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Alan Silvestri Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian Review

Soundtrack. Released 2009.  

BBC Review

There's much to like here in the sheer energy and obvious artistry of the scoring.

Michael Quinn 2009

More of the same from Alan Silvestri for the follow-up to the surprise comedy hit of 2006, Night At The Museum, means another score that is elegantly knowing and eloquently executed.

And for security guard Ben Stiller, another day at the office in Battle of the Smithsonian means another night in a new museum – the world's largest museum complex, based in Washington, DC – with all the spooky, slapstick mayhem you might expect.

Silvestri's 23 musical stepping stones guide you through the film with a lightness of touch that veers dangerously towards a hands-off approach in places. Individual cues – from the opening title track to This Night Is Their Last, to Victory Is Ours and the end credits' Museum Open Late – give their own nod and a wink to the plot (such as it is).

The music is manicured Hollywood symphonic: slick, glossy and just a touch superficial in places. Silvestri injects additional colour (if not additional interest) with other genre references – Mancini-like jazz in Daley Devices; Seventies' cop show in Getting Past Security; stadium 'rawk' music in On Your Toes; the John Ford-like use of the Irish drinking song Garryowen In The Tablet – and in the process you can hear him pushing his tongue firmly into his cheek.

There's much to like here in the sheer energy and obvious artistry of the scoring, but there isn't much that grabs the imagination or stays with you afterwards. In truth, despite it being articulate and sure-footed, it is also a touch plastic and rather forgettable. One, perhaps, for completists only.

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