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“Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian” {Blu-ray}
Wayne Klein
Studio: 20th Century Fox Home Video
Release Date:
Special Features:

2 commentary tracks, featurettes, gag reel, deleted scenes


Sequels particularly to kid movies often fail to capture the magic (if there was any) in the film that established “the series”. “Night at the Museum” was amusing and enjoyable so when I heard that there was going to be a sequel to what should have been a one-of-a-kind hit I immediately got suspicious and knew the sequel wasn’t going to be very good. It isn’t but it’s still enjoyable in a dumb movie sort of way. ***

As you may recall in the original “Night at the Museum” Larry (Ben Stiller) the night watchman discovered that the displays in the museum were coming to life courtesy of an ancient Tablet of Akmenrah. Larry has taken his latest invention to the bank literally making a fortune selling them on infomercials but he’s not a happy camper-he misses hanging out with his buddies that come to life at the Museum of Natural History. To his horror he finds that all of them are being shipped to the Smithsonian for archive storage and most are being replaced. When Jedediah (Owen Wilson) the tiny cowboy from the first film calls him for help, Larry makes a beeline for Washington D.C. to help his friends. It turns out that all of the wax figures and other displays there are coming to life (of course) now including a wax figure of Amelia Earhart (Amy Adams). ***

OK, “Museum” isn’t a modern work of art nor even a good movie but it does have some entertaining performances by Adams, Stiller, Robin Williams and Hank Azaria who continues to be delightful in anything he’s in. Aside from a few amusing moments, “Museum” is like mediocre fast food-it hits the spot at the moment but doesn’t last and you really never give it a second thought (unless you develop food poisoning). ---

Image & Sound:

“Museum” looks quite nice with a sharp, detailed colorful transfer. The presentation has nice depth as well. ***

The audio is a bit underwhelming even during the action sequences. It sounds nice but whomever did the mix for the presentation here keeps most of the activity in the forward speakers. ---

Special Features:

Director Shawn Levy checks in with a sincere commentary track focusing on the “themes” of the film. Maybe he should have shared the second commentary track that the writers Robert Garant and Tom Lennon appear on as they have a blast and keep us entertained. ***

“The Curators of Comedy: Behind-the Scenes of ‘Night of the Museum” checks in at just a shade under 30 minutes. It’s a typical electronic press kit behind-the-scenes piece that underwhelms. ***

“Historical Confessions” gives the actors the opportunity while in character to give us “famous last words” about their lives and legacy. ***

“Directing 101” allows us to follow director Levy as he prepares for a day shooting the film. ***

“Scavenger Hunt mode” is a trivia track. ***

The most entertaining part of the “interview” “Caveman Conversations: Survival of the Wittiest” is the title. ***

“Phinding Pharaoh” allows us see how Azeria discover the character he plays in the film which is a rather witty parody of Boris Karloff’s performance in “The Mummy”. ***

“The Jonas Brothers in Cherub Bootcamp” features the singing sensations as they are trained to be…cherubs. ***

“Show Me the Monkey” are three featurettes devoted to the monkeys that appear in the film. *** “Gangster Levy” features the director’s cameo as a rootin’ tootin’ gangster firing a Tommy gun. ***

We also get the “Fox Movie Channel” promo piece. It’s fluff. Deleted scenes and an amusing gag reel round things out. ---

Final Words:

You’ll probably end up renting this no matter what because you want to keep the kids entertained on Friday or Saturday night. “Museum” isn’t necessarily a bad movie just not very memorable.


Copyright @ Teakwood Productions 2000
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