Night at the Museum (2006) Poster

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Finally, a real family film
Lady_Arwyn25 December 2006
What a cast! Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Robin Williams, Dick VanDyke, Mickey Roney, Bill Cobbs...

I'm not a Stiller fan, but in this one he was really great, he steps out of his usual shtick to really anchor this movie. For once he doesn't seem to be trying too hard and avoids overdoing it.

This is one of Robin Williams' better modern roles, he's toned down but still quintessentially Williams. It was nice to see him in a role that he can both take seriously *and* have some fun with it.

Owen Wilson is still awesome, basically reprising his Shanghai Noon character, but with a cute, rather unexpected twist.

Dick Van Dyke, Mickey Rooney and Bill Cobbs are classic, they haven't lost a step. Rooney is still the little bantam rooster with the attitude! Van Dyke clearly anchors the trio. Cobbs wasn't given much to work with for his character, but his quality shines through. These veteran comedic actors bring a bit of class and legitimacy to the film.

The movie is well paced, jumping almost directly into the action, with plenty of laughs. From Rexie's puppy-dog antics to the war between Old West Cowboys and Roman Centurians, there is something around every corner.

The only stinker in this film is the kid. He's totally under-utilized for the storyline, they could have improved the storyline by either leaving the kid out of the movie entirely, or by giving him something to do. The pseudo-love-interest, too, should have either been played up or left out.

This is an entirely enjoyable family film. My 87 year old grandmother-in-law loved it, as did my 9 year old daughter and my teenage sons! Truly something for everyone.
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Great kids movie!
keithclock19 December 2006
I think it's really annoying when I read reviews on here of a kids movie and someone tears it apart. Do these people expect to see Oscar award winning performances and production? As for this film, I thought it was really cute. It's perfect for a kid's imagination. I saw the movie at a pre-screening and every kid afterwards was smiling and excitedly talking about the movie. Sure there are some dumb jokes, etc., but overall the movie was great. It was especially cool to see Dick Van Dyke and Mickey Rooney working together.

Take your kid to see this movie. Their imagination will go wild and they might even be curious to go to a history museum afterwards.
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Very Funny
terperin28 December 2006
I saw it with a big group of friends (all in their early 20's) on opening night, and we all thought it was hilarious. It wasn't until a few days later that I heard reviews for it that were less than favorable. I thought the movie was funny and light-hearted. Yeah, some parts may not have seemed to make sense, but come on. It's a movie about exhibits in a museum coming to life - I don't think the creators were aiming for realism. I thought Ben Stiller did a great job, as did other supporting actors, especially the security guards. Everyone in the theater clapped when it was over, so they must have liked it too. I would definitely recommend it.
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Well... I laughed! So did everyone in the theater.
mreliae22 December 2006
Don't go into this movie expecting a complex plot and deep insight into the human condition. The story and plot are lightweight but that doesn't matter too much. The characters are likable enough and the situation is definitely full of possibilities.

The humor is silly and well-done slapstick without much in the way of vulgarity. I especially enjoyed the antics and heroics of the miniature Cowboys, Mayans and Romans. (Though my inner stickler was a tad annoyed with slight shifts in their scale.)

I recommend it for family viewing. My 8-year-old was in stitches AND asking me questions about history after the movie.
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Another movie let-down by bad marketing.
Deja_Entendu18 December 2006
I came into this movie thinking that it would suck AND disliking Ben Stiller very much. But I thought, hey, free tickets, Monday night, how bad could it be? Well, it wasn't. It was much funnier and had a much better script than I had anticipated. Stiller, famous for being *in* funny situations and not making them, actually acted like a comic character, something of a cross between Jim Carrey and Adam Sandler. Usuaully he's a passive element, but here he propelled the comedy further. Great job. Also, a fantastic group of supporting characters like Gus, Mr. McPhee and Atilla the Hun. The only problem I really had was the son, who was much too perfect and pacific to be of any interest, and was, at most times, quite annoying.

So all of you nay-sayers who judge the film by its previews, tut-tut to you. It's funny, it's fast, and wastes no time with kicking it into high gear. Great special effects, especially the T-Rex. Also, with the poor previews, it leaves you to enjoy the many delightful small twists and turns that keep the movie fresh.

