A few weeks back, I reviewed Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian as part of This Week in Blu-ray. And at the time, I had just given the film a second glance on Blu-ray, after seeing it in IMAX during its theatrical run. It was fun the second time around, and once again I was enamored with the inherent cuteness of Amy Adams as Amelia Earhart. Then earlier this week, a friend pointed and I were discussing the film — I don’t talk about important films with friends, just silly ones, for the record — and he pointed out the fact that it was full of parodies and nods to other films. It got me thinking — perhaps this film, scripted by Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon (Reno 911) was smarter than it initially appeared. Perhaps it wasn’t just another stock Ben Stiller comedy. Perhaps that’s why I’ve enjoyed it so much on two viewings.
So I decided to take another look, and lo and behold, there were all kinds of sneaky little nods to other films and pop culture, including at least one reference to the work of Michael Bay. It leads me to believe that you should take a second look as well (if you’ve got time, I know that the holidays are busy), and keep an eye out for some of the following references:
Beware: Some of these references listed below might include spoilers…
Perhaps the most obvious one — when Larry (Ben Stiller) and Amelia (Amy Adams) first enter the National Air and Space Museum, the characters are all in various states of takeoff or launch. Clint Howard, who portrays a Mission Control technician, played a similar role in the Ron Howard movie Apollo 13.
When Larry and Amelia fly the Wright Flyer out of the National Air and Space Museum, Able the Monkey held up two green flares as the plane flew overhead, parodying a scene from The Rock when Nicolas Cage held up two green flares to prevent a sortie of F/A-18s from bombing the island.
The battle when Jedediah (Owen Wilson) and Octavius (Steve Coogan) fight against the shoes of their giant enemies (one of my favorite moments) is a parody of 300. Slo-mo included.
Raiders of the Lost Ark
When Larry infiltrates the National Archives the music motif is a homage to the ending of Raiders of the Lost Ark, where they place the ark into storage.
The Moon Landing
A mannequin of Neil Armstrong says “One step for mannequin” as a parody of when Neil said, “One small step for man,” as he became the first man to step on the moon on July 20, 1969.
Darth Vader and Oscar the Grouch
Perhaps the next most obvious, alongside the reference listed above for Apollo 13, is the appearance of Darth Vader and Oscar the Grouch. These two nefarious fellows try to join the gang of Kahmunrah (Hank Azaria), but to no avail.
In the end, the ‘find the cultural and film-related references’ game can be mildly amusing. And this movie has more than a few, as illustrated above. Are there any others that you can spot? If so, drop them in the comment section below.
Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian is currently available on Blu-ray and DVD. The best way to get it would probably be to order it from Amazon.com.