It’s Memorial Day weekend and my sons and I have been anticipating the releases of summer blockbuster movies:  in this economy, going to the movies is in lieu of taking a family vacation.
The only family movie released in the Rogue Valley this weekend was the sequel to a movie the three of us enjoyed, Night at the Museum. We believed the sequel would be as enjoyable as the original but after viewing the movie, I am now questioning my belief system.
This movie boasted a great cast of comedians: Christopher Guest of Spinal Tap and Saturday Night Live fame, Hank Azaria who does many voices on The Simpsons, Robin Williams who is more than famous, Owen Wilson and, of course, Ben Stiller. I expected wonderful characterizations from these well known actors but the writing did not allow these actors to portray these historical characters accurately. The writing was just down right sloppy. It seemed none of the actors had parts even written in the manner in which their historic character would speak, except one–Amelia Erhart, portrayed brilliantly by Amy Adams. In fact, the character of Amelia Erhart is the only glue in the movie that adheres the plot and characters together; without her, there would be no advancement of the story. Its a sad day in Hollywood when one character in a movie full of historic characters interacting with each other, is carrying the story on her shoulders. I know Hollywood is more capable than this effort.
I did enjoy the surprise of the Jonas brothers portraying three singing cherubs who come to life from a stone fountain. And I did enjoy the original music composed by Alan Silverstri, a veteran at writing musical scores for movies.
Alas, I laughed very little during this movie, which is billed as a comedy, and my sons did not laugh at all. Although, my sons agreed that they enjoyed the movie and thought it entertaining. They told me that they liked Hank Azaria’s character, an evil Egyptian Prince who was heir to the throne of Egypt 3,000 years ago; but who’s parents named his younger brother (the good brother) to the throne instead. The brother appears in the first movie. I did not enjoy this character because instead of actually sounding like he was an Egyptian Prince of 3,000 years ago, he sound like a wannabe-teenage-hip-hop-gangsta who has his own pimped-out localsguide page. I felt insulted, as if the writers chose to dumb-down the historical characters so they would be more appealing to young movie goers.  The writers of this movie had a wonderful opportunity to show historical figures from all over the world, from different eras, commingling their different cultures; and yet chose to make them homogeneous so that movie goers wouldn’t have to know much history to understand the characters’ intentions.
I would recommend this movie to children between the ages of 7 and 12, whose mother needs somewhere to drop them off for 2 hours so that she can go get her spa pedicure at the Blue Giraffe– which is what I should have done instead of sitting through this pathetic excuse for a sequel to a very good original movie.

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