So take off that cloak of prejudice and enjoy, it won't disappoint.
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A fun flick!
dark_lunar_wolf16 December 2006
I got to see a showing of Night at the Museum last night. I was impressed by the trailers and I got really pumped when I saw people like Stiller, Wilson, Robins, Rudd and more famous comedian actors like Gervais in it.

The movie starts out slow but picks up once Stiller's character enters the museum. Once he enters the chaos begins.

The movie has it's up's and downs. Sometimes it feels like it was trying too hard to be funny. Don't get me wrong this movie is filled with laughs such as the Stiller and the monkey slapping each others face which made me laugh my ass off. Night at the Museum felt like a pattern to me, no funny parts to little giggles and then the movie would make you laugh so hard.

All the famous faces really brought charm to the movie and I don't think it would have work well with anyone else.

Night at the Museum is a fun movie worth seeing but not a movie you will be looking back on in 10 years time.
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As good a family film as you'll find this holiday
terrycarter17 December 2006
Slightly overlong - and lacking the perhaps obligatory love interest - this is as good a film as any parent will be able to excite their kids with this holiday period - well certainly in the UK. The film has huge plot holes and probably hundreds of continuity errors but rampaging dinosaurs, goodish CGI and another athletic comic turn from Ben Stiller, together with the gorgeous Carla Gugino make this near perfect Xmas cinematic fair.

The Museum of Natural History is suffering a downturn in visitor numbers and has to make cutbacks by way of night security men. Step up Larry Daly (Stiller) in an attempt to retain his home and convince ex wife that he is a role model for their impressionable son. The film's premise that the various waxwork and skeleton inhabitants come to life at night due to the presence of a magical Egyptian golden tablet placed 50 years before is, of course, to suspend disbelief beyond anything else you'll be expected to this year - but anyone at a loss for an excuse to get the kids out of the house over the Christmas period could do a lot worse than spend just under a couple of hours at the multiplex to see what is a cross between Jumanji and the Indian in the Cupboard.
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GREAT FUN, family or otherwise. Well worth your time and money.
crazydave23423 December 2006
Excellent fun flick... and best movie Dinosaur in a long time ;-)

I promised my 8th grade nephew I'd take him to a movie this Christmas break - without his younger brothers and sisters. He originally wanted to see that dragon movie, but he found out it sucked, so I suggested this one.

With teens, there's the fine balance between too "kid" oriented and too dark, but he was laughing along the rest of the theater, and lost himself in the fun with the rest of us.

He wants to see it again, *I* want to see it again, and I recommend it for anyone with a sense of fun. It's also the first Ben Stiller movie in a while I can say that about. I hope you all reward the studio for putting out a true "family movie" for the holidays, so we'll see more in the future.

It was good to see Dick Van Dyke, Andy Rooney and Bill Cobbs in light, comic roles, and Robin Williams in a solid supporting role. They all lend the movie more "credibility."

GREAT FUN, easily worth 2 hours and $10.00, more than once over.
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Museums; " Where History comes Alive "
thinker169118 August 2007
All Hollywood movies have one thing in common. They have the special ability to make past eras of history, rich, poignant and interesting. That is the premise of this film, "A Night at The Museum." It is the simple story of a father, Larry Daley (Ben Stiller) who has developed a strained relation with his son. The boy, like most children wishes his bond with his father was more secure. Instead, Larry dreams of becoming an over-night success with his wild 'get rich' schemes. In doing so he puts in jeopardy the custody of his son. To remedy this situation, Larry takes a job as a night-watchman at a museum. Unbeknownst to him, three aging guards, Cecil, Gus and Reginald (Dick Van Dyke, Mickey Rooney and Bill Cobbs) do not inform him of their larcenous intentions, nor of the 'Special' magic which descends upon the place each night. Because of the three aging veterans of Hollywood and a well-placed Robin Williams, this movie is destined for Classic status. Due to the incredible artistry of special Effects, what the viewer sees is nothing short of wondrous. This is a fantastic movie. If pressed to find a flaw in the film, I'd say, I would have chosen someone like, Jim Carey or Michael Richards for the father/son scenes as Mr. Stiller was a bit artificial. Still, the movie is worth seeing as it is. ****
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Magical family film chock full of famous faces
neil-hargreaves17 December 2006
I had the pleasure of some pre-release tickets and took the whole family along to see this movie with no idea of what to expect.

