I quote films daily, a trait I learned form my parents and something I do so often that it has become a basic part of my vocabulary (“Lights, lights would be good here” from Pretty Woman, ‘Charlie Babbage made a joke” from Rain Man, “There will be hearts breaking all over the world tonight” form Top Gun, among others), but until Night at the Museum 2 I never picked up the accent or speech patterns of a character.
The film follows Larry Daley, ex night guard of the Natural History Museum in New York as he travels to the Smithsonian Museum to rescue his friends. However, his friends are museum exhibits who come to life every night due to the powers of a magic ancient Egyptian tablet which has also brought to life the all the exhibits in the rest of the museum (Oh dear!). His friends are being held hostage by Kahmunrah who wants to use the tablet to take over the world. Shenanigans including Amelia Earhart, Abe Lincoln and Napoleon Bonaparte ensue leading to a brilliant, if ridiculous, romp around the Smithsonian and a lot of made up words from Earhart.
It is not Amelia Earhart, though, who has become a part of my life but Kahmunrah, played by Hank Azaria (who was also Phoebe’s boyfriend David in friends, crazily.) His lisping, childish, wannabe Pharaoh has pervaded my every day life and now I can’t say “I don’t think so” without putting emphasis on the I. Just watch the clip and tell me Kahmunrah is not the best damn thing you have ever seen.
I’m sorry I’m not more sorry about this. I really am. But I do a mean Kahmunrah impression, lisp and all.
It is a rare occurrence that a sequel is better than the original film, but this is one of those special few. While the original had to establish the characters and the magic tablet’s rules, this film could just run with it. The whole of history becomes a playground as Larry and Amelia race through the museum, jumping in and out of paintings and flying the Wright Flyer (yes, it does still work, no I have no idea how anyone will explain how it got to where it ends the film.) The writers clearly had fun here, playing with the traits of well known figures. Napoleon has height issues (who knew?), Ivan the Terrible is apparently Ivan the Awesome (it got translated wrong) and The Thinker is not so deep a thinker at all (but look at his muscles!)
It is a film that knows its place. Not attempting to be intricate or crafty, there is pretty much a maximum of two plots going on at the same time, but in doing that it hits exactly the right mark. Never too long between laughs, it even has the Jonas Brothers in it (I know, their time came and went pretty quickly…) It is a film that I just keep on coming back to and it never disappoints.
If nothing else, it taught me Pi to eight decimal places.
All images link to sources.