Night at the Museum (Blu-ray Review)

Night at the Museum (Blu-ray Review)After  seeing  the  trailer  for  Night  at  the  Museum in  theaters  a  few  years  ago,  I  said  to  myself,  “wow,  this  looks  completely,  and  utterly  unwatchable.”  I  was  prepared  to  go  my  whole  life  without  giving  this  film  a  chance.  Then  of  course,  I  became  a  film  reviewer,  and  I  had  to  play  the  part  of  the  objective  (non-judgmental)  reviewer.  The  opportunity  presented  itself,  and  I  would  have  to  put  aside  my  preconceived  notions  about  films  that  look  like  garbage.  I’m  glad  I  didn’t  place  any  bets  on  how  bad  this  film  was  going  to  be.  I’d  be  eating  crow  right  about  now.  


Larry  Daly  (Ben  Stiller)  is  pretty  much  a  loser  who  dreams  big,  but  can’t  seem  to  hold  on  to  a  job  very  long.  Not  having  a  stable  gig,  his  ex-wife,  Erica  (Kim Raver)  tells  him  to  shape  up  or  face  losing  his  son’s  affection  forever.  Larry’s  son  Nick,  loves  his  dad  no  matter  what,  but  kind  of  looks  up  to  his  mother’s  bond  trader  boyfriend,  Don  (Paul  Rudd).  Don  is  pretty  hilarious  in  the  whole  5  minutes  he’s  in  the  film.  Larry  is  threatened  by  his  success  and  comes  to  terms  that  he  has  to  get  a  new  gig  fast!

After  receiving  pity  by  the  lady  at  the  temp  agency,  Larry  scores  a  job  at  the  Museum  of  Natural  History  as  the  night  security  guard.   As  he’s  showed  the  ropes  by  the  Dr.  McPhee  (Ricky  Gervais),  he  gets  introduced  to  the  rest  of  the  security  crew.  Cecil  (Dick  Van  Dyke),  Gus  (Andy  Rooney)  and  Reginald  (Bill Cobb).  Oh,  boy,  let  the  old  people  hijinx  begin!  Andy  Rooney  is  pretty  hilarious,  and  is  feisty,  crabby  as  all  hell.  He  looks  like  he’s  going  to  bust  an  artery  at  any  moment.  Reginald  is  the  voice  of  maturity  and  reason.  Cecil  is  the  “leader”  of  the  bunch.  He  takes  Larry  on  the  grand  tour  of  the  museum.   He  gives  Larry  an  old  manual  that  will  show  him  how  to  “survive”  in  the  museum  after  hours.

As  Larry  is  left  to  his  own  devices,  he  starts  messing  around  with  the  PA  system,  air  DJ’ing,  scratching,  singing  “Eye of the Tiger,”  etc…  That  scene  made  laugh  out  loud,  because  it  brought  back  memories  of  what  my  co-workers  and  me  do  sometimes  when  no  one  is around.  You’re  damn  right  we  have  ourselves  an  air  DJ battle!  After  he  stops  playing  around,  it’s  off  to  do  the  rounds,  and  a  giant  T-Rex  fossil  gets  involved,  and  tries  to  eat  him.  This  is  no  ordinary  T-Rex;  this  is  a  T-Rex  who  thinks  it’s  a  dog.  Yeah,  it’s  whimsical  like  that.  Whimsical,  but  it  works.  Besides  the  T-Rex,  let  us  count  the  ways  that  the  Museum  of  Natural  History  comes  to  life,  shall  we?  We  have  a  talking  Eastern  Island  head  that  loves  gum,  prehistoric  cavemen,  Attila  the  Hun(s),  and  among  others,  Theodore  Roosevelt  (Robin  Williams).  Jedidiah  the  cowboy  (Owen  Wilson)  and  Octavious  (Steve  Coogan)  play  miniature  rivals  who  try  to  kill  Larry  early  on  before  they  discover  the  error  of  their  ways.  Sacajawea  (Mizuo  Peck)  is  the  lovely  Native  American  guide  and  interpreter  with  whom  the  wax  replica  of  Roosevelt  loves  but  can’t  come  out  and  say  it.  Roosevelt  helps  Larry  wrangle  up  everyone  before  sunrise,  for  if  the  sun  hits  any  of  the  artifacts,  they  will  turn  to  dust.

The  next  day,  Larry  almost  quits,  but  decides  not  to  for  the  sake  of  his  son.  He  notices  the  beautiful  docent  Rebecca  (Carla  Gugino)  who  just  happens  to  be  working  on  a  dissertation  of  Sacajawea.  After  Larry  gets  some  tips  from  Cecil  (study  your  history)  he’s  ready  to  tackle  night  two  at  the  museum.  Theodore  Roosevelt  explains  that  the  cause  of  all  of  the  artifacts  and  displays  coming  to  life  are  due  to  the  Egyptian  artifact  known  as  Tablet  of  Akmenrah.  The  tablet  has  literally  been  bringing  the  museum  to  life  for  over  50  years.

For  such  a  basic  premise,  Night  at  the  Museum is  fully  loaded  in  terms  of  throwing  everything  but  the  kitchen  sink  into  it.  Please,  when  watching  this  film,  suspend  your  disbelief.  I  do  think   the  CGI  and  practical  effects  worked  really  well.  Stiller  is  his  usual  wacky  self,  I’m  sure  75%  of  his  dialogue  was  improvised.  I  will  say  that  the  film  can  will  get  somewhat  hokey  in  parts,  but  what  do  you  expect?  It  IS  that  kind  of  film.  There  is  no  shame  in  saying  that  I  enjoyed  myself.

 Night at the Museum


I  love  low  light.  I  have  low  light  throughout  my  home.  The  scenes  that  take  place  inside  the  museum  are  gorgeous!  Yellows,  golds,  browns  all  come  through  in  abundance.  It’s  a  very  warm  color  palette  that  put  me  at  ease.  It  was  like…being  home?  Literally.  Black  levels  are  consistent  and  never  crush.  I  will  say,  that  indoor  museum  scenes,  due  to  the  warm  low  light,  make  skin  tones  come  off  a  touch  of  golden.  It’s  not  an  issue  at  all,  in  real  life,  that’s  exactly  how  one  would  look  underneath  low  light.  The  few  outdoor  scenes  had  pretty  good  contrast  levels;  I  detected  no intrusive  DNR,  dirt,  scratches,  and  artifacts.  Considering  it’s  a  pretty  recent  film,  it   was  near  reference,  in  my  opinion.

Night at the Museum


The  audio  quality  complements  the  picture  quality  quite  nicely.  The  music  comes  in  loud,  crisp,  and  clear  through  the  front  channels  without  distortion  or  clipping.  The  surround  channels  were  put  to  good  use,  and  the  sense  of  envelopment  was  always  present,  especially  indoors.  The  LFE  was  tight,  and  gave  the  film  that  kick  in  the  pants  during  the  appropriate  music  cues.  Again,  just  like  the  picture  quality,  it’s  a  near  reference  audio  track.

Night at the Museum

Special Features 

They  kind  of  skimped  on  the  special  features  on  this  one.  We’ve  got  2  commentary  tracks  by  the  writers  and  director,  the  trailer  in  high  def,  and  a  useless  trivia  track.  I’ve  got  one  word  for  you:  Meh.

  • Commentary  by  Director  Shawn  Levy: Dude,  this  is  not  Citizen  Kane.  Levy  takes  himself  way  too  seriously  for  what  this  is.  No,  we’re  not  impressed  by  your  grand  vernacular.
  • Commentary  by  Writers  Robert  Ben  Garant  and  Thomas  Lennon: Much  better.  These  cats  know  what’s up,  and  makes  for  a  fun  listen  to.
  • Theatrical  Trailer  in  High  Definition: Night  at  the  Museum trailer  in  presented  in  High  Definition.
  • Trivia  Track: A  trivia  track.

Night at the Museum

Final Thoughts  

After  talking  all  that  mess  about  how  I  would  never  see  this  film,  I  was  pleasantly  surprised  at  how  much  fun  I  had  watching  it.  I  had  so  much  fun  that  I’m  actually  looking  forward  to  checking  out  the  sequel.  *Gasp*  Kids  and  adults  of  all  ages  should  find  Night  at  the  Museum an  enjoyable  romp.  Recommended!

Bring  home Night  at  the  Museum on  Blu-ray!

Night at the Museum Blu-ray Cover Art

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Fox/MGM Easter Promo


Gerard Iribe is a writer/reviewer for Why So Blu?. He has also reviewed for other sites like DVD Talk, Project-Blu, and CHUD, but Why So Blu? is where the heart is. You can follow his incoherency on Twitter: @giribe

3 Responses to “Night at the Museum (Blu-ray Review)”

  1. Brian White

    I felt the same way you did Gerard. I even passed up seeing this in IMAX when I was bored out in Denver, CO and saw Ghost Rider instead. Big mistake! I thought this movie initially looked so bad! I’m a proud Blu-ray owner of this title. The second one however, was not as good as this one.

  2. Gerard Iribe

    Yeah, I’ll have to track the sequel dowm. No rush, though.

  3. Brian White

    Yeah. Trust me. You don’t need to be in a hurry for part 2. It was a very slow movie.