Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian or simply titled “Night at the Museum 2” outside of the US is the follow up to the successful family-movie from a couple of years ago. Back are all the familiar faces and joining them are a couple of new ones. Well not actually joining them, but rather replacing them as only a few get as much screentime as they had in the first. Sacajawea, Easter Island Head, Teddy Roosenvelt (Robin Williams), Dr McPhee (Ricky Gervais) and the monkey have all been degraded to cameos as characters like Amelia Earhart (Amy Adams) and Kahmunrah (Hank Azaria) now enter center stage next to Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson and Steve Coogan, along with another couple of historical characters.
Since the events of the first one the career of Larry Daley (Stiller) has taken off as he’s now a famous inventor of stuff shown in theose infomercials. Even George Foreman appears in his show, without his grill this time. But his heart is not in work even though it makes him a sh*tload of money. When he stops at his former workplace he’s told they’re upgrading the museum and most of the exhibits are going to be stored in the vault of the Smithsonian museum in Washington. The largest museum in the world. The characters that have come to life every night will no longer be able to as the tablet that orchestrates all this is not moving with them… Well, that capuchin monkey from part 1 steals it and before you know it the entire Smithsonian comes to life and Larry Daley has to come to the rescue of his night-time friends and do battle with the ancient Egyptian Kamunrah and his gang consisting of Al Capone, Ivan The Terrible and Napoleon.
This movie is once again mostly for the kids although adults will get a laugh here and there as well. While kids are laughing at the antics of Ben Stiller and now even two capuchin monkeys (Sequels: always bigger) the adults will have fun with spotting references to movies like Star Wars and 300. Story-wise it will not fool any adult as it’s basically a rehash of the first movie and makes you wonder how all these creatures that have come to life can destroy an entire museum without being detected while it was stated that they have a tight security protocol.
While it is fun to watch the movie is a bit over the top with its action pieces. The famous Lincoln statue walks around yet nobody seems to notice? Too much suspension of disbelief is required in this case I guess. As is Amelia Airheart flying through American Airspace undetected. While kids marvel at the screen as a giant octopus baths in the pond across the Lincoln statue I was scratching my head how these creatures are so out in the open.
What I marveled at was the star power in this movie. This movie has many recognizable names in its cast. Ben Stiller, Amy Adams, Jonah Hill, Owen Wilson, Robin Williams, Steve Coogan, Ricky Gervais, Bill Hader, Clint Howard, Eugene Levy and more. Sadly some of them only have a cameo like Jonah Hill whose Brundon the security guard I expected to turn op later on in the movie. The actor having the most fun in the movie is obviously Hank Azaria. Not only does he get to voice two characters, he also plays the head-villain Kamunrah and gives a new dimension in hamming it up. This villain is so over the top I, in the beginning, did not know whether to love it or hate. But he did won me over and when the end-credits rolled I thought he was one of the most fun elements in the movie. I was lesser impressed with Bill Hader who’s a quite annoying General Custer. The love interest this time is Amy Adams as Amelia Airheart who’s quite the spunky gal, or so to speak in her slang. She’s possibly one of the most freshest actresses in Hollywood as she turns one role into a golden performance after another. Ben Stiller is his usual self. Yes he can carry a movie by himself just like Adam Sandler but these guys themselves are not that funny at all. At least not in the movies.
Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian is OK, but not great. Those who liked the first will like this one, those who didn’t: skip it!