A Night at the Museum

I don’t write reviews.  Not actually sure what they’re supposed to have in them.  Nonetheless, I do write thoughts.  And I think A Night at the Museum is a good movie.  I’ll have to read the book.  We sell it at work.

I like the whole idea of it.  History comes alive.  When no one’s looking.  And the living exhibits have memories.  Attila the Hun speaks only Hun.  Somehow Octavius the Roman speaks English, but the plot would go nowhere if he spoke only Latin.  And Teddy Roosevelt, while made of plastic, is Teddy Roosevelt and able to lift a man’s spirits.

The characters in the movie are people (and elephants and a T-Rex and living statues and a mischievous monkey).  They are not statistics.  They are not “facts.”  Some people like to distinguish between “facts” and “truth” or “meaning.”  I’m not always sure what they mean, unless they mean that the world is actually vague and esoteric.

But facts are not all the truth.  When we read about Rome, we have to realise that Rome is full of human beings.  These people had emotions, dreams, and bellies to fill.  Some of them happened to be senators, emperors, and generals.  Most of them happened to be relatively poor.  But all of them were real.  Senators were real people with real personalities, and the life of the upper class was just as real as the life of the lower class.

Since history is about people, history is exciting.  Humans have been made in the image of God.  They are, therefore, interesting.  What they do is of great interest — for its own sake, not simply for “lessons”.  In history we see virtue and vice, truths and lies, hope and despair, joys and sorrows, conquests and conquests (it all depends on perspective).  In history, people have adventures.  Some meet Cleopatra.  Some burn down libraries.  Some do both.  One man darkened his skin to truly experience what the life of a black man in the Deep South of the USA was like back in 1959 (his name was John Howard Griffin, and his story is rivetting and amazing and telling and soulsearching and cries out