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(Review originally written at 17 March 2008)

This is one great entertaining movie to watch for the entire family! The movie features a very simple but oh so fun and effective concept of a museum that comes alive at night, to the obvious great surprise of the new night guard, played by Ben Stiller.

It's not necessarily a Ben Stiller flick and it most definitely not your standard Stiller or even comedy movie, so I think this movie is also perfectly watchable for those who don't particularly are fond of Ben Stiller.

It's a rare and unique comedy that is being helped and uplifted by its special effects. An approach previously attempted by "Jumanji" (also starring Robin Williams by the way) but that movie was only halve-halve successful, since the technology was obviously not at its best yet at the time. No wonder that this movie with an estimated $110,000,000 budget is one of the most expensive comedies ever made. It really can be seen back on the screen, which is a real positive thing to note and also one of the reasons why the movie works out so well.

The story is obviously kept deliberately as simple as possible and it actually more or less features a "Scooby-Doo" sort of plot. This was obviously done to also make this movie perfectly watchable for the more younger kids. No doubt producer Chris Columbus his influence. It works out perfectly but it of course is also a reason why this movie just isn't exactly a perfect comedy must-see.

The concept and main story of the movie also really seem like a great advertisements for museums and its image, especially among young children of course. Appereantly this was also the case, since visitors to the real American Museum of Natural History increased by 20% during the holiday season following this movie's opening.

The movie is of course not just made entertaining through its concept but also with its jokes and events happening throughout the movie. It's a great comedy and I even dare to say one of the better ones out of recent years.

Ben Stiller is in his element and he seems to be holding back a little, to allow to let the visuals more tell its story, which I think was a great and right approach for this movie. It was also fun to see movie veterans Dick Van Dyke and Mickey Rooney in this movie. Same goes for actors such as Ricky Gervais, Robin Williams (obviously) and Owen Wilson, in an uncredited but quite big role nevertheless.

Great fun to watch! Any reason why you shouldn't be watching it right now?

7/10

Watch trailer

About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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