The movie started and got into the storyline of a divorced dad (played by Ben Stiller) who wants his son to be proud of him and his work but has been through a string of jobs without any success. His lad thinks he's wasting his life and begs him to just settle down and get a job.

So he goes and gets a job as night watchman at the museum of natural history and this is when we meet Dick Van Dyke, Mickey Rooney and a token black dude.

He takes the job only to find that the whole museum comes to life at night !! This is when the fun really starts and there's famous faces all over the place, including a great performance from Steve Coogan, Robin Williams, Ricky Gervais and loads more playing such characters as Teddy Roosevelt, Attila The Hun etc It's a film that makes you laugh out loud in the cinema if you're a kid and I have to admit I did the same a few times.

The film goes on for about an hour and three quarters but is jam packed of fun and special effects It's a magical family film - so if you got kids go and see it definitely
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It was definitely a surprisingly great movie
dudeangel5729 December 2006
This movie was definitely a surprise with other actors making their appearance (i.e. Owen Wilson). Ben Stiller was hilarious and the movie overall was great along with the special effects. Definitely a great movie that made my family laugh and totally enjoy every moment of this movie. This was one of those surprise movies that had great special effects and some great surprises and twists and the movie was definitely moving a great speed, not boring at all. Robin Williams was great as President Teddy Roosevelt. For those who think this movie was not that great have no imagination because each one of my sons ranging in age 12 - 21 loved it and that speaks for itself. I would go watch it again.
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Underrated, lovely and funny movie
mau-568522 May 2019
I laughed a lot and loved the ethical aspect in this movie, even after seeing this movie again. Sander has a good heart and this glieamed ot of him.

I think, some people don't know the meaning of respect and love themself truely, neither than are willing to understand others and feel compassion for them.
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Great idea for a comedy, but they forgot the funny parts.
EThompsonUMD16 January 2007
Warning: Spoilers
In Night At the Museum, Ben Stiller plays his usual role as a good-hearted schlemiel thrust into a humiliating situation that he ultimately emerges from with a small measure of heroic dignity. In this instance, his character, Larry Daley, is an out of work weekend Dad who is about to be evicted from his apartment once again and thus lose the last shred of admiration his ten year old son has for him. To keep both the apartment and the son's affections, he accepts a job as night watchman at a New York City Natural History Museum, where an Egyptian tablet has for some decades administered a powerful magic spell that causes history literally to "come alive."

Each evening, the museum's wax and bone denizens, human and animal alike, become animate, leave their various encasements and displays, wander the museum's corridors, and raise havoc with museum property, each other, and, of course, Larry. The human cast of characters prominently includes Teddy Roosevelt (Robin Williams), Sacajawea ( Mizuo Peck), Attila the Hun (Patrick Gallagher), a miniature cowboy (Owen Wilson), and an equally diminutive Octavius Caesar (Steve Coogan) while the animal crew is headed by a capuchin monkey, a tyrannosaurus skeleton, and a pride of lions. As we ultimately learn, Larry (Stiller) has been selected for the job because he seems like a perfect stooge/fall-guy for the nefarious plans of three outgoing night watchmen (Dick Van Dyke, Mickey Rooney, Bill Cobbs) he is ostensibly replacing. Night at the Museum is based on a clever farcical concept that - one might think - would serve as a perfect vehicle for Stiller's comic persona. Unfortunately, something damaging intervened in the concept's translation to an actual film, namely a screenplay that is short on laughs and long on predictability and sap.

