I saw history come to life this weekend and I obviously wasn't alone. The new movie, Night at the Museum Battle of the Smithsonian, made more than $70 million when it opened nationwide over the Memorial Day weekend.
In this sequel to Night at the Museum, great art and historic figures leap into action, reliving their most famous achievements: Amelia Earhart tells her life story and a man walks on the moon just to name a few. As a PG action adventure for kids, the movie was educational, but most of all it was fun! And funny!
The Night at the Museum movies are based on a childrens book by Milan Trenc. In the book, a museum guard named Larry dozes off on the job. He wakes up to discover that all the dinosaur bones have disappeared. He frantically searches the museum and Central Park looking for the missing bones, which have come alive.
The movies have taken that idea and really run with it. I’ve seen both movies now and can tell you that the sequel is very different from the first movie—maybe better and even funnier.
All the previous characters from the American Museum of Natural History in New York come along for new adventures with exhibits from the Smithsonian museums in Washington, D.C. Some of the new characters include a giant squid, Darth Vader, Oscar the Grouch from Sesame Street, and Abraham Lincoln. The Jonas Brothers get in on the act, too, lending their voices to the singing cherubs on a water fountain.
I visited the set of the movie last summer in Vancouver, Canada. (Check out the video interview with Director Shawn Levy!) Art director Claude Pare gave me a tour of the set and explained how he and his art team made replicas of the famous paintings and works of art.
The replicas look exactly like the originals and Pare had to get permission from the artists and their estates to use and animate each piece. Yes, even paintings come to life!
In one scene, Larry Daley (Ben Stiller) and Amelia Earhart (Amy Adams) escape into a famous photograph of a sailor kissing a nurse during a celebration of the end of World War II.
In a replica of the aerospace museum, Pare built a NASA control room with real technicians counting down the blast off of the first mission to put a man on the moon. They recreated the rocket launch complete with fire shooting out of the rocket engines.
“All of these artifacts are rigged [to work],” Pare said. “It takes everything that Larry has in terms of energy to actually stop the launching situation.”
Here’s something to think about. If you could choose anyone in history, what figure would you most like to see come to life? What would you ask that person? You can send you answer by clicking on the blue COMMENT below!
Photo: 20th Century FOX