Movie Review: Night at the Museum – Smithsonian

Technorati Profile

Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian
2 Lloyds – Family-Friendly
PG for mild action and brief language.
Running Time: 1 hour 40 minutes


Moving From New York City to Washington D.C.

Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian is the follow-up to the 2006 box office smash Night at the Museum. This sequel picks up a couple years later in the timeline of events from the first movie. The one-time museum security guard Larry Daley, played by Ben Stiller once again, is now living the life of a famous inventor. One night he decides to pay a visit to his old haunt, the Museum of Natural History. Once there, he discovers some of his favorite exhibits have been labeled “out of date”. As a result, they’re being shipped off to storage at the Smithsonian Institute archives.

Larry has one final hangout time with his old and ancient pals,
and figures he can do nothing more.

But, walking away from his living history friends, is harder than originally thought. In no time at all Larry receives a distress call from miniature cowboy Jedediah who informs him that the 3000 year old Egyptian Pharaoh Kahmunrah, plans to take over the Smithsonian. After that, he plans to take over the world.

Some Sequels Are Left Better Undone

The 2006 movie Night at the Museum was really a surprise hit. It came out at Christmas time and grabbed the number one box office spot on its debut weekend with slightly more than $30 million in ticket sales. It then proceeded to stay in the top 10 until the weekend of February 16, 2007. It had a total run on the big screen of 27 weeks. When all was said and done, the 2006 Night at the Museum pulled in a total of $250,863,268 domestically with a worldwide total box office take of $574,480,841. 

We have the first Night at the Museum in our DVD collection…
Such will not be the case with this one.

In a nutshell, Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, suffers from a bad case of sequellitis. This movie should have been left undone. I’d make a safe bet the only reason they decided to make a sequel was to cash in on the success of the first one. Battle of the Smithsonian falls way short of the first Night at the Museum and in the end, simply falls flat. The movie clocks in at 1 hour and 40 minutes, and it’s even a stretch to make it to that length. Many of the jokes that are funny the first time around in the movie, are recycled throughout the flick. It’s one thing to recycle jokes from earlier movies, but to recycle jokes within the movie reveals the fact that the writers simply did not have much to work with.

Lines such as – Don’t touch that…and…Don’t cross that line – are really only funny once. To repeat them over and over and over again is simply torture. Honestly, when those two very long scenes appeared on the screen it felt like a nightmare ride with kids in the backseat of a car! – He’s touching me! He’s touching me! – Give me a break!

The bottom line is, Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, is nothing more than a rehash of the first movie. The jokes are tired and old and recycled. Really this sequel is nothing more than a string of one-liners and bad jokes with a very thin plotline tossed in for good measure. I usually do not like Ben Stiller. Actually, the only movie I’ve really liked him in was the first Night at the Museum movie. His straight-man style suited the movie well. Once again, Stiller is for the most part the straight-man in Battle of the Smithsonian. But, it seems he’s on autopilot, merely going through the motions this time around. 

It’s Not A Total Loss

Even after saying all of the above, there is a breath of fresh air in this movie. While Stiller is stoic in Battle of the Smithsonian, Amy Adams is stellar in her role as Amelia Earhart. She still seems somewhat stilted, but Adams proves she can be more than just a Princess in Enchanted and a Sister in Doubt. Her next movie, Julie & Julia is scheduled for release this summer. As she stars beside Meryl Streep in that one, maybe we’ll see an even better performance from her.

Aside from Adams, even Robin Williams comes off somewhat bored with his reprisal of the Teddy Roosevelt role. I do applaud the producers for bringing back Owen Wilson as Jedediah Smith, Steve Coogan as the Roman Emperor Octavius, Patrick Gallagher as Attila the Hun, Mizuo Peck as Sacajawea and Ricky Gervais as museum curator Dr. McPhee. But, in the end, they all seem to be going through the motions and simply bored with their roles.

Could it be they came back for a sequel only for the paycheck? 

As for the rating, keep in mind this is a PG movie. We are calling it family-friendly. But, we also want to warn parents of one scene that is somewhat questionable. Kahmunrah’s evil plan involves unlocking the door to the underworld where he calls upon evil spirits from the past to come and help him accomplish his plan. As these bird-people from the underworld emerge, the scenes are rather dark and probably too frightening for a really young audience. Truthfully, had it not been for this part of the movie, Battle of the Smithsonian could have comfortably carried a G rating. But, this is a PG movie, so keep that in mind. 

All in all, Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian comes off as a sub-par movie. While many of the original stars are back from the first flick, it seems as though this sequel was shot in a series of stand-alone comedy sketches. Stiller interacts very little with the original stars. At times I wondered if this movie was even shot all at the same time. Yes, there are some laugh-out-loud moments, but in the end, this movie is not worth the price of admission. 

There are a few cool special effects in this flick, but in the end, Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, is probably best viewed on DVD when it will only cost you a buck for the whole family to see.

Waiting for the DVD,
Dr. Rus

About the Author

Dr. Rus has 30+ years experience in the field of communication. He takes this experience, and his passion to encourage others to positively effect their environment, when providing insight and movie reviews.