Night At The Museum: Battle At The Smithsonian

Night At The Museum: Battle At The Smithsonian (2009)
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Cast: Ben Stiller, Robin Williams, Hank Azaria, Owen Wilson, Amy Adams, Christopher Guest
Extras: Commentary Track, Featurettes, Deleted Scenes, Gag Reel, Games, Photo Gallery

When the first "Night At The Museum" arrived in theaters it was a welcome family movie that featured not only a nice story but also funny and charming characters that were able to entertain all age groups. With the sequel "Night At The Museum: Battle At The Smithsonian" the filmmakers successfully repeated the formula but without all the exposition that was necessary in the first installment, the story was able to directly dive into the action. Now the film made its appearance on Blu-Ray Disc and I was eager for another visit with Larry, the museum night guard.

Larry Daley (Ben Stiller) has given up his job as the museum night guard and has made great strides in running his own little empire of home-shopping-network-style gadgets, including glow-in-the-dark flashlights. He hasn't forgotten all about his friends at the museum however, though he didn't have a lot of time seeing them lately. When he returns one day, he is shocked to hear that all of the exhibits are being packed up and retired into permanent storage at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington to make room for more hitech, contemporary exhibits. For one last night, Larry and his animated friends enjoy each other company before they have to part ways forever, but on the night of the transfer, Larry receives a frantic call from his little cowboy buddy Jedediah (Owen Wilson), telling him that the evil pharaoh Kahmunra (Hank Azaria) is trying to get his hands on the fabled tablet that gives them all life, in order to open gates to the Underworld and unleash its fell creatures onto the world.

Dropping everything, Larry races to the Smithsonian, and soon finds himself in the middle of the most extraordinary and largest collection of animated museum exhibits. From Albert Einstein and Amelia Earhart, from Al Capone to Ivan The Terrible, everyone in the museum is caught in the maelstrom of evil that Kahmunra has set into motion.

If you loved the first "Night At The Museum," you will dig this sequel. Filled with more characters, more funny moments and a whole lot of more action, this film is 2 hours of non-stop entertainment. Hank Azaria is clearly stealing the spotlight from everyone else with his absolutely hilarious portrayal of Kahmunra whose verbal flubs make him all the more dangerous. Just witnessing his exchanges with Al Capone, Ivan the Terrible and Larry is enough to have you roll on the floor. By the time he takes on Darth Vader and the Grouch, you will be laughing tears, I promise.
While some of the characters from the first part are taking a backseat in this film to make room for the new ones for the sake of bringing freshness to the story, they still play a vital role in the plot and also provide some great comic relief. Amelia Earhart, wonderfully played by Amy Adams, is probably the most normal of all characters, throwing everything in the ring with Larry to win this battle at the Smithsonian.

The Blu-Ray version features a stunningly beautiful 1080p transfer that brings out every little bit of detail with such incredible definition that you will be glad you bought a high definition TV. But not only the detail and sharpness of the transfer are remarkable, so is the color reproduction. Awash in the entire spectrum of hues, the film looks brilliant and rich throughout, with deep solid blacks to boot and strikingly vibrant colors on top. No one could ask for a better transfer, really.

The audio on the release comes as a DTS 5.1 HD Master Audio track that also delivers everything you could have hoped for. With an incredibly wide frequency response and dynamic range, you will be surprised at how active and aggressive this track makes use of the surround channels. While at first we get treated to some truly atmospheric ambient effects in the vast corridors of the museum, soon the track jumps to full-throttle as the action ensues, and won't let up until the very end.

The Blu-Ray version of "Night At The Museum : Battle At The Smithsonian" contains 3 discs. The first one features the movie itself with a series of bonus materials, such as a gag reel, deleted scenes, a series of featurettes and some games. You will also find a commentary track here, as well as a photo gallery.

On the second disc you will find a regular DVD version the movie for, say, the car or the play room, while the third disc features a digital copy of the movie for portable devices.

As you can certainly tell, I love "Night At The Museum : Battle At The Smithsonian." I found it is not only a worthy successor to the original movie, but a fun-filled movie for the entire family that will have everyone laughing. The spectacular presentation on this Blu-Ray disc makes it an easy decision to add this release to your collection.