Night At The Museum 2


Directed by: Shawn Levy
Written by:Robert Ben Garant, Thomas Lennon
Starring: Ben Stiller, Amy Adams, Owen Wilson, Hank Azaria, Robin Williams, Christopher Guest, Alain Chabat, Steve Coogan, Ricky Gervais
Released: May 21, 2009
Grade: B+

In Night At The Museum, security guard Larry Daley (Stiller) had the fun job of being the nightwatchman at the Museum Of Natural History. What made it so fun? Every night, the human statues and stuffed animals came to life. The film struck a cord with audiences and it turned out to be the second highest grossing film of 2006 in the United States (behind Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest).

Night At The Museum 2 actually begins on a sad note. Attendances at the museum have been down and the decision has been made to "virtualise" the exhibits. The old statues will be placed in permanent storage in the Smithsonian’s Institutes archives. New computerised holograms will take their place. The fun filled nights of the museum’s "inhabitants" have come to an end.

Larry Daley no longer works at the museum – he’s moved on to a higher paying profession in the sales world. He has stayed in touch with his old friends however and is concerned with their current plight. He doesn’t want to see them boxed away for eternity. It’s time to save the day.

I liked the original movie and I liked this one too. It’s a cool premise which builds on the first flick. Larry sneaks into the Smithsonian Institute archives and tries to break them out. The twist is that there are hundreds of exhibits in the archives and because of the magical tablet, all of them have now come to life. It provides an opportunity to bring in a bunch of fresh characters.

The bad guy in this instalment is Kahmunrah (Azaria). He’s rounded up a group of cronies led by Ivan The Terrible, Napolean Bonaparte and Al Capone. Their plan is to steal the tablet, unleash an ancient warrior army and take over the world.

The stand out amongst the cast is Amy Adams (Doubt) who plays Amelia Earhart, the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic. She gets plenty of screen time as Larry’s new sidekick and developing love interest.

Those looking to see the familiar faces might be a little disappointed. Robin Williams, Owen Wilson and Ricky Gervais don’t get as much screen time given the new plot and characters. I also thought the film was too "wordy" at times – some of the jokes between the characters go on a little long.

It’s a great setting though and director Shawn Levy has captured some wonderful images of the Smithsonian museums and of Washington D.C. itself. You could even say that the film is a history lesson disguised as a family adventure. I don’t think the kids care either way and I’m dead certain that this will be another box office smash.