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Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian (known outside of North America as Night at the Museum 2), is a 2009 American comedy film and the sequel to the 2006 adventure comedy film Night at the Museum. The film stars Ben Stiller, Amy Adams, Owen Wilson, Hank Azaria, Christopher Guest, Alain Chabat, Steve Coogan, Ricky Gervais, Bill Hader, Jon Bernthal, Patrick Gallagher, Jake Cherry, Rami Malek, Mizuo Peck, and Robin Williams. It was released in cinemas on May 22, 2009.

Plot

Two years after Larry Daley (Ben Stiller) defeated the three night guards that plotted to steal The tablet, he is now head of Daley Devices, a company that he founded to manufacture his inventions. These inventions, including the Glow-in-the-Dark Flashlight, the Unloseable Keyring, and the Oversized Dogbone, were created from his experiences as a former night guard. Upon revisiting, he finds that the American Museum of Natural Historymarker is closed for upgrades and renovations, and some of the museum pieces are being replaced by interactive holograms due to budget costs. The actual exhibits are due to be moved to the Federal Archives at the Smithsonian Institutionmarker in Washington DCmarker. On the last night, Larry reconnects with his museum exhibit friends including Theodore Roosevelt (Robin Williams), Rexy the Tyrannosaurus Skeleton, and Dexter the Capuchin Monkey (Crystal the Monkey) and finds out that several exhibits, including Theodore, Rexy, The Easter Island Head (Brad Garrett), and good Pharaoh Ahkmenrah (Rami Malek) and his tablet are not moving to the Smithsonian Institution - without the Tablet of Ahkmenrah, the other exhibits will no longer be animated, something which Teddy has not told them so they can enjoy their last night. The next night, Larry gets a call from Jedediah (Owen Wilson), saying that Dexter stole the tablet last midnight and evil Pharaoh Kahmunrah (Hank Azaria), Ahkmenrah's older brother, is attacking them. Larry goes to Washington and visits the National Air and Space Museummarker, the National Gallery of Artmarker and the Smithsonian Institution Buildingmarker to find The Federal Archives with the help of his son Nick Daley (Jake Cherry).

Larry sneaks into the archives and locates the exhibits, frozen in the middle of a battle with Kahmunrah and his troops, who are trying to lock the exhibits in a crate. Larry gets hold of the Tablet of Ahkmenrah, which had been stolen by Dexter, just when the sun sets and all the exhibits come alive again. Kahmunrah and his soldiers lock the crate and take the tablet from Larry, and he tells Larry that bringing the exhibits to life is just one of the tablet's powers - he intends to use it to raise an army from the underworld and conquer the world, by placing the tablet into its sister artifact: the Gate of Kahmunrah. Larry escapes with the help of General George Armstrong Custer (Bill Hader), who gets captured, and meets Amelia Earhart (Amy Adams), who is thrilled at the prospect of adventure and accompanies Larry. Larry and Amelia then go through an assortment of paintings and trap Kahmunrah's soldiers in one. Meanwhile, Kahmunrah is able to recruit Ivan The Terrible (Christopher Guest), Napoleon Bonaparte (Alain Chabat), and Al Capone (Jon Bernthal) to help him capture Larry and the Tablet Of Ahkmenrah in return for sharing the world with him when he conquers it. Custer is locked up with the other exhibits from the American Museum of Natural Historymarker, and while he conceives a poor plan of attack, Jedediah and Octavius (Steve Coogan) sneak out to help Larry.

They are found out by one of Al Capone's goons, and Jedediah tells Octavius to run away while he distracts them, which leads him to get captured and placed in a bird cage. Octavius sees this and vows to get reinforcements and save him.

Larry and Amelia are captured by Napoleon Bonaparte and taken to Kahmunrah. Kahmunrah then attempts to activate the tablet to open the gates of the underworld by pressing the symbols on the tablet, only to find out that the combination has been changed. He orders Larry to decipher the tablet's riddle and figure out the new combination before sunrise, and traps Jedediah in an hourglass to hasten his attempts. Larry and Amelia consult a bust of Teddy who says that the answer is in the heart of the pharaoh's tomb. The duo then consult The Thinker, but he gets distracted by a beautiful statue of Aphrodite. Finally, at the National Air and Space Museum, they consult a group of Albert Einstein bobbleheads who tell them that the answer to the riddle (and hence the new combination) is pi. Larry and Amelia fly the Wright Flyer to the Lincoln Memorialmarker for a short while, return to the Smithsonian Institution Building, and Amelia goes for help while Larry delays Kahmunrah. Capone, Napoleon and Ivan arrive and tell him the code (having intimidated one of the Einstein bobbleheads into revealing it to them), and he opens the gates of the underworld and summons an army of Horus warriors. Suddenly, the statue of Abraham Lincoln from the Lincoln Memorial bursts through the window, frightening the bird-men back to the underworld. Amelia arrives, having freed the other exhibits, and Custer orders them to attack. During this battle, Octavius frees Jedediah, who is now covered in sand to the head, by smashing the glass with his helmet. They then attack the gangsters and hussars by poking their shoes with swords à la 300. Larry then duels Kahmunrah with his flashlight after distracting Capone, Napoleon and Ivan, defeating him and then pushing him through the gate, which banishes him to the underworld forever.

