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Night at the Museum: Movie Review

Movieguide Magazine


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Night at the Museum provides exciting, charming, tender, uplifting, and amusing entertainment for the whole family. There are, however, a couple worldview problems that demand some caution for concerned parents and people of faith. Also, the light violence may be too much for most very young children.

The movie stars Ben Stiller as Larry Daley. Larry has a lot of dreams for success, but none of them pay off. His ex-wife complains that their young son, Nicky, is losing respect for his father and is getting tired of his father's instability. So, Larry takes a job as a night security guard for the Museum of Natural History, which, due to lesser income, is retiring its three elderly guards, played by Dick Van Dyke, Mickey Rooney, and Bill Cobbs.

Cecil, the lead guard (Van Dyke), hands Larry a flashlight, keys, and a dog-eared instruction manual. That night, Larry watches in shock, awe, and disbelief as, one by one, the primeval beasts, historical icons, and museum exhibits magically stir to life. That's when the chaotic fun begins!

Night at the Museum is a delightful entertainment. The story is well-written and the acting, editing, and cinematography are filled with adventure, humor, warmth, and inspiring messages. There are also a few nifty twists in the final act. Ben Stiller makes a good average-guy-type to play the important father role. It was also great to see such venerable actors as Dick Van Dyke, Mickey Rooney, and Bill Cobbs, as the three elderly security guards, strut their stuff.

Most importantly, the movie has some strong moral, redemptive elements. Most of those positive elements have to do with courage, taking responsibility, becoming a dynamic leader, controlling chaos, positive moral transformation, self-control, and the need for fathers to create a strong bond with their sons. The movie also shows that liberty can only truly occur within some kind of moral order and moral authority. This is an important conservative American value as well as a biblical one.

These positive qualities, however, are mixed with a few not-so-positive ones. For example, there are two jokes about human evolution that reinforce a humanist, evolutionary worldview. Going along with this are false evolutionary depictions of "cavemen," the kind of old-fashioned depictions that you will find in such secular museums. Of course, in recent years, modern science has refuted such depictions of stupid-looking cavemen. For example, Movieguide® has discovered that most of today's best scientists now believe that the ape-like characteristics formerly given to such races as the "Neanderthal" race, and even the "Homo Erectus" race, are highly exaggerated and even downright false. Furthermore, some scientists have even begun to dispute the ancient dates given for these early human skeletons and cultures. Finally, as many Christian scientists have discovered, there is no historical, biological, or evolutionary connection whatsoever between ancient monkey and ape species and the human race, including the Neanderthals and Homo Erectus. Thus, the human evolution mentioned in Night at the Museum is not science fact, but science fiction!

It should be noted that the filmmakers used the cooperation of the American Museum of Natural History. Such museums are notoriously secular, sometimes in ways that can be highly offensive and politically correct.

Primarily because of this problem, therefore, Movieguide® advises caution, especially for younger children. Parents should remind all their children, however (not to mention their friends and other family members), that there is very little or no scientific evidence that human beings evolved. There is also no evidence whatsoever that they evolved from monkeys, apes, or any other non-human animal or creature. Thus, the only reason that the physical structure and biology of human beings may be somewhat similar to other, lesser creatures is because the same God of the Bible designed and made everything that exists in the universe. As the Gospel of says, "Through him [Jesus Christ, the Word of God] all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it."

"For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say 'No' to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope – the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for Himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good." -

NOTE from Dr. Ted Baehr, publisher of Movieguide Magazine. For more information from a Christian perspective, order the latest Movieguide Magazine by calling 1-800-899-6684(MOVI) or visit our website at Movieguide is dedicated to redeeming the values of Hollywood by informing parents about today's movies and entertainment and by showing media executives and artists that family-friendly and even Christian-friendly movies do best at the box office year in and year out. Movieguide now offers an online subscription to its magazine version, at The magazine, which comes out 25 times a year, contains many informative articles and reviews that help parents train their children to be media-wise consumers.

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About The Author

MOVIEGUIDE® was founded in 1985 by Dr. Ted Baehr, past president of the Episcopal Radio & Television Foundation and former director of the Television Center at the City University of New York. MOVIEGUIDE® is affiliated with the Christian Film & Television Commission® ministry (CFTVC). Both MOVIEGUIDE® and CFTVC are dedicated to redeeming the values of the entertainment industry, according to biblical principles, by influencing industry executives and artists and by informing and educating the public about the influence of the entertainment media and about how to train their families to become