WHAT I LIKED: 'Night at the Museum,' is a great, high-concept adventure movie about everything in a museum hilariously coming to life at night. There's exotic animals, cavemen, Romans, Cowboys, ex-presidents and Egyptians all in one building with each other, and there's all manner of conflict, friendship and unlikely interaction to spring from that.
What makes it engaging however is the fact that its script explores all of that from the fresh eyes of a new museum night-guard whose job it is to keep everything out, and, more importantly, everything in. That's because he's the way into being terrified and alarmed by what's going on, just as the park visitors were in 'Jurassic Park.' He and you are then kept on the edge of your seat by the fact that Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon's script does a brilliant job of making scenarios where he finds himself in peril unexpected, inventive and amusing, whilst director Shawn Levy plays visually with the reveals to keep you on tenterhooks even more.
As the narrative later spirals beyond that simple discovery, thanks to its initial set-up, the film is then able to become about its night guard (played well by Ben Stiller) learning to take charge and not quit for the first time in order to impress his son. That may be corny, but it ultimately means you'll be hooked beyond the atmospheric, and genuinely be emotionally engaged with some kind of central character arc.
WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: It's hardly a profound work of genius, but for what it is, it does a great job.
VERDICT: A great high-concept adventure movie whose way in is its central character, 'Night at the Museum,' is just great popcorn fun.