Too many scenes in Night at the Museum fall humorlessly flat; for instance, Larry's confrontations with the museum's pompous but inarticulate curator. Others, like the Oprah style pop psychological healing of Attila the Hun's inner child, are almost embarrassingly bad. The scenes with diorama miniature cowboys (headed by Owen Wilson) and miniature Roman army (led by Steve Coogan's Octavius) are mildly amusing thanks to the efforts of the actors and neat special effects, but, again, suffer from an underwritten and unimaginative script. The scenes involving Sacajawea are completely pointless other than the riff on the pronunciation of the last syllables of her name (waya or weeya?) By the third repetition of the joke, it has been thoroughly emptied of the scant humor it contained on the first go round. And what can one say of Robin Williams' turn as Teddy Roosevelt other than that it made one fondly recall the much funnier Teddy that stole scenes in the classic Arsenic and Old Lace? Except for one brief scene where Williams is allowed to release his inventive comic genius into a parody of African "Click" language, he is kept completely in check (and thus wasted) exhorting the Stiller character to rise to the heroic occasion, repeating Shakespearean chestnuts about having "greatness" thrust upon one, and mooning after/stalking Sacajawea with unrequited love.

Yes, Night at the Museum does evoke a few chuckles - most examples of which were included in the film's ubiquitous trailers - but it contains surprisingly little physical humor and utterly lacks wit, unless one finds a scene between Stiller and the capuchin monkey concocted solely to justify the punch line "stop slapping the monkey" the height of cleverness. Most members of the audience I saw the film with didn't think so, or they were too young or too old to get the joke. Which raises another issue with the film - what was the intended age group of its principal audience? Codgers who might delight in the bit parts of Hollywood legends? Boppers who might identify with the museum docent who upon meeting Sacajawea, supposedly the subject of her 900 page doctoral dissertation, is reduced to pre-verbal ("you rock!') groupie talk. Kids needing a history lesson or amused by urine gags? No doubt the intent was "all of the above." Unfortunately, that aim - as with much of today's Hollywood fare - ends up reaching "none of the above" very satisfyingly.

Falling into the "Codgers" demographic myself, the chief pleasures of Night at the Museum for me were the brief opening scene played between Stiller and real-life mother, Anne Meara, and the amazingly energetic performances of octogenarian Dick Van Dyke and near nonagenarian Mickey Rooney, looking (and acting) better than he has in what? fifty years? I should also add some complimentary words for the film's visual delights, highlighted by some stunning displays of forced perspective as well as the imaginative animation of a puppyish tyrannosaurus skeleton that enjoys playing fetch with one of its own colossal bones. All in all, though, Night at the Museum was a major disappointment.
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A Good Combination
crashed-sandy20 December 2006
This movie had it all. Comedy, action and a touch of romance. It was slightly clichéd, but there were a few unexpected twists which didn't suck it down the cliché drain.

I was a bit scared, thinking this movie probably wouldn't satisfy me, and my friends and I just decided to watch it simply because there were actors we liked. However, it was all good. I think I have some serious reordering to do in my top 10 movies list.

They also made things look extremely real. For example, the T-Rex. It looked very real.

Overall, this was a good movie for all ages and it suits most genre preferences.
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Good Family Fun, but no Jumanji
awaisyboy17 December 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Just couple of hours ago, I caught a screening of the film. To summarise it was a good family film - a light entertainer without it being too deep. It seemed a mixture of few films moulded into a new scenario.It for me had hints of Jumanji(animals, soldiers etc)without any dark shades or complex storyline and hints of Liar Liar - in terms of father trying to meet the expectation of his son by being around.

Basic premise is that Stiller takes up a job offer as a night watchman at a museum. So he can be close to his son Nicky. A museum's exhibition comes to life at night due to an Egyptian tablet and they must live together in peace which is negotiated by the night watchman.

Three night watchmen, one which was a pleasant Dick Van Dyke and another Mickey Rooney - who for me was slightly irritating - although younger kids might think he is funny! They announce their retirement and leave Stiller with instructions on how to look after the museum and its contents.

Owen Wilson has quite big part in the film and his main interaction is with Steve Coogan. Although wouldn't say Owen was anything special. Stiller's main chemistry is with the monkey called Dexter - which for me was the highlight.

Robin Williams plays a part of Theodore Roosevelt and provides Stiller with sound advice about his life as well being gallant although has a weakness for Sacajawea - a native north American trekker.