Amelia flies Larry and the other exhibits back to the American Museum of Natural History, where Teddy welcomes him back, and Larry assures him he has a way for them to remain there. Larry and Amelia say goodbye and kiss before Amelia flies away, leaving Larry outside the museum. Some time later, it is revealed that Larry generously sold his company and donated the money to the museum to pay for Audio-Animatronics exhibits - since the museum now opens late, the exhibits can come to life under the guise of "animatronic" figures, including Teddy as a tour guide, Ahkmenrah and Dexter displaying the Tablet, and Attila as a storyteller. Larry is rehired at the museum as the night guard so as to watch over the rest of his friends, and meets a young woman who looks just like Amelia. The film concludes as they talk and walk off as Larry guides her toward the hall of miniatures. Jedediah and Octavius then fly by in a miniature airplane. During the credits, a man from a black and white photo of V-J day in Times Squaremarker is seen examining Larry's Blackberry cell phone, which Larry left in the photo, and makes a new discovery (for his time period). His mother calls him, and it is revealed that his name is Joey Motorola.

Cast

Owen Wilson, Amy Adams, and Ben Stiller at a panel promoting the film in May 2009


Production

Writers Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon confirmed to Dark Horizons that they were writing a sequel to Night at the Museum, originally with a tentative title Another Night at the Museum. The writers said that "there'll be existing characters and plenty of new ones."

20th Century Fox announced that the sequel, now titled Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, was scheduled for a Memorial Day weekend release on May 22, 2009. It has been said that Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Steve Coogan, Ricky Gervais, Patrick Gallagher, Jake Cherry, Rami Malek, Mizuo Peck, and Robin Williams will all return for the sequel, with Shawn Levy back in the director's chair, and it will be the first time a major Hollywood feature uses the Smithsonian name in its title. It is not the first feature movie to be filmed in the Smithsonianmarker in Washington, D.C.marker. It is largely being filmed in Vancouvermarker. Due to the nature of the complex story more historical figures are involved, such as Amelia Earhart, who will be portrayed by Amy Adams, Kahmunrah/The Thinker/Abraham Lincoln will be played by Hank Azaria, Ivan The Terrible will be played by Christopher Guest, Napoleon Bonaparte will be played by Alain Chabat, General George Armstrong Custer will be played by Bill Hader, and Al Capone will be played by Jon Bernthal.

The film was confirmed as shooting a scene at the Lincoln Memorial on the night of May 21, 2008. It was also shooting a scene at the American Museum of Natural Historymarker in New York on the nights of the eighteenth and twentieth of August 2008 where a red airplane could be seen. The trailer was released with Bedtime Stories, Yes Man and Marley & Me in December 2008, January 2009 with Bride Wars, and again in February and April 2009 with The Pink Panther 2 and Dragonball Evolution.

The film was promoted as an opening skit on American Idol, where a replica of the Idol judge seats are being held at the real Smithsonian Institution.

Reception

loaned the Smithsonian Institution props used in the movie which were displayed in the Smithsonian Castle including the pile of artifacts featured in the film. The Smithsonian also made a brochure available online and at museum visitor service desks outlining where to find artifacts.

As of 2009, numerous artifacts which inspired the movie were on display at Smithsonian Museums along the National Mallmarker. Many of the artifacts are labeled with "Night at the Museum" logos.
  1. Able the space monkey
  2. Lunar rover
  3. Lunar Module
  4. 1903 Wright Flyer
  5. Amelia Earhart's Lockheed Vega
  6. medal belonging to Tuskegee Airmen
  7. Supermarine Spitfire
  8. F-104 Starfighter
  1. giant squid
  2. Moai
  3. Tyrannosaurus
  1. Oscar the Grouch puppet
  2. George Armstrong Custer's fringed jacket
  3. Muhammad Ali's boxing gloves
  4. Theodore Roosevelt's chaps
  5. Archie Bunker's chair from the television sitcom All in the Family.
  6. Theodore Roosevelt's teddy bear
  7. ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz


Critical reaction

Like its predecessor, the sequel has received mixed reviews from critics. Rotten Tomatoes reported that 44% of critics gave the film positive reviews based on 154 reviews, with an average score of 5.2 out of 10. Among Rotten Tomatoes' "Cream of the Crop", which consists of popular and notable critics from the top newspapers, websites, television, and radio programs, the film holds an overall approval rating of 33% based on 27 reviews. Another review aggretator, Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 top reviews from mainstream critics, the film received an average score of 42% based on 27 reviews. Roger Ebert of The Chicago Sun Times awarded the film 1 1/2 stars out of 4.

