NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM 2
NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM: BATTLE FOR THE SMITHSONIAN
Such success inevitably demands a sequel and most of the production personnel have reunited here. Night at the Museum 2 brings back all the familiar actors and characters Ben Stiller, Ricky Jervais as the pompous museum head, Jake Cherry as Stillers son, the miniaturised duo of Owen Wilson and Steve Coogan, the dinosaur skeleton, Sacajawea, the Easter Island moai that makes goo-goo noises, Attila the Hun, the cavemen and the scene-stealing monkey. Surprisingly absent for most of the film is Robin Williams who turns up at the start and finish (and briefly in the middle as a digitally rendered bronze bust).
Night at the Museum 2 does essentially what a sequel is meant to do it brings back the familiar characters and it expands the scale of the first effort. Especially the latter in fact, the entirely film has been premised around doing precisely that. Thus the locale is transferred to The Smithsonian, which we are told is the largest museum in the world, providing a host of new exhibits to come to life Amelia Earhart, Napoleon, a black-and-white Al Capone, a comically incompetent General Custer, flying and singing cherubim statues, a giant octopus, Rodins The Thinker, Albert Einstein bobblehead dolls, the giant-sized marble Abraham Lincoln from the Lincoln Memorial, even cameos from Darth Vader and Oscar the Grouch, and a venture into the Air and Space museum with appearances from the Wright Brothers, the Tuskegee Airmen, Apollo Mission Control and a sequence premised around Ben Stiller and Amy Adams taking flight in the Wright Brothers plane. One of the cutest additions is having various artworks also coming to life, including familiar works from Jackson Pollock, Andy Warhol, Edgar Degas and Jeff Koons, while the pitchfork from Grant Woods American Gothic (1930) proves a handy weapon to defend against the Egyptian hordes before Ben Stiller and Amy Adams make an escape into the black-and-white world of Alfred Eisenstaedts classic photograph VJ Day in Time Square (1945).
Exactly like the first film, Night of the Museum 2 is a series of effects scenes and comedy routines and not a lot more even Ben Stiller seems buried by the show going on around him and rises to the fore surprisingly little of the time. The film zips along in a mindless, brain-unengaged way but rarely involves one on any level beyond the equivalent of watching childrens television. There seems even less of a plot driving it this time and one that is dependent on a number of improbabilities (there do not appear to be any security guards or cameras in much of The Smithsonian, the tablet is able to animate statues far from its influence, or even the question of whether it is possible to kill a wax/plastic figure as Owen Wilsons Jedediah is in apparent imminent danger of being throughout most of the film or how Ben Stiller went from a lifelong loser in the last film to highly successful businessman here). There is a cute seemingly improvised confrontation between Ben Stiller and an uncredited Jonah Hill. Other than the addition of Amy Adams, who makes a perkily sexy Amelia Earhart, and some of the scenes with Hank Azaria, surprisingly little of Night of the Museum 2 adds to anything more than the cinematic equivalent of a junk food snack.
Most present reunited for a further sequel Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb (2014).