Movie Quote Monday: Night at the Museum 2 (Battle of the Smithsonian)
This is one of the rare occasions when a sequel reuses the exact same premise as the first movie and it actually works.
The basic idea is that an ancient tablet has the power to bring all the museum exhibits to life, from sundown to sunup. In the first movie, we see brand new night security guard Larry Daley first learning about this crazy phenomenon and then learning how to deal with all the nightly mayhem. Naturally, there are also bad guys and a struggle to save the tablet from getting into the wrong hands.
This sequel uses pretty much the same idea: magic tablet, exhibits come to life, bad guys. But the action was moved to the many Smithsonian museums lining the National Mall in Washington, DC. The Smithsonian is the largest museum and research complex in the world, so we’ve got a host of new characters along with the old familiars. And the new location gives Larry and company plenty of room to romp, including the National Air and Space Museum and the National Gallery of Art.
The real difference between the two movies is what Larry is personally going through. The first movie is really about Larry finding himself and his purpose in life. In the sequel, Larry has moved up in the world, and things are going pretty great. But by the time the movie’s over, he’s asking himself, “Is this what I want for my life? What really makes me happy?”
Amelia Earhart: Do you know why I became a pilot?
—Larry: I don’t know.
Amelia Earhart: For the fun of it. Why else would anyone do anything?
I can think of a lot of reasons why else I would do something. Like, I love that I have a place to live and I can pay my bills. Sometimes we do things simply because it’s the right or kind thing to do, even if it doesn’t necessarily make us happy.
Of course, this is just a movie, and the choice Larry has to make isn’t really very complex. He’s not deciding between living his dream and having a place to live, for example.
In real life, I think it’s important to love ourselves and seek ways to be happy, successful, fulfilled and content. But I also think real life is just way more complicated than that.
What do you think?
Should we construct our lives with only happiness in mind?
Why else do you do all the things you do?