There's one rule for movie sequels, as far as I'm concerned: Bring something to the table. If a sequel is better than the original... great. It doesn't have to be, it just needs to be either a continuation of the original story or, at the very least, an entirely new adventure that's grander than the original. Here's the problem with NatM2... when I say "grander" I'm not referring to the amount of land on which the new adventure takes place. Battle of the Smithsonian is just the original Night at the Museum movie with more acreage.
So what are the rules? In the original, the tablet was established as the magical force that brought the exhibits in the Museum of Natural History to life. Since the tablet originated from ancient Egypt, one would assume that it wasn't specifically designed to bring museum exhibits to life, yet it didn't seem to affect any of the statues in Manhattan immediately outside the doors of the museum. In the sequel, it brought the entire Smithsonian to life. What's the range of this thing, why weren't there maniquins breaking out of NYC department stores in the original? It seemed like maybe there was a very small range because several of the exhibits didn't come to life untill Ben Stiller and Amy Adams approached them (Abraham Lincoln) but then why was he able to meet up with them at the end of the movie? (Don't worry, I'm not giving anything away.) I just don't know what the rules are. Seemingly, neither do the filmmakers.
What is the functionality of the objects? Are the gangsters guns loaded? Is there fuel in the shuttle engine? Does the first airplane ever made have the maneuverability of an F-16?
Amy Adams is becoming one of my favorite actresses. She really can light up any movie she's in and she had her work cut out for her in this one... Hank Azaria was funny, but only in a couple of scenes. Ricky Gervais' character was inconsistant with himself, I couldn't tell if he was for or against the technological progress in the museum, and don't even get me started on Ben Stiller...
I didn't like the first installment and this attempt didn't give me much hope for the franchise. Obviously it will continue to rake in the cash and so there will absolutely be another Night at the Museum. As long as I don't have to pay for it, I'll probably see it. I wouldn't advise you to though.
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