As the second installment by director Shawn Levy, Battle of the Smithsonian takes it up a notch, or nineteen notches.
As you know from the first Night at the Museum, Larry Daley (Ben Stiller) is the night guard at the Museum of Natural History, but when the lights go out, the place comes to life. This movie begins with Daley living a new life, with a higher pay grade outside of the museum. He is now selling products on infomercials. He visits the museum and discovers that all of his friends of the night are about to be shipped off to permanent storage in the deep basement of the Smithsonian, only to be replaced by technology.
The adventure begins when Jedediah Smith (Owen Wilson) manages to call Daley from their new location and alert him of the trouble the whole gang is in with Kahmunrah (Hank Azaria) and his followers. As Daley rushes off to help them, we start to encounter a whole slew of recognizable comics. He has a run in with guard Brandon (Johah Hill), its pronounced Brundon though. It was quite obvious that the scene shared between Hill and Stiller was just ad-lib. By far, one of the funniest moments in the movie. His scene is short-lived, but we quickly move on to new characters. Hank Azaria plays Kahmunrah, a lisp-speaking Egyptian with a complex about his brother and determined to rule the world. Azaria also provided voices for Abe Lincoln and the famous statue, The Thinker.
We also get some female power in this film with Amelia Earhart (Amy Adams) coming to life and helping Daley solve clues and go on adventures through out the many buildings that make up the Smithsonian. Adams was great, she came off very strong and loving. Her performance will not go unnoticed here.
There were many surprises in the actors chosen for these characters; not disappointed though. Bill Hader plays General George Armstrong Custer and makes him his own. By spending time brushing his long golden locks of hair in front of others to shouting out his ideas for ridiculous battle plans. He delivered one of the greatest lines in this movie. With the battle raging on, Daley asks Custer what that plan is, and Custer responds, “We’re Americans we don’t plan, we do.”
One of the disappointments in this film was the lack of adult humor seamlessly hidden for parents. With the over-the-top campiness of monkeys slapping each other and the Giant Squid acting like the new puppy of the film, it was hard to feel like this movie was for me. I still enjoyed the humor that did exist, it just felt like the sequel was made for only one kind of audience, kids.
The history that is portrayed in this film is amazing though. We get to see so many new things that it felt like a rushed history lesson, but a lot more fun. With famous quotes and recognizable paintings, this movie had a lot more facts than the first movie.
One of the coolest parts of the movie, for me, was when Daley and Earhart start interacting with the paintings, and literally fall into one of them and continue being chased around by Egyptians and other notorious bad guys like Al Capone and Napoleon Bonaparte.
While the original cast of characters was involved in the story, they were seen a lot less than expected. The story was fast-paced and flowed well together, but I did feel like the end was rushed a little. All in all, it is a child’s movie and a great family movie for the summer and in a genre of movies like it,
I give it 4 “Cubes of Rubiks” out of 5.
by Angela Davis