“We’re Americans. We don’t plan, we do.”
Night at the Museum 2
Look, they said it, not me.
And, yes, I did watch the sequel to a kids’ film which was not exactly terrific anyway, but, hey, I was bored. And I have to watch something other than Game of Thrones, if only to prevent myself from turning into a power-hungry mass-murderer.
For those of you unfamiliar with the box-office phenomenon that was Night at the Museum, it essentially involved Ben Stiller as a night guard at a museum trying to deal with the fact that all the museum exhibits come alive at night. Oh, and there was something about someone trying to steal a magic tablet. Or something.
Well, for this brilliant instalment in the saga, the whole circus moves to Washington, as the original museum is broken up and its exhibits go into storage. Someone (an Egyptian pharoah, apparently) is trying to steal the magic tablet that makes the exhibits come alive, and wants to use it to open a door to the Underworld, for obscure reasons. Ben Stiller the Plucky Night Guard must Rescue the Tablet and Prevent the End of the World, with the help of his animated museum friends.
It’s basically the same as the first film, except in Washington. And with a giant animated Abraham Lincoln (from the Lincoln Memorial, because apparently the tablet makes everything in the city come alive, not just in one museum!).
On the other hand, this is one of the very few films in which Owen Wilson is actually funny (in a camp kind of way; he plays a miniature cowboy, alongside miniature Roman Emperor Steve Coogan) rather than just obnoxious. And there is a kind of chaotic fun to be had from the whole thing, with balloon animals from the art galleries bouncing round, and rocket ships in the Air and Space museum, and moving portraits like the ones at Hogwarts. And imagining what happens when all these things meet is a cool concept, as well.
Of course, the problem with having everything in a museum come alive is, well, how do you make something scary? When you have dinosaur skeletons rampaging through the halls, and Al Capone waving his gun at everyone who gets in his way, and a frickin’ giant Abraham Lincoln stamping on people, what can you possibly do that would be worse? So when people with hawk-heads start erupting from the Underworld in order to begin the reign of King Akmenrah, it’s a bit of an anticlimax. Seriously? This is what everyone’s afraid of? Some people with hawk-heads? I needn’t have worried, then.
The one thing that made me really ragey, however, was the appearance of Miss Amelia Earhart. For a start, Amy Adams’ performance is just annoying: stilted and frothy and unconvincing. And the actual portrayal of her character – the one written into the script – was equally irritating, since I’m quite sure the real Amelia Earhart would be considerably more than an airhead whose only focus is apparently on her romantic prospects. Priorities, Amelia.
It’s not a terrible film – by which I mean, it’s not totally unwatchable – but probably not something you’d want to watch twice. Or even once, come to that.