Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian (2009)

Custer's best scene by far.

Larry Daley is back as a successful inventor along with that wondrous tablet that brings exhibits to life.  He is out to bring back old artifacts from the history museum that was taken to the Smithsonian.  Along the way he meets old and new historical figures as he tries to restore the sagging history museum.  Ben Stiller isn’t good enough to carry a movie in my book.  Owen Wilson is terrible.  Amy Adams had an overall good impact I’d say.  The gags and jokes were mostly not that great.  It had its funny moments but overall it swayed too far from the original, in the wrong direction.  All the CGI doesn’t really help if you have a lackluster story.  It’s obvious I didn’t care for it yet I’ve seen it twice, ha-ha.

Why does he follow me around?
                I might as well say it I don’t care for Ben Stiller much and he doesn’t help his case in this CGI heavy film at all.  He became a hit inventor with lame inventions like a glow in the dark flashlight.  I’ll admit it’s a neat concept but to become TV famous for it?  This movie does take place in the USA so never mind it’s totally possible he could attain success for it, people love useless inventions.  He seems very big time considering he was previously but a night watchmen at a museum.  I can let it slide it though as the American dream is to make the big bucks right?  He goes to his old museum and talks with Dr. McPhee (Ricky Gervais) who steals the scene right out of Stiller’s hands.  The exhibits are getting boxed up and shipped out so Larry decides for one last hoorah with his old pals.  He soon learns the tablet will be staying at the museum with a couple of the old big exhibits like the Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton.  Why does the big Rex act like a dog?  As a huge fan of dinosaurs I’m appalled by the treatment of said dinosaur bones.  It would have been awesome if the Rex ate someone and you saw them trapped in the bones.  That’s still family fun right?  What little brother wouldn’t love to see his big sister get eaten by a skeletal T-Rex?  You can count me for an emphatic yes!

                Later on he is at his new fancy apartment when he gets a phone call from Jedediah (Owen Wilson, ack).  Wilson has the worst dialogue out of anybody in this movie, the second time I watched this I tried to remember just one line that was decent, I failed.  The question remains though how did that little turd get his phone number I wonder?  Perhaps from their previous encounter, hmm that would still seem unlikely but let’s pretend to not notice.  He finds out that the monkey stole the tablet and brought it to the Smithsonian.  One thing I don’t understand is how nobody found out about the whole coming to life aspect of the exhibits by now.  Surely someone would have stumbled upon it by now?  Oh well, it’s trivial for this movie I suppose.  Larry’s great idea is to take the tablet out of the Smithsonian before it’s too late.  He could also care less what happens but he’s just so emotional attached (or detached in Stiller’s case from the movie) to all his exhibit buddies which still doesn’t seem that convincing.

Finish him everyone is begging you!
                Let’s skip ahead to his eventual stand off against Jonah Hill who plays Brandon, could it get any worse?  It’s a battle of idiots as Larry swipes the other idiot’s security card.  He uses it to gain access the basement levels of the Smithsonian.  Now how many actual security guards watch over a place such as the Smithsonian every night, probably more than you can count on one hand I’d imagine?  When all the crazy events occur later I wonder if they’re all sleeping on the job or taking a big collective dump in the restroom.  The alarms don’t trigger at all either no matter how many windows get utterly destroyed or exhibits moved from their places.  Perhaps not all exhibits would have alarm settings but surely some of them would.  Things get a bit livelier when Kahmunrah (Hank Azaria) shows up.  He is mostly ridiculous and somewhat funny but he can’t even help this movie stay afloat for too long.  I’d say he was a flashing light of hope in the movie, when the flash went off you cried but when it was on you at least chuckled.  The movie goes up and down as far as what’s enjoyable and what’s not.  Al Capone never fires his gun and his goon’s plays cards all the time.  I’m sure Capone would be far more aggressive than he was played.  It might have been too many characters mashed together at one time, there wasn’t enough time to care about or develop them.  The same with Napoleon Bonaparte, they played the short gag to death.

Do I look happy to be in this movie?
                I hated the terrible use of Darth Vader and our garbage friend Oscar the grouch.  They got such a bum scene, Hank Azaria couldn’t save the scene with the crap dialogue he was given.  I wanted to forget this horrid moment but I wanted to make sure you remembered it or now become aware of it to feel my pain.  If you ever want to see classic hilarious Oscar the grouch please watch “Follow that Bird”, you will be pleased. 

Essence of Comedy
                How many times late in the film was the tablet far enough away from some exhibits yet they didn’t freeze up?  How can Amelia Earhart fly a plane once she is out of range of the tablet?  I know it’s a silly movie, so don’t take it so seriously right?   I just like to think within the world itself the movie is deriving from.  In other words it broke its own rules, can’t have that.  I’ll conclude by saying if you enjoy silliness, wackiness and reality (or even the universe the movie created) to be thrown in a blender and dumped onto a plate then you’ll have fun here.  I do like the idea of this movie about a tablet creating life for wax figures and such but it’s not done with enough care or brain power.  I have one tidbit of information to let you think about as I end.  What if Jim Carrey replaced Ben Stiller? 

                Rating: 4 of 10

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