Welcome to this blog of my film reviews. Some have been drafted carefully on paper, others I have sat and typed. I'm going to make it clear right now that I don't expect you to agree with my (re)views, or to like my style of writing. However, I want my views to be just out there and open, as a person who wishes to express himself from deep within. Feel free to comment and debate with me, but I do ask that you are civil and not harsh, as any comments which are basically swear words and insults will automatically be deleted. Also any text that is in orange (and often bold) is a Hyperlink to either a source, or a previous post for background reference.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Night at the Museum 2


Set two years after the original (2006) the film sees Larry (Ben Stiller), CEO of Daley Devices, a direct response TV company that sells inventions inspired by his time as night watchmen at the American Museum of Natural History, visit his friends at the museum for the first time in a few months, only to learn that interactive holograms are set to replace most of the exhibits - bar Teddy Roosevelt (Robin Williams), Rex the T-Rex, the Easter Island Head (Brad Garrett) and Ahkmenrah (Rami Malek), while the others are donated to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C., and will no longer come to life as the Golden Tablet won't be there. However, just before the exhibits return to their crates Dexter steals the tablet and sneaks it into his crate. When they get to Washington all the exhibits there come to life too and Larry goes over after getting a call from Jedediah (Owen Wilson), explaining the situation and telling him how Ahkmenrah's evil Pharoah brother Kahmunrah (Hank Azaria) is attacking them, and, when he gets there, finds that all of the good people of history are having to go to war with history's villains, lead by Kahmunrah.

First, let's go over the highlights...
The effects are very good, there's no denying that, with the highlights being the 50-foot-tall statue of Abraham Lincoln (also Azaria) coming to life, the highjacking of some ancient aeroplanes, and Larry and Amelia Earhart (Amy Adams) diving into paintings in the National Gallery by Napoleon Bonaparte (Alain Chabat). The paintings scene also provides good gags as Larry and Amelia get turned black-and-white in one and their interaction with the paintings' occupants provides good quality comedy. The leading villains are a truly excellent creative decision. Hank is both entertaining and chilling as Kahmunrah, and I feel that it was the right choice to make a Pharoah the main villain, due to the amount of underlying fear the characters had over Ahkmenrah, prior to his tomb being opened, in the original. Choosing Napoleon and Al Capone (Jon Bernthal) as Kahmunrah's right-hand men was also a very good decision as they are two of the biggest, most feared villains in history, and it would have been a bit too soon after World War II to have Hitler.

Now for the downsides...
In almost every essence this is a retread of the first film. Both films feature exhibits coming to life, brawling and making Larry's life a living nightmare. Both films the existence/future of the exhibits is in jeopardy. Both films Larry falls in love - the first with Carla Gugino's history expert, the second with Amy Adams's Amelia Earhart. The other major flaw in the film is that there are far too many way too underdeveloped characters. There are countless new characters in this one - they even include Einstein bobbleheads (Eugene Levy), Oscar the Grouch (Caroll Spinney) and Darth Vader (Thomas Morley). Considering there were too many underdeveloped characters in the original, add about twenty more, with even less development and you have a lot of confusion. As with the original there are several cases of misjudged casting, once again the most notable being Ricky Gervais as the Natural History Museum's curator. He is wooden, irritating and may as well not be included in the film. Robin Williams once again disappoints as he is just so flat and bland as Roosevelt, a real let down to those of us who fondly remember his top-notch performances in 1992's Aladdin and 1993's Mrs Doubtfire.

All in all, though, this is an enjoyable adventure, packed with action and excitement that will entertain both adults and children.

Ben Stiller, Amy Adams, Hank Azaria, Owen Wilson, Steve Coogan, Alain Chabat, Jon Bernthal, Christopher Guest, Bill Hader, Patrick Gallagher, Jake Cherry, Rami Malek, Robin Williams, Mizuo Peck, Brad Garrett, Jay Baruchel, Ricky Gervais, Eugene Levy, Jonas Brothers, Clint Howard, Mindy Kaling.

People's Choice Award nomination: Favorite Family Movie.

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