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Friday, March 4, 2016

Night at the British Museum

An Egyptian bust in the British Museum

Last year, I saw "Night at the Museum 3" in the cinema. I had looked forward to seeing the movie, as the story was set in the British Museum, which I had visited a few months previous. While the production featured a scene in the iconic atrium of the British Museum, most of the museum interiors looked completely different, as did the nature of the exhibits on display. I can only conclude the producers set the film in the British Museum for two reasons: 1) because the British Museum equates with England in viewers' minds, and 2) so they could make a statue of King Arthur come alive. 

Had I not visited the museum previously, I suspect I would have dismissed the movie as harmless fun, fueled by a passable reason for a plot, and lots of gags. Instead, it seemed odd to me that the filmmakers didn't make a movie about what's actually in the British Museum. The museum features a wealth of history which they could have built on to make a gripping, and funny movie. Instead, "Night at the Museum 3" seemed fake, unreal. It's not as if I wished to find fault with the movie. I love Ben Stiller movies. I've enjoyed most of the Ben Stiller movies I've seen. But as I watched that day in the cinema, I simply could not suspend my disbelief. 

Thus, the movie was something occasionally laughed at (or with). But it was never something I was into. But then, I suppose I should have been prepared for that, for while I had thoroughly enjoyed the original movie, the second left me dissatisfied.

Like "Night at the Museum 3," the movie "Paddington," based on the character and book series written and created by Michael Bond, was set in London. As with "Night at the Museum 3," part of the action takes place in a famous London museum. In the case of "Paddington, key scenes take place in the Natural History Museum. I've never visited the Natural History Museum, so I cannot say how much of the movie was filmed there. What I can tell you is that, unlike "Night at the Museum 3," I found "Paddington" completely gripping. It picked me up and took me along for the ride. I wasn't just watching it, I was into it. It remains one of my three favorite films released in the past two years.

What are your favorite films of the past two years? Do any of them feature destinations you would like to visit? Or are they special because you've already traveled there, and the places hold special memories for you?

Dragon Dave

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