Ricky Gervais plays the museum director with ease and his character main contribution is he says something without completing what he means..assumes you(the other character)know what he means.

There weren't any laugh out loud funny scenes or was there the usual toilet humour you see in Ben Stiller it being a family film. Recommend it once at the cinema..but maybe not visiting twice. Good holiday fun though.
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Great movie!
kmartin-313 January 2007
I was just reading the other comments about Night at the Museum and found some of them almost as funny as the movie! I'd checked the cast list and synopsis before seeing the film, but I never read the comments until after I've seen the movie. The cast list doesn't include Owen Wilson, but he's in the movie and my family particularly enjoyed the scenes with Owen and Steve Coogan. And talk about geniuses of comedy! Dick van Dyke, Mickey Rooney, Robin Williams and Ben Still together in one film? Fantastic! Some people enjoy trying to find bloopers (and seem to make them up if they don't see one), but I my family was too busy being amazed and delighted. This one was laugh-out-loud funny ... every one in my audience clapped at the end. "Plot holes" seem silly when we're talking about an entire museum coming to life at night. See it, forget reality and the world for an hour or two, and enjoy!
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I loved this movie...
jangoodman29 December 2006
The plot outline listed for this movie... "A bumbling security guard at the Museum of Natural History accidentally lets loose an ancient curse that causes the animals and insects on display to come to life and wreak havoc" not accurate. The security guard did not cause the exhibits to come to life... it was happening before he took the job, nor was it an accident. Insects? ...maybe I missed that part as I didn't see so much as a fly.

My husband and I are older patrons of the movie theatres and we thoroughly enjoyed this movie from beginning to end. It's fun to leave reality at the door of the theatre and just immerse in the fantasy.

I read someone else's comment about now wanting to visit a museum and I feel the same way. Even though this movie was fantasy, I still learned a few little snippets of history that I didn't previously know.

Dick van Dyke and Mickey Rooney were perfect in their roles.
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Not masterpiece but very entertaining piece of film history
nko_1239 March 2007
Night at the Museum. The name tell's it all. I gotta to tell you; the idea of the movie is simply great. Maybe it's not very original idea, but who cares.

With 110 million dollar budget Shawn Levy has directed 110 minutes piece of film history. It's not the Casablanca or The Godfather. It's more piece of SFX history and one of the most entertaining Hollywood comedies of the year 2006. Also cinematography is amazing in some parts of the film and Alan Silvestri's music is great but in some scenes too big for the story.

Ben Stiller act like he have always done. Robin Williams on the supporting role is quite good. Actually, I don't anymore think why he won Oscar few years ago. Old actors Dick Van Dyke, Bill Cobbs and Mickey Rooney are making probably their last really big movie.

If you wan't spend quiet night watching a good popcorn movie, this is it. I saw it on the big screen and I don't think it's even nearly as good on the DVD and small TV.

7 of 10 with 7 reasons: - good idea - very entertaining - beautiful cinematography - good actors - beautiful beginning - good special effects - good music

3 reasons why not 10 of 10: - only the last part of the film was good on every scale - not so great direction in some scenes - too dramatic, powerful music for some scenes
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Absolute farce with Ben Stiller stealing the show
raymond-157 March 2007
Warning: Spoilers
When Larry Daley ( Ben Stiller ) takes on a job as a night guard at the Museum of Natural History, he begins to understand why there were few applicants for the position.

After sundown every stuffed animal, every skeleton, every prehistoric animal, every diorama wakens into life and all hell lets loose.

Ben Stiller does a sterling performance as the distraught guard. His character performance holds the highly-paced scenes together. He is on the screen the whole time. We get to know him well. We cannot help but feel sorry for the poor fellow who is ready to chuck in the job after the first night.

Where there's a will, there's a way. Larry fights back on his second night mainly in respect for his family especially his son who seems to be the driving force, a little upstart of a kid.

A golden plaque from an Egyptian tomb seems to hold the key to controlling the antagonism between the various exhibits. When this gets stolen by the three day guards (a nasty lot) the museum becomes a battlefield.

