Lucy and Edmund Pevensie return to Narnia with their cousin Eustace where they meet up with Prince Caspian for a trip across the sea aboard the royal ship The Dawn Treader. Along the way they encounter dragons, dwarves, merfolk, and a band of lost warriors before reaching the edge of the world.
In New York, unemployed and divorced Larry Daley is a complete loser. His son Nick is very disappointed with his father who is going to be evicted. Larry accepts the job of night watchman in the Museum of Natural History and takes the place of three old security guards that have just retired in order to raise some money and pay his bills. On his first shift, Larry soon realizes that everything at the museum is not as it seems as the statues begin to come to life after the sun sets. The Museum transforms into complete chaos with the inexperienced Larry in charge as he learns that an old Egyptian stone that came to the Museum in 1950 brings these statues to life until dawn. When Larry brings his son to spend a night with him, the three old guards break into the Museum to try to steal the magical stone. Larry organizes all the historic characters to help him stop the criminals and save the museum.Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
In Night of the Museum, Ben Stiller plays Larry Daley, a divorced middle aged man who has gone through failure after failure, spending his life always attempting schemes to make it as something big, but never succeeding. After being freshly evicted, he finally settles for a fall-back job, for his 10-year old son. He ends up taking a job at a Museum of Natural History as a night guard, a seemingly safe and mellow position... seemingly. After receiving instructions from the trio of elderly workers who were employed previously to him, he begins his duty, at which point the surprise comes. The entire museum comes to life at night.
Night at the Museum is on occasion, a charming and enjoyable film to watch, particularly in the second half when the pace picks up dramatically. However, it has its fair share of problems, which end up hurting the film. Before it gets to the second half, it begins with an act displaying Larry's personal life, which is a nice attempt at humanizing this guy, but ends up being unbelievably stale and forgettable. A few years back Stiller branded himself forever as the king of silly with Zoolander, and later followed that up with Starsky & Hutch and Dodgeball among cameos in other Frat Pack comedies, but along with that, he has always tried to play sentimental roles as well, with Keep the Faith, Along Came Polly, Duplex, Envy, and now this. But the reality is, he's just not good at it, and he always seems to play the exact same character, and it never works. He bumbles, he fidgets, he trys his dorky thing, but he fails to show any emotional depth in the character or at all, he is completely bland in the role, and while he is not immediately dislikable, he is forgettable along with every aspect of the character's personal life in the film.
The true highlights of Night at the Museum, and really its saving grace from being awful, are easily the toys, artifacts, and statues in the museum itself, brought to life absolutely splendidly with top notch CGI and visual effects. As well, not only in the visuals do they shine, but in the actors, there is a joy to the way the high-profile cast and other extras just have fun fooling around in their roles as figurines and statues around the museum. Owen Wilson as a miniature cowboy is as charismatic as he has been, and Steve Coogan as his Roman general counterpart is no worse. Together they are able to form a formidable pair with great chemistry, both playing their time period roles strongly, they both bring life and depth to their characters, despite being toys on screen. But best of all is Robin Williams, who gives one of his best performances in recent years as the wax version of Teddy Roosevelt, he is surprisingly very good at showing both charm and heart in his guiding role. The rest of the artifacts in the museum including a fossilized T-Rex, an Easter Island statue, an Attila the Hun brought to life, and some fire craving cave men, are all entertaining and fun to watch run wild.
The film itself in particular, as mentioned, picks up a great amount steam and pace in the second half of the film, once it focuses on the artifacts' situation and the mission they end up taking, it seems to drop Stiller's character and focus and the pure fun. But that can't overcome the film's flaws, such as the blandness of the lead character, and without giving away too much, there are a few illogical holes dealing with the characters and their motivations in the film. Also Shawn Levy's direction is a bit weak, at times it seems he doesn't capture the beauty of the lively museum world enough, and he seems to paint the film in the same sentimental light of all others of its kind.
Bottom Line: Night at the Museum is a decent way to pass the time, but nothing more.
Review by Julien R., written for film site www.boxofficefanatic.com
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