Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian Blu-ray Edition
Directed by Shawn Levy
Starring Ben Stiller, Amy Adams, Owen Wilson, Hank Azaria, Christopher Guest
Fox Home Entertainment
Release Date: December 1, 2009
I’ll be honest, when I found out the exhibits at the Museum of Natural History would be coming to life on screen once more in Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian I wasn’t all that enthusiastic. I figured the “magic” was already revealed in the first movie and that this sequel would just be more of the same. Let’s face it, the first film, which starred Ben Stiller as Larry Daley, a night guard at the Museum of Natural History in New York, was a hit, so why mess with a perfect formula? That’s why screenwriters Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant were smart enough to stick with what drew audiences in initially — the inanimate exhibit figures coming to life at sundown and Larry fighting villains attempting to gain control of a powerful object — while making it much more than just a simple repeat of its predecessor.
The sequel finds Larry out of his museum night guard duds and into the role of CEO of Daley Devices, the company founded to sell his inventions, like the The Glow-In-The-Dark Flashlight and The Unloseable Keyring. The successful Larry decides to visit his old place of employment, the Museum of Natural History, the setting of 2006’s Night at the Museum, which is now closed for renovations and its famous exhibits packed away in crates to be sent to permanent storage at the Smithsonian Institute’s Federal Archives in Washington DC. After hours, the figures come to life and Teddy Roosevelt (Robin Williams) explains that the Pharaoh Ahkmenrah’s Tablet, which is what animates the figures at sundown, won’t be going to the Archives with everyone else. While the situation is dire for his friends, Larry is distracted by his phone’s incoming messages and all of his business ventures to do anything about it.
It’s quite likely that 99.9% of you have already decided that you will not be seeing either of the movies discussed here based solely on the title of this post. Sadly, you are perfectly fair to judge so quickly, and you are not alone in your disdain for these and other childhood characters (liked or not) being made into feature films.
First up, it’s being reported that Owen Wilson has signed on the dotted line to voice the role of Marmaduke, a giant clumsy CGI dog based on the 1954 comic strip of the same name. The movie will do the same as all of these movies do in mixing CG and live-action. The plans for a Marmaduke movie have apparently been around for a while now as it has a cast of known names that will surely regret ever agreeing to appear in it down the road. The names include William H. Macy, Judy Greer, and Lee Pace as live-action characters, while Steve Coogan, Emma Stone, Damon Wayans, George Lopez, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Marlon Wayans, and Fergie will all voice CG characters. You might as well call it Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2: Honey, I Blew Up the Chihuahua. Marmaduke is set for release in June of 2010 — get excited.
The first trailer for Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian has appeared online at the unlikely source of McDonald’s Happy Meal website.
The follow-up to the 2006 Ben Stiller hit takes place at the Smithsonian this time and pairs some familiar old faces with a lot of new ones. Joining Stiller is Amy Adams as Amelia Earhart, Christopher Guest as Ivan the Terrible, Eugene Levy as Einstein and Bill Hader as Custer. It’s again directed by Shawn Levy, whom is of no relation to Eugene.