Friday, June 12, 2009

Historical Movie Review: Night at the Museum II

I've been MIA for a bit, simultaneously attempting to finish the thesis and recover from mono. I think the thesis is winning. I'm not sure if that's good or bad.

In any case, a few weeks back Kristina and Kate were going to the movies and I tagged along. We went to see Night at the Museum II, a welcome respite from our usual Nights at the Library: Eternity. We left the theater both amused and slightly disturbed. Below, excerpts from our email chain, preceded by my summary.

The main gist: Ben Stiller is called back to the museum mothership from his lame but lucrative job when his sometimes-fake, sometimes-real buddies are shipped off the Smithsonian. Having stolen the magical tablet from the American Museum of Natural History and consequently losing it to an Egyptian pharaoh who lisps a British accent, aforementioned buddies rely on Stiller and a resurrected, very flighty Amelia Earhardt (no pun intended) to save the day. Oh, and Teddy Roosevelt is still seeing Sacajawea.

Kristina opened with a generally positive description: "delightfully achronological mix of characters that also spans continents and disciplines, probably the only film that can {almost) meaningfully combine Egyptian pharoahs, slapping monkeys, a bouncing balloon dog, and Albert Einstein -- in bobble-head form, no less"

Kate was pretty PO'ed and not about to let the film off the hook for its assault on archives:
Speaking of the vault and the 'wholly-accurate preservation methods,'... good grief. Um, clothing, like say, space suits and uniforms, go in drawers. So do skeletons, come to think of it. Was that supposed to be a real specimen of a giant octapus or a rubbery and conveniently-life-like model? And please, that place cannot be effectively climate-controlled. Or cataloged. Which, take it from me, is a curator's worse nightmare. But, I think we now have another possible location for the Ark of the Covenant. Maybe we should tell Harrison Ford."

I wonder if historical and "historical" films will be ruined for me. Frankly, reading Last of the Mohicans makes me slightly ill, but watching The Patriot still makes me laugh instead of inspiring a tirade about familial loyalty and the chance of people falling into wells. What do people think? Can medical students watch Scrubs? Do law students even bother with the many Law and Orders? Can anthropology and sociology students watch anything?


  1. Medical students, from what my medical student friends tell me, love Scrubs. That's fine: I've yet to see any evidence of medicine, pseudo or otherwise, on that show. What's terrifying is that they love Grey's Anatomy in even larger numbers.

    This is someone's sociology thesis waiting to happen, by the way.


  2. If you take a historical film as an accurate representation of history you will be disappointed; however, it you think of it as a way to stir up interest in history from people who typically despise it (you can correct them on the details later) it becomes a bit more acceptable.

    If Last of the Mohicans makes you ill then you definitely shouldn't watch The New World. Although Jamestown is a subject near and dear to my heart, my survival time was considerably less than that of the actual colonists (roughly 30 minutes).


  3. SMc, I made a good-faith attempt to watch The New World. Opening shots were beautiful, but I had to stop watching about 10 minutes in when the Powhatans started barking. Not okay.