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NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM

Review by Chastity Campbell

Starring: Ben Stiller, Dick Van Dyke, Carla Gugino, Mickey Rooney, Robin Williams, Owen Wilson, Ricky Gerais, Steve Coogan
Director: Shawn Levy
Video: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Audio: 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround Sound
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Features: See Review
Length: 105 Minutes
Release Date: April 24, 2007

Larry: (Speaking to Civil War diorama figures) The North wins.  Slavery is bad.  But the South has the Allman brothers...and...NASCAR!

Film ***

An ancient curse that brings exhibits in a museum to life each night?  Come on, Hollywood is joking, right?!  This has got to be one of the silliest concepts for a movie on the market today right?...Wrong.

After watching this film I have to say that my love of the comedy genre is back and my funny bone has gotten the work out of a lifetime.

Larry Daley is a dreamer with a huge heart.  Larry longs for the day that he can find a way to make his son proud of him.

After taking a job as a night watchman at the Museum of Natural History, Larry gets up close and personal with a T-Rex skeleton, is almost sacked by a contingent of Roman soldiers, and has a monkey on his back that is just about to drive him insane.

With a little help from a cursed replica of President Teddy Roosevelt, Larry sets out to find a way to break the curse, and get his life back to normal, or at least as normal as it was before...which isn't saying much! 

I loved this film from beginning to end, and have already recommended it to everyone I know.  This 2-disc Special Edition of the film has it all, a cute story, lots of laughs, and tons of extra features. 

As for acting, well I really wish I could make my mind up about Ben Stiller. I almost feel like every time he steps in front of the camera he tries too hard to be funny.  He did a good job in this film, but honestly I think his co-stars (some of whom are CGI) really stole the show.

Robin Williams is his usual phenomenal self.  He works the laugh meter hard as Teddy Roosevelt come to life.  Stiller and Williams worked very well together, and when you watch the extra features you'll get to see just how much fun they all had behind the scenes.

Stiller is also joined on the big screen by TV legend Dick Van Dyke, Mickey Rooney, Carla Gugino, and  host of CGI creations that help to layer on the laughs.

I really think that everyone could find something about this film to love.  It's funny, and intense, with family drama and emotions thrown in to help bring it back down to earth.

Instead of a night out on the town, why don't you try a Night At The Museum!  You'll get more entertainment value for your buck and laughs that will leave you in stitches. 

Video ***

The 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen presentation of this film was wonderful.  Colors were vivid and sharp, and despite the fact that there were a lot of nightshots and dark sequences they balanced everything very nicely and it comes through beautifully.

Having the extra features on a separate disc from the film is always a bonus as it allows compression ratio's to remain low and you encounter very little if any artifacting because of it.

The only issue I had with this film's video quality was a little bit of grittiness that is visible from what I assume was the original print transfer.

Audio ****

This DVD is presented in a 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround Sound format and it is a true example of how great audio is done, and done right.

The sound quality is wonderful, and resonated through my speakers cleaner and crisper than anything I have heard in a quite a while. The levels remained constant throughout, and the mix between sound channels for the background music, special effects, and dialogue was blended with an ear for detail.

Even if you only have simulated surround sound this DVD delivers on an audible level!

Features ****

 

Holy Canoli Batman, this Special Edition 2 disc set is loaded with extras!

Disc 1

The first DVD contains only the commentary by Director Shawn Levy and commentary by Writers Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon.

Disc 2

The special features disc is jam packed with extras that will rock your world and your perceptions

Featurettes: Bringing The Museum To Life, Directing 101, Monkey Business, Building The Museum, Historical Threads: The Costumes of Night At The Museum, Making Night At The Museum

Also, for your viewing pleasure there are deleted and extended scenes with optional commentary by Director Shawn Levy.

A Blooper Reel will tickle your funny bone even further, while Comedy Central’s Reel Comedy: Night At The Museum, will bring you to your knees with laughter.

The Director’s Vision Comes Alive – Storyboard-to-Screen Comparison is something I truly enjoyed, as it gave me a chance to see how this film was pieced together shot by shot.

Fox Movie Channel Presents: Making A Scene is a nice extra that will give you the chance to  really get into the why and how of filming. 

Fox Movie Channel presents: Life After Film School.

A virtual romp with a digital dinosaur in 'Reunite with Rexy the DVD-Rom Game’ is also included.

Summary:

This movie is like night and day compared to some other films that call themselves comedies.  Wonderful video, great audio, and comedic timing that will leave you in stitches.  The only thing better than all of that would be a ton of special features...oh wait, it's got that too! What are you waiting for, grab this DVD now!

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