Wednesday, May 27, 2009

End of the year activities: field trip

We are winding down our "formal" home-schooling this week -- with Kotch done (graduation on June 1st), dh almost done, the weather turning hot and the pool opening, summer is upon us with a vengeance! Add to these influences, the need to sort/toss/pack/move before the end of June ... well, formal schooling needs to slow up (altho we NEVER stop living, loving and learning).

So, whenever we're nearing the "end" , I try to plan fun things that mark the end, giving a bit of "closure" ...

For instance, yesterday we went on a field trip to see the movie, Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian. We loved it! We love the first one and watch it often; that said, I think this sequel is even better in most ways. Ben Stiller's character, Larry Dailey, is not quite so pitiful and shows great loyalty and love for others (this was missing a bit in the original). There is none of the first-movie's family issues that try to seem so politically-correct and just end up looking sad from all sides. Robin Williams returns as two different Teddy Roosevelts -- but thankfully has a smaller role than in the first as a little bit of RW goes a long way. Jedediah and Octavius are back and just as well-done as in the original movie while Capuchin monkey, Dexter, has great competition from space-monkey Able!

Amy Adams is great as a young Amelia Earhart -- very moxie-filled -- altho as String Bean (an Earhart afficianado) pointed out: AE was in her 30s when she really started flying and disappeared at the age of 40, so Adams' portrayal is a bit young for the gutsy aviatrix.

Of course the plot is hokey ... and far-fetched ... and absolutely unbelievable ... but that's the fun! Having been to all the places shown in the movie -- Air & Space, Castle, even the Lincoln Memorial -- made the movie even more fun for the kids and I. We've seen those paintings and sculptures that come alive ... we've stood in front of Abe and looked down the Reflecting Pool to the Washington Monument (and he is BIGGGGGG!) ... the kids have even been on the South Lawn of the White House (altho Octavius' venture was a slightly different experience than their own).

The bad guys are led by Akmunrah's evil, older brother Kahmunrah (played really well by Hank Azaria) and include Napoleon, Ivan the Terrible (or rather, Ivan the Awesome!), and Al Capone. There is a great scene when bad-boy muppet Oscar the Grouch and Darth Vader try to join the bad guys but are summarily dismissed. The final battle scence -- good vs bad, Custer vs Napoleon -- is great fun (but a bit over the top destructive). Some of the gags the kids didn't get -- like the Archie Bunker "throne" comment (yes, I remember that show!).

The Smithsonian -- comprised of 19 museums around the Mall (and outlying areas) -- holds such wonderful delights and this movie points out many of them. The Air&Space sequences -- with the Tuskegee Airmen and bobble-headed Einsteins -- remind the kids just how much we love that particular museum. The pictures coming alive in the National Gallery of Art (not a Smithsonian museum but located right in the midst of them) remind the kids of the great art available seven days a week in the Nation's Capital.

The ending is a great twist (maybe a bit predictable but still good) and makes me wish we lived closer to the NY Natural History museum (especially if this movie was real instead of just escapist fantasy)!

This field trip was a memory-making, reminiscence-remembering, family outing that we'll chuckle over for a long time. And reminded us all that we've haven't been to the DC museums in a while -- sounds like another field trip is in store for this weekend so dh can join in our ramblings round the Mall!


Jennifer said...

Thanks Mary! We are planning on seeing it today!

Love2Learn Mom said...

Fun! We loved the first movie too and the second one looks great! :)