Despite poor reviews from critics, most critics praised Amy Adams's and Hank Azaria's performances. Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune awarded the film 3 stars stating that "...she's terrific -- a sparkling screen presence." Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly gave the film a B+ stating "Battle of the Smithsonian has plenty of life. But it's Adams who gives it zing." Perry Seibert of TV Guide gave the film 2 stars despite honoring that "thanks to Azaria, a master of comic timing. His grandiose, yet slightly fey bad guy is equally funny when he's chewing out minions as he is when deliberating if Oscar the Grouch and Darth Vader are evil enough to join his team. Michael Rechtshaffen of the Hollywood Reporter and A.O. Scott of the New York Times enjoyed both performances.

One critic panned the movie on its excessive use of special effects as noted by Scott Tobias of the A.V. Club when he described the film as "a baffling master plot and a crowded pileup of special effects in search of something to do."

Box office

On Friday, May 22, 2009, its opening day, the film's estimated gross was $15,568,708, coming in ahead of Terminator Salvation (which released on Thursday) in 4,096 theaters at #1, reaching up to $54.1 million on its opening weekend. By comparison, Night at the Museum reached up to $30 million on its opening weekend in December 2006. The domestic revenue as of October 1, 2009 is $177.1 million along with $236.0 million from foreign countries with a total of $411,755,284 worldwide.

Awards

Year Award Category Recipient Result
2009 Teen Choice Award Choice Movie Comedy Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian


DVD release

Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian will be available onto a Two Disc Special Edition and also a Three Disc Edition on a Digital Copy. The DVD release is on December 1, 2009.

Artworks featured



Video game

The video game based on the film was released on May 5, 2009. It was fairly well-received in comparison to the majority of film-based video-games, netting a 7.5 out of 10 from IGN.com.

Cultural references

Amelia Earhart's plane, as seen in the film
  • When Kahmunrah is told that two other people want to join him, they are Darth Vader (from Star Wars) and Oscar the Grouch (from Sesame Street).
  • When Larry and Amelia first enter the National Air and Space Museummarker, the characters are all in various states of takeoff or launch. Clint Howard, who portrays a Mission Control technician, played a similar role in the Ron Howard movie Apollo 13.
  • When Larry and Amelia fly the Wright Flyer out of the National Air and Space Museum, Able the Monkey held up two green flares as the plane flew overhead, parodying a scene from The Rock when Nicolas Cage held up two green flares to prevent a sortie of F/A-18s from bombing the island.
  • The battle when Jedediah and Octavius fight against the shoes of their giant enemies is a parody of 300.
  • Similar to the previous movie, Able and Dexter slap Larry during the battle scene à la Three Stooges.
  • The hit song "My Heart Will Go On" from the film Titanic was sung by the cherubs during a kissing scene with Larry and Amelia.
  • "Lovebug" by the Jonas Brothers and "More Than A Woman" by the Bee Gees, was played by the cherubs who were voiced by the Jonas Brothers.
  • Larry tricks Kahmunrah and his men by claiming to show him "the cube of Rubik" (Rubik's Cube) in a crate which actually held a giant squid.
  • When Custer charges through the storage area, the music is "Garryowen," a traditional Irish tune that became the unofficial song of the U.S. Seventh Cavalry.
  • The scene where Larry infiltrates the Smithsonian is a parody of the film National Treasure. The scene also makes use of music which has motifs similar to music used in the aforementioned film.
  • In the scene where jets are being launched from the deck of an aircraft carrier, they have a "Green Shirt" giving the Launch command. In reality, on board a US carrier, "green shirts" are in charge of the catapult and arresting gear. "Yellow Shirts" are the only people on the flight deck authorized to move aircraft, or to give hand signals regarding taxiing the a/c, or moving it. Yellow shirts are the Flight Deck Officers and Plane Directors.
  • During the final credits, Joey Motorola is seen (in black and white) tinkering with the cell phone that Larry dropped inside the V-J Day in Times Square photograph. Historically, Motorola was founded in the 1930s by Paul Galvin and Joseph Galvin. "Motorola" is a blending of the words "motor" and "Victrola".
  • When Larry infiltrates the National Archives the music motif is a homage to the ending of Raiders of the Lost Ark, where they place the ark into storage.
  • Ed Helms, Mindy Kaling and Craig Robinson from NBC's The Office can be seen playing minor roles during the film. Amy Adams (who plays Amelia Earhart) also starred in several episodes of the TV series during their first two seasons.
  • This is the 10th film that Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson have starred in together. Both are members of a highly labeled group of comedy actors known as the Frat Pack.
  • A mannequin of Neil Armstrong says "One step for mannequin" as a parody of when Neil said, "One small step for man," as he became the first man to step on the moon on July 20, 1969.


Sequel Possibility

Ben Stiller commented that a sequel is "a possibility".

References

  1. http://siarchives.si.edu/exhibits/SIintheMovies/index.htm
  2. Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian (2009)
  3. Teen Choice Awards winners
  4. Amazon.com: DVD Release for Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian


External links




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