Night at the Museum
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FAQ Contents

A Note Regarding Spoilers

The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags have been used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.

For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for Night at the Museum can be found here.

Out-of-work and divorced, Larry Kaley (Ben Stiller) takes a job as a night watchman at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, hoping to impress his ex-wife Erica (Kim Raver) and son Nick (Jake Cherry) that he really can hold a job. The first night on the job, he discovers that the secret to the museum is that all the exhibits come to life at night. In order to keep his job and his credibility, he must learn why the exhibits come to life and how to control them.

The film is based on The Night at the Museum (1993), a children's book by Croatian writer Milan Trenc. The book was adapted for the movie by American writers Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant. It was followed by Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian (2009) and Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb (2014).

The first to awaken is a skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus rex, followed by the Neanderthals and woolly mammoth from the caveman diorama. An Easter Island stone head then ask for gum. Add to that Attila (Patrick Gallagher) and the Huns, Sacajawea (Mizuo Peck) from the Lewis and Clark diorama, lions and other animals in the African exhibit, the key-stealing Dexter (Crystal the Monkey), Christopher Columbus (Pierfrancesco Favino), miniatures from the Old West, Roman Empire, and Mayan dioramas, Teddy Roosevelt (Robin Williams), Pharoah Ahkmenrah (Rami Malek), among numerous others, including a blue whale.

In the 1950s, the Museum acquired the Golden Tablet of Ahkmenrah from the temple of the Pharoah. The tablet has the power to bring all of the exhibits, whether human or animal, to life during the night, but they must return to their places at sunup. Anyone or anything who is outside of the Museum after the sun rises will turn to dust. It's one of the night watchman's duties to make sure that no one (or thing) gets in...or out...of the Museum.

Larry is referring to popular American magician David Copperfield, not to the Dickens character. Copperfield (real name David Kotkin) is noted for his illusions that make large landmarks, such as the Statue of Liberty, to disappear, which is what Larry was referring to when Rexy disappears.

The lead in clearly sets the movie in New York City, showing sweeping views of the Brooklyn Bridge and Central Park. In reality, the 'museum' was constructed on a sound stage in Vancouver, Canada. External shots of the Museum are of the Museum of Natural History in New York.

U.S.V. stands for United States Volunteers. Specifically, Teddy Roosevelt was assigned to the 1st United States Volunteer Cavalry (one of 3 Volunteer Cavalry regiments raised for the Spanish-American War) which was nicknamed as "The Rough Riders" by the American press. The 1st United States Volunteer Cavalry was the only regiment to see any action during 1898 in the Spanish-American War. When Colonel Leonard Wood became commander of the cavalry brigade (consisting of 1st U.S. Cavalry, 10th U.S. Cavalry, and 1st U.S.V. Cavalry), "The Rough Riders" was renamed as "Roosevelt's Rough Riders."

Wilson's original part (as Jedediah) was a small cameo, but his performance was so popular with the screening audience that they expanded his role. If it's any consolation, most viewers of the movie agree that Wilson's part was large enough and important enough to the storyline that he should have gotten screen credit.

Dexter is a Capuchin. He was part of the African Mammals exhibit, but Capuchin monkeys are found in Central and South America, not in Africa.

In part. Mizuo's bio says that she was born in New York City and is of Japanese, Irish, English, and Cherokee descent.

Who was Sacajawea?

Sacajawea (variously spelled many ways) [c.1788-1812] was a Shoshone Indian who accompanied her husband Toussaint Charbonneau and explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark as a translator and guide on their 1804-1806 expedition across the western United States, from North Dakota to the Pacific Ocean. She has been commemorated in American history as a female hero and a one dollar coin has even been issued in her honor.

How does the movie end?

Larry, Nick, and Akhmenrah go looking for Cecil (Dick Van Dyke), Reginald (Bill Cobbs), and Gus (Mickey Rooney) to get back the tablet. Going through the lobby, they find all the exhibits battling each other. It takes some doing, but Larry convinces them they have to work together to retrieve the tablet, otherwise all this coming to life at night will end. The civil war mannequins manage to capture Gus, Columbus and the Neanderthals capture Reginald, Jedidiah and Octavian flatten the tires on Cecil's van, but Cecil escapes in a stagecoach. Larry, Nick, Akhmenrah, Atilla, and the T-rex pursue him through Central Park, eventually catching him and retrieving the tablet. While Sacajawea puts Teddy Roosevelt back together with hot wax and the Huns take Cecil back inside the Museum, Akhmenrah activates his tablet and orders everyone back inside. Larry calls Rebecca (Carla Gugino), who arrives at the Museum just in time to see all the exhibits filing back inside and realizes that Larry was telling her the truth. Larry and Akhmenrah do a count to make sure no one is missing, Larry introduces Rebecca to Sacajawea and they go off to talk. Last ones back are Jedidiah and Octavian after crashing in a snowbank with their little car. By the time the sun comes up, everyone and everything is back in their proper places, except for the mess all over the lobby. Just before he turns back into wax, Teddy assures Nick that his father is a great man. The next morning, the TV news reports that Tyrannosaurus rex footprints have been found in the snow leading up to the Museum, that caveman drawings have been found in the subway, and that cavemen were spotted playing with fire. An elaborate hoax maybe? Doctor McPhee (Ricky Gervais) fires Larry but hires him back when he sees the lobby brimming with visitors at opening time. Nick takes Larry to school on Career Day to introduce his dad, the night watchman at the Museum of Natural History, to his class. In the final scene, Larry looks down at the lobby in which all the exhibits are partying together. Larry then flips his flashlight, puts it in his belt, and snaps to turn the light off.

Viewers assume that the Golden Tablet brought to life Ahkmenrah during the night, in the same way that it made stuffed lions, a T-rex skeleton, and wax figures come to life. Since he unwrapped himself at night, Ahkmenrah would be fully alive in his natural form.

'September by Earth, Wind & Fire.

In some versions, Cecil, Gus, and Reginald were forced to clean up the lobby, seen in the end credits. 'We're nightwatchmen, not janitors!' says Gus during these end credits.

Page last updated by bj_kuehl, 7 months ago
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