Ben Stiller is back as Larry Daley, the inventor turned museum night guard, who has had a change in luck. He is the head of his own successful company and has not worked at the museum in years. However on a visit he finds out that the museum is going through renovations and many of the current exhibits will be sent to federal storage in order to make room for their replacements. Saddened by the news, Larry spends one more night with the exhibits in the Museum of Natural History in New York before they are shipped to the Smithsonian’s underground storage facilities in Washington DC.
Before Larry even has a chance to miss them, he gets a frantic call from Jedediah (Owen Wilson) the miniature cowboy from a western exhibit. Apparently Dexter the mischievous monkey has stolen the Egyptian tablet which belongs to Pharoah Ahkmenrah. Its magic is the sole reason the exhibits are able to come to life after sunset. With the tablet in a museum which houses over 136 million objects in its exhibits, including Kahmunrah the evil brother of Ahkmenrah, the mayhem is explosive. With a bad case of sibling rivalry, Kahmunrah demands the tablet which he plans to use to unleash his evil army into the world. The call sends Larry off on an adventure to save his friends and retrieve the tablet.
Night at the Museum: Battle for the Smithsonian brings back characters from the original movie such as Teddy Roosevelt (Robin Williams) and miniature roman soldier Octavius. However it also introduces several more entertaining historical characters such as:
Amelia Earhart (Amy Adams), Napoleon (Alain Chabat), Al Capone (John Bernthal), General Custer (Bill Hader) and Kahmunrah, played by Hank Azira, also known for his voice contributions on The Simpsons. Able the space monkey is introduced and along with Dexter, they manage a slapping scene with Larry that is sure to give kids a chuckle.
One of the great things about the movie is its soft introduction to the number of museums and type of exhibits the Smithsonian offers. There is a wide range to explore such as : The National Museum of Natural History which houses a dinosaur exhibit as well as the Hope Diamond; The National Air and Space Museum which houses Amelia Earhart’s airplane and a flight simulator guests can try; The Museum of American History includes social and pop culture items such as the First Ladies’ inaugural dresses, Archie Bunker’s chair, Muhammad Ali’s boxing gloves and robe, Dorothy’s ruby slippers from the Wizard of Oz, George Washington’s uniform and props from Star Trek and Indiana Jones: The National Portrait Gallery and the Smithsonian American Art Museum houses paintings from multiple collections, sculptures and other artwork. Also included under the Smithsonian’s umbrella is the very large Smithsonian National Zoological Park.
At “The Castle”, which is the Smithsonian information center and featured in the film, a temporary exhibit from the movie (called Pile of Loot) is on display. Another temporary exhibit to be housed at “The Castle” is the desk and chairs from the popular American Idol show.
The movie is rated PG. Even though it’s a sequel, the movie stands on its own but lacks some of the initial fun of the original. (After all, seeing the night guard discover the exhibits coming to life created suspense and many of the laughs). If you wanted to see the movie that started it all, Night at the Museum is available on DVD.