Computerized movement seems to be the order of the day with more films resorting to this form of action. Too much of it tends to become boring. If you want something light-hearted, farcical and with no brain power required, this film is for you.

Someone says that the Museum of Natural History is where history comes to life. Believe me, this is an under statement.
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Much Better Than Expected
LowWacker13 January 2007
I am not an admirer of Ben Stiller's comic talents, nor of the movie work of Robin Williams. I volunteered to take my 7-year-old grandson out for an afternoon, and this was on the agenda. My worst fears initially appeared justified, as we were served a large helping of the Stiller charm-challenged schlub. When the museum chaos started early I steeled myself for another hour of nonstop slapstick mayhem and mugging.


The movie had a plot, and it was not a bad one. And Stiller was very funny in several scenes. The treat, though, was Robin Williams, who gives a restrained but authoritative and even somewhat touching portrayal of Theodore Roosevelt. An uncredited Owen Wilson's Jedediah's interactions with Steve Coogan's Octavias were a sly pleasure.

Hey, I laughed, my grandson laughed. No swearing or nudity, lots of movie references for the cinephiles. Ben, all is not forgiven, but you kinda won me over in this one.
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Great family movie
agray-126 January 2007
There is a lot to laugh at but surprisingly no crude humor (well, except for the one scene with the monkey) like you see and hear in most movies. Just genuine fun for everyone. A not very subtle message that turns out to be alright as they don't beat you to death with it. I can't say anything about how long it is because I honestly didn't notice. The pace was good and the story flowed smoothly. The characters are really good and really work good together. Robin Williams is of course great as always. Not as off the wall as he can be but just right. Even Ben Stiller is more subdued than in some of his movies. He's just enough without being overpowering.

And it makes you want to go to the museum, late, and stay.

I won't spoil this movie for anyone because I simply liked it too much to do that. But I can hardly wait for it to come out on video! In fact I may not, I may have to go back and see it again while it's still playing in the theater.
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Simply Hilarious!
mikoh939 February 2007
Well, this is probably one of the best movies I've watched lately. It has some genius humor, fantastic action and creative fantasy. Something I really like in this film, is that it's done just suitable for all ages, concerns, values and beliefs. I mean, it doesn't have any advanced romance, neither does it have any obvious sexual gestures or so. It's certainly a family movie, it can get you out of the dullest mood you can be in, to a merry active mood. However, personally, I've noticed some mere flaws in the plot. Some things left unanswered, although that was very little. I also think that Ben Stiller made a wonderful job in this movie and just gave as the right funny impression. And Shawn Levy directed a movie to be remembered by generations. And all the acting crew were precisely suitable for the roles. So, if you're bored, want to watch something new, something humorous, I definitely recommend Night at the Museum. A movie you won't forget easily!
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Amusing film with adventures,action,entertainment and full of imagination and fantasy
ma-cortes20 April 2007
The film concerns about a divorced father(Ben Stiller)of his spouse(Kim Raver) and with a son,he's unemployed when gets a job at Museum of Natural History of New York City.He's assigned by veterans security agents(Dick Van Dyke,Mickey Rooney,Bill Cobbs) to night vigilance.There knows a beautiful tour guide(Carla Gugino).But the allegedly easy employment results to be a roller-coaster when encounters what an Egyptian curse causes the ancient animals,beasts,historic personages and miniature are brought to life originating wreak havoc and complications for the unlucky night watchman.Thus several animals and historic characters come to life , like a Tyrannosaurus Rex,lions,monkeys,besides a Neardenthal cavemen,Vikings,Attile(Patrick Gallaher) and the Huns,Chinese Terra-cotta soldier,Christopher Columbus,Lewis and Clark with Sacajawea(Mizuo Peck)Teodoro Roosevelt(Robin Williams)and Octavius(Steve Coogan) and a cowboy(Owen Wilson).

This blockbuster displays action,adventures,fantasy and an enjoyable father-son relationship.This fantastic film begins like a familiar drama and continues with an authentic sense of magic and wonder ,wind up an overlong bombastic wild ride made by excellent special effects and with an exciting final pursuit.Spectacular images and computer generator set pieces action with several personages and animals can not erase the charm of characters and ideas especially in the hands of peerless casting.Colorful and lush cinematography by Guillermo Navarro(Guillermo del Toro's usual cameraman)and lively musical score by Alan Silvestri(Robert Zemeckis's usual musician).The motion picture is beautifully executed with phenomenal production values and well directed by Shawn Levy,he's a familiar cinema expert:Cheaper by the dozen,Pink Panther,Just married.The film contains numerous scenes have you on the edge of your seat with a stunning array of technical images what will be enjoyed for all family.
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Very enjoyable
kipo058 April 2007
Warning: Spoilers
This is definitely one of those movies which you have low to moderate hopes for. You watch it for that slim chance that it might just be a hidden jem. I thought that this movie would be exceptionally poor in fact, I am very glad to say that I was very wrong. Night at the museum is suitable for all ages I am 15 myself and watched it with my father and younger brother and all of us agreed that it was well worth watching again. It's humour is funny and as clever as you can expect from a Ben Stiller movie. The story is compelling, the characters have some level of depth and Robin Williams steals the show. I think Night at the museum is quite under rated and is actually a very good movie. So to sum up it is a fun and involving movie to watch and is certainly something very unique. If you like Owen Wilson, Ben Stiller or Robin Williams movies, I would highly recommend this.
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Too much Stiller, not enough anybody else
bburns10 February 2007
I went to see "Night at the Museum" not hoping for a masterpiece, but expecting to be entertained. Alas, I had my hopes set too high.

One would think that in a film with Steve Coogan, Ricky Gervais, Mickey Rooney, Dick Van Dyke, Robin Williams and Owen Wilson would be filled to the brim with great comedic performances. But there is only one actor with any significant screen time who is allowed to let loose with his performance, and that is Ben Stiller: an unfunny guy whose reputation is built on the backs of funny co-stars such as Cameron Diaz, Andy Dick, Janeane Garafalo, and his father Jerry Stiller.

The premise of the film--taken from a children's book by Milan Trenc--is that Ben Stiller is a divorced dad who takes a job as the new night watchman at the New York Museum of Natural History in order to prove to his son that he isn't an unemployable loser. Due to an ancient Egyptian talisman on display at the museum, all the exhibits come to life after closing time, and he must make sure they don't make a mess or leave the museum before dawn. Unfortunately for him, he's not very good at either of these duties. Unfortunately for me as a viewer, I was subjected to nearly two hours of his awful mugging and wooden one-liners.

In the 1990's, Robin Williams specialized in these types of films (e.g. "Mrs. Doubtfire", "Jumanji") and managed to elicit guffaws from the dry, preachy material. But now that he's too old to play the father of a kid who's not even in middle school yet, he is relegated to being Stiller's fatherly adviser as Teddy Roosevelt, which he plays without his trademark comic genius.

Instead we have Ben Stiller in the lead. And although he is not listed as producer, director or screenwriter, one gets the sense that Stiller was the guy in charge during the making of the movie. He is in almost every scene, and most of the shots in this film are close-ups of his face. And the casting of Anne Meara--Stiller's mother--as an employment counselor would probably not have taken place if Stiller were merely the lead actor on this project.

I realize the preceding paragraphs make the movie sound worse than it really is. There are good things about it. I will give the film-makers credit that this film--although appropriate for kids--is not strictly a children's movie. The camera-work is uniformly great. The CGI special effects--while not LOTR-quality--are better than those of many other effects-based films (i.e. "The Chronicles of Narnia", the second "Star Wars" trilogy). And I did chuckle at Owen Wilson as Jed the miniature cowboy. Unfortunately, the visual goodies take a back seat to Stiller's performance and a plot with more holes than Swiss cheese. And Wilson's role was much too small (no pun intended).

In recent years, we have seen lots of films such as "Toy Story", "The Rookie", and "Elf" that prove that you can make a film for kids without dumbing things down. "Night at the Museum" is not one of those films. Instead it is a dull, silly ego trip for an untalented actor who can only dream about being as funny as the people he works with. 6 out of 10.
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