason, being tossed 20 feet in the air and landing awkwardly does not deter nor slow them down that much. Larry fails to make his plan work completely. Strange.

There is a cool scene when Larry and the pretty Amelia get sucked into the famous painting that occurs in NYC after WWII during the huge post war celebration.

Kahmunrah and his never speaking soldiers catch up to Larry and obtain the seal. But when the put the seal on their mysterious door, they realize they need the code. For some reason, Kahmunrah does not know the code and dispatches Larry to find the code. Half the movie is Larry trying to find the code with Amelia and her nice figure in tow. She craves anything that looks like an adventure. This forces Larry to go outside the museum and into the space and aviation museum. On the way, they speak with Abraham Lincoln which is amusing. Inside the museum, the Tuskegee Airmen salute Amelia and she returns this respectful motion.

I wanted to see T-Rex fight the octopus but this never occured. Amelia and Larry crash an airpline through a giant window. Part of the museum is wrecked. I wanted to see what the museum management and security guards said the following morning. Amelia flies off in the night with another airplane, where to? I am not sure and what will occur during sunrise? I guess she will disappear again. The movie returns to the original museum and they have an excellent plan. The writers came through with this idea. The museum opens up at night and Larry's friends can act and move without anyone being the wiser. They think they are elaborate props.

Larry sells his company and donates the rich proceeds to the museum with a request that the museum operates at night. The manager is ecstatic. Larry is the night security guard. This would be a story in its own right, someone who starts his company and it takes off from the ground up cashes out in mid stride to become a security guard. This would be like Kurt Warner returning to be a grocery bagger before he wins a Super Bowl with the St. Louis Rams.

The movie is never dull. Larry is slapped by monkeys again, this time two of them. A cute little space monkey makes his way into the film. A huge fight at the end and not one person is hurt nor injured. Pretty ridiculous. What happens to Al Capone and Ivan the Terrible at the end? Not sure. There are many questions unanswered inexplicably. The movie is pretty short but it is entertaining. The small plane that Amelia few around in the movie would have been shot down since that airspace is strictly controlled being that close to the White House. But that is too serious for this light hearted film.

I grant this movie two stars.**

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