Saturday, May 23, 2009

Cinematic Saturday Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian

Cinematic Saturday: Books Into Film

There are many films that have been inspired by books. Night at the Museum by Milan Trenc is one of them. As a matter of fact, the original was so successful, a second film was inspired, Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian which opened this weekend.

I’ve spent the morning reading the reviews…ouch. Apparently I have the mindset of a “six year-old hopped up on Pixy Stix” because I thoroughly enjoyed the film. One thing to keep in mind is that this is a family film based on a children’s book. The targeted audience is (ahem) the children. There is also a certain level of humor to keep the adults entertained (Napoleon, the cameo appearance of Archie Bunker’s “throne”) and it is a very entertaining (albeit predictable) film. The biggest disappointment I have from films like this is there are so many wonderful characters and talented stars…they simply do not get enough camera time.

For anyone unfamiliar with the children’s book, Larry Daley (a divorced dad) finds what he thinks will be an easy job as a night watchman at the Museum of Natural History. On his first night he dozes off awakening to find that the museum’s entire collection of dinosaur skeletons has disappeared. The panic-stricken guard charges through the museum, out into Central Park and over to the Planetarium in search of the missing dinosaurs frantically wondering who is the thief and how is he ever going to get the bones back to the museum. The similarities between the book and the movie seem to end here, but it is the foundation both movies stemmed from.

In movies derived from books intended for young children, Hollywood has the ability to expand on the original idea. Films based on novel length works, however, often need to cut out vital scenes to allow the film to stay within a specified time parameters, after all, film time is quite expensive. One thing I do like about Hollywood’s version of bringing books to life is the special effects employed to really make the story magical. The Night at the Museum lets your imagination flow as it brings its world to life. What are your favorite books to film? One of my favorites is a classic…The wizard of Oz. I remember as a child feeling the magic as Dorothy opens the door to her house as she enters the world of Oz and everything going from black and white to vivid Technicolor. You could feel the magic of this new world. How about you? What are some of your favorites and what brought them to life for you?

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Jennifer Taggart, TheSmartMama said...

Thank you for this post - we were considering going to see the movie so I was happy to have stopped by. I like movies that take their ideas from book, and are inspired by the spirit, but don't feel compelled to follow the book exactly. Which, while I enjoy the Harry Potter movies, don't think they do as well as the Lord of the Rings.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

So funny! My son is there now with a friend. It sounds like he may be enjoying it.


N A Sharpe said...

Hi Jennifer,

I really enjoyed the movie and so did my son (a teen) There was a young child sitting behind us that giggled through most of the movie too. There is a lot going on, special effects, etc. I really liked the first one too.

Hope you enjoy it!


N A Sharpe said...

Hi Elizabeth!

i hope your son and his friend enjoys the movie. We sure did!

Thanks for stopping by.


Patricia Stoltey said...

Nancy -- All sorts of books to movies popped into my head. The original Lassie movie, my all-time favorite The Yearling, and the Walt Disney adaptation of the Uncle Remus and Tales of Brer Rabbit, Song of the South. I still vividly remember the little boy being chased down by that big bull...


N A Sharpe said...

Oh Patricia - those are some great ones! I think tomorrow is going to be a lazy day. Holiday weekend, right? Break out the popcorn and a bunch of classic movies!

Have a great weekend and thanks for stopping by~


Enid Wilson said...

My friends didn't like the first movie but for this one, the reviews seem rated it better. Worth a try this time.

In Quest of Theta Magic

darkened_jade said...

I really do wish that people would review movies as they were intended to be watched. You cannot watch a children's movie and expect academy award winning scripting and cinematography - mostly because it would bore the audience to tears. Thanks for your thoughts on this film - I have no intention of seeing it, but it annoys me when people get on the bandwagon about a movie simply because it didn't meet their expectations.

Helen Ginger said...

I've never read the Night at the Museum books, so had no idea the films were based on books. I've not seen the movies either, but they looked like ones kids would love.

I loved the Wizard of Oz movie, too, but it scared the bejesus out of my daughter.

Straight From Hel

Anonymous said...

Apparently I have the mindset of a “six year-old hopped up on Pixy Stix”

HA!! Love it. :)

I also enjoyed Oz - both the original and the one with Michael Jackson and Diana Ross.

The Old Silly from Free Spirit Blog

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