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Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian is a 2009 American adventure fantasy comedy film starring Ben StillerAmy AdamsOwen WilsonSteve CooganHank AzariaBill HaderChristopher GuestAlain ChabatJon Bernthal and Robin Williams. It is the second installment in the Night at the Museum trilogy, and a sequel to the 2006 film Night at the Museum. It is also the last Night at the Museum film to feature Jake Cherry as Nick Daley, as Cherry aged out of the role. The film was released theatrically on May 22, 2009 by 20th Century Fox, being the only film in the trilogy not to be released theatrically in December. Like its predecessor, it received mixed critical reception and a box office success by grossing over $413 million on a $150 million budget.

Plot

Three years after the events of the first film, Larry Daley, former night guard at the American Museum of Natural History, now runs his own direct response television company that sells inventions based on his experiences. He travels to the museum, discovering most of the exhibits will be moved to the Federal Archives at the Smithsonian Institution and replaced with holographic information providers. The Tablet of Ahkmenrah is to remain in the museum, leaving most of the exhibits without the ability to come to life at night. After the exhibits are moved, Larry receives a phone call from Jedediah, who informs him that Dexter the monkey stole the tablet and took it to the Smithsonian, bringing every exhibit in it to life. Larry travels to Washington, DC, navigating his way to the archives with help from his son Nick while posing as a night guard.

Larry finds his friends trapped in their shipping container under attack from Ahkmenrah's evil older brother Kahmunrah, accidentally activating the tablet and bringing the exhibits in the Smithsonian to life again. Kahmunrah reveals his plans to use the tablet's powers to conquer the world. Larry escapes, aided by a gigantic octopus and General George A. Custer, who is captured, and then the adventurous Amelia Earhart, who becomes his travelling companion around the museum. The two evade Kahmunrah's army, trapping them in the portrait of V-J Day in Times Square. Kahmunrah enlists trio of evil historical leaders, Ivan the Terrible, Napoleon Bonaparte, and Al Capone to help capture Larry and retrieve the tablet. Jedediah tries to help but is placed in an hourglass. Kahmunrah is unable to open the Gate of the Underworld without the tablet, and gives Larry and Amelia an hour to translate it, or Kahmunrah will kill Larry and his friends. Larry and Amelia's friendship increases to the point where she develops a crush on him and ends up kissing him with the "Gods of Love" flying cherubs singing to them, including "My Heart Will Go On".

Larry and Amelia travel to the National Air and Space Museum to find help, briefly encountering the statue of Abraham Lincoln at the Lincoln Memorial. Inside the museum, Larry grounds all of the aircraft and rockets from taking off, before a group of Albert Einstein bobbleheads inform him that the combination is the value of pi. Amelia tries to convince Larry for them to be a couple, but Larry struggles to tell her the truth that she is made of wax, so they can't be together. Napoleon, Ivan, and Capone's troops arrive, prompting Larry and Amelia to escape using the Wright Flyer. They crash the plane into the Smithsonian, where Kahmunrah uses the acquired combination to summon an army of Horus warriors. Lincoln crashes in through the window, frightening the warriors back into the Underworld.

Amelia gathers an army of allies including Larry's friends and Custer, leading to a climactic battle. But Custer is afraid to fight after remembering the Battle of Little Big Horn. Larry persuades him to forget the past and fight on. Meanwhile, Octavius rescues Jedediah; and together they turn the tide of the battle. Larry obtains the tablet, and devises a plan to stop Kahmunrah. Inspired by an idea given to him by Lincoln, Larry sparks a disagreement between Capone, Bonaparte and Ivan, causing them to brawl amongst themselves. Larry attempts to escape, only to be cut off by an angry Kahmunrah, brandishing a Khopesh. After a brief scuffle between Larry, armed with his flashlight, and Kahmunrah, Amelia eventually manages to use the tablet to open the gate, and Larry finally defeats Kahmunrah and banishes him to the Underworld.

Amelia flies Larry and the New York exhibits back home. Even though Larry does love Amelia, they both know she has to leave, knowing she will become dust before reaching the Smithsonian. However, the two share a final kiss before she takes off.

Two months later, Larry sells his company, donating the money to the museum to renovate it and keep it open later into the night, and the exhibits remain, capable of moving about at night under the pretense of being animatronics or hired re-enactors. Larry is rehired as a night guard and aids a woman named Tess who resembles Amelia during the debut of the museum's new extension of visiting hours.

Release

A trailer of Night at the Mu­seum: Bat­tle of the Smithsonian was re­leased on De­cem­ber 19, 2008. The film pre­miered on May 14, 2009 in Wash­ing­ton, D.C.. The film re­leased in UK on May 20, 2009, on May 22, 2009 in United States, and in Japan on Au­gust 12, 2009.

Reception

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a 45% "rotten" approval rating, based on 163 reviews, with an average score of 5.1/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Night at the Museum: Battle at the Smithsonian is busy enough to keep the kids interested but the slapstick goes overboard and the special effects (however well executed) throw the production into mania".

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