Night at the Museum 2 (PG)
Dir. Shawn Levy - previous offences 'The Pink Panther', 'Night at the Museum'
Reviewed by Matt Adcock
“Is that you breathing? Because I can't hear myself think! There's too much going on here; you're asthmatic, you're a robot. And why the cape? Are we going to the opera? I don't think so...” This is the genius scene where the Dark Lord of Sith – Vader himself is confronted by wise cracking master villain, Egyptian pharaoh Kah Mun Rah (Hank ‘voice of Chief Wiggum in The Simpsons’ Azaria). It seems that Vader isn’t evil enough to join Rah’s band of superbaddies who plan to conquer the world (Ivan the Terrible, Al Capone and Napoleon do make the cut).
It sets the tone for this second instalment of the ‘museum exhibits come to life and amusingly cause chaos’ franchise and the good news is that it’s funnier and more watchable than the first.
Larry Daley (Ben Stiller) the hero guard from the New York’s Museum of Natural History in the first film is back to help his legendary exhibit pals who get brought back to life when moved to a bigger museum’s storage facility. No, the plot won’t win any prizes for originality but that doesn’t worry director Levy (amazingly turning out his second watchable film) who simply throws everything in his larger budget at the screen. What results is a good natured action packed comedy follow up that will blow kids away and tickle adult views in the right places.
New characters drafted in this time include Amelia Earhart (the lovely Amy Adams) who teams up to help Daley, plus an wonderfully camp General Custer (Bill Hader) who steals all his scenes. Returning for their pay cheques are Theodore Roosevelt (Robin Williams), mini cowboy Jedediah (Owen Wilson), Roman legionnaire Octavius (Steve Coogan) and the rather redundant Dr. McPhee (Ricky Gervais).
"Amy Adams... tightest trousers in the West"
I laughed loudest at the excellent hilarious cameo Jonah ‘Superbad’ Hill who sets new standards in jobsworthness but the funnies keep coming at regular intervals so you’re unlikely to leave without having been amused.
Night at the Museum 2’s main attraction for kids will the large scale devastation – brought to life with some seriously impressive special effects. A massive octopus and the obligatory returning dinosaur skeleton are good value but there are also some surprisingly well judged moments like a dip into Robert Doisneau’s famous French photograph “Le Baiser de l’Hotel de Ville, Paris” which strives to add a touch of culture to the madcap proceedings.
In the end it all boils down to seeing if the oddball bunch of goodies can overcome the evil Pharaoh and save the world? Only by taking another trip to the museum will you find out…
Arbitrary Darkmatters final rating of: ööööööö (7 - history exhibits a strong comedy character)
Darkmatters quick reference guide:
Spiritual Enlightenment 6
Not convinced? check out this review of the film over at Little White Lies:
“'History history, learning learning,' sighs museum director McPhee (Ricky Gervais) with a withering contempt that reflects rather precisely this film’s attitude towards both genuine education, and the sort of flashy multimedia spectacle (NATM2 included) that has become education’s substitute. For this is a scattergun trawl through human (albeit mostly American) history and culture, with the emphasis more on entertainment than instruction. Still, if at has few actual insights to offer into the complexities of the past, at least it serves for the young viewer as a primer in postmodernism.”