Monday, June 1, 2009

Review: Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian

So my family went to see Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian on Sunday, which is made more amazing by the fact that we don't go to many movies these days. Cheaper to rent and/or buy them later on. This one, however, was worth paying more to see in the theater - I enjoyed it a lot! Here's some a more detailed review:

Although I really liked Night at the Museum 2, it had a totally different appeal to me than the first movie did. The first was more or less realistic; if you can get past the premise of the exhibits coming to life at night, it was pretty believable. When the characters made a mess, our hero the night guard was in trouble the next day. This movie, however, completely broke with any sort of logical realism this time around. Here's some examples:
  • The range of the tablet's influence seems to be variable. Presumably, it should affect an area about the size of the museum in New York, or the next door homes would also have things coming to life. But it's range seems to be much greater at the Smithsonian, which the movie points out is multiple separate museums. My sister pointed out that the items "woke up" when the characters entered the building with the tablet, and hadn't beforehand, but there's still a problem: The bad pharaoh stayed alive even when the tablet left the building. Even worse, at the end of the movie it is acting both on the New York museum and the Smithsonian. Something doesn't add up.
  • There was no attempt at damage control. Multiple times significant messes were made and there was no attempt to hide them. It would be kind of obvious the next morning that something big happened if the Smithsonian visitors and staff came to entire windows being broken and substantial numbers of exhibits moved around as the bad guys' loot. Nobody makes any effort to clean up or set things right, which would lead to a major shock the next morning.
  • Speaking of which, where were all the people during the night? The characters were outside a few times and the area was deserted. Is the National Mall really completely deserted in the middle of the night? No cars? Surely there's more than one night guard on duty...Nobody at all?
  • I thought some of the characters were a little "out-of-character" and/or voice. Lincoln sounded nothing like what I would have expected, and he was portrayed to be far stupider than I believe he was as well. Other characters were equally bizarre, and I felt the whole thing was more of a comedy than a remotely-realistic analysis of what would happen if all these characters were together at the same time and place. Would we really be going on and on about Napoleon's height, as humorous as it may be?
  • In general, I just felt the movie was far less realistic than the first. The secret is out, and out in a big way. (And, to avoid a spoiler, this certainly applies to the ending, which was totally unrealistic, but amazing!)
But I did love the movie! I just loved it in a different way. The first one was intriguing; this was entertaining. There were lots of jokes to pick up and so many characters that everyone's bound to find a few they know. A little romance to keep my sister happy. But the realist in me needs to go away to fully appreciate the film for the comedy that it is.

One last complaint: The bobblehead Einsteins really should have made a crack about quantum gravity or string theory ;(

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