Night At The Museum 2 Review: Childhood Revisited

NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM 2: On General Release Wednesday 20th May 2009

Oh to be a child again!

Heading to see The Night At The Museum 2 brought back all the wonder of a childhood visit to the cinema, and not just because the place was packed to the rafters with the little buggers.

A combination of great comedic turns from an eclectic cast, fantastic special effects and excellent flourishes of imagination left me so deliriously happy I nearly brought up my pick ‘n’ mix.

The genius of this movie lies in its use of the titular setting; the museum. For a screenwriter the premise of a museum full of fantastical artifacts which you can bring to life willy-nilly must seem like a gift from heaven. And thankfully not one minute of the film is put to waste. From battles with a giant octopus to talking Einstein bobbleheads, the film is a rollercoaster ride of pure unadulterated whimsy. In an inspired new plot twist, paintings and photographs also come to life and enable characters to climb inside and explore other realities.

Hilarious Simpson’s voiceover guy Hank Azaria appears as Kahmunrah, a tyrannical pharaoh with designs for world domination. Assembling an axis of evil from the museums other residents including Al Capone, Ivan the Terrible and Napolean, Kahmunrah attempts to steal an ancient Egyptian tablet from caretaker Larry (Ben Stiller) to summon his army from the afterlife. Azaria’s camp upper class Brit pharaoh had both kids and parents in fits of laughter, as did a cute cameo by Superbad‘s Jonah Hill as irate security guard Brandan, (actually, it’s pronounced Brundan – one of the top boys’ names in 1984, dontchaknow).

This time around the action takes place in Washington’s Smithsonian institute, a network of underground buildings housing more than 136 million items in its collections. That’s a lot of stuff to play with. Despite this, the plot remains as smooth and tight as Amelia Earheart’s (Amy Adams) bottom in those flight pants and the laughs are balanced well with the action. If I had one reservation, however, it is the lame attempt to shoehorn a romance between Stiller and Adams into proceedings when there is very little need for one.

Overall, Night At The Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian is a movie that can bring back that childhood excitement of just being in a cinema, when there was no such thing as a bad film. If you’ve got kids, take them. If you don’t, steal someones else’s.

Jack McKay