Thursday, May 21, 2009

Night At the Museum 2

Review in a Hurry: It’s hard these days for movies to give you the type of unspoiled fun that Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian does. Such a simple idea—statues, fossils and photographs come to life after dark—is executed marvelously. The effects, the cameos and the go! go! pace all dazzle in this ticklish mix of history and horseplay staring Ben Stiller.

The Bigger Picture: Schoolkids forced onto field trips through mothball museums have often stayed awake by imagining what would happen if the statues and dead-eyed buffalos came to life.

Night at the Museum animates this common daydream riotously, and it pops with such an explosive amount of color and creativity that all the bumps are easily forgiven. It’s a sequel that improves upon a formula and holds up on its own.

Really, it’s like The Godfather Part II of family-oriented, museum-based CGI spectacles.

Due to renovations, Larry the night guard-turned-collections tycoon (Stiller), has to ship all of his plastic playmates—cowboys, Romans, ferocious-looking Eskimos—from their home in New York to the basement of the biggest museum on earth: the Smithsonian!

When the troop (led by Owen Wilson and Steve Coogan) arrives, we see the whole museum pulsate with life at dusk: Splatter-shot Jackson Pollocks slither around, Picasso mobiles whirl, naked cherubic fairies flutter about (they’re voiced by the Jonas Brothers—adorable!) and an animated, ass-kicking, 60-foot Abe Lincoln steals the show.

So a turf war goes down between the ragtag, taxidermied New York crew and the power-hungry ancient pharaoh (Hank Azaria) of the D.C. archives. Azaria—like Amy Adams, Bill Hader, Christopher Guest and the rest—tackles the grandiose part with an exuberant amount of energy and sincerity.

Other historical icons that show up, and they had me and the kiddies kicking the seats in front of us with excitement…I can’t bear ruin it for you. It’s not easy to amuse both adults and children, but the spectacle of Night at Museum is invigorating to watch at any age.

The 180—a Second Opinion: Stiller is the still point of this spinning comedy. He sleepwalks through his part and is easily outdone by the gusto of all his costars.

Source: E! Online

YAY! I'm watching it tomorrow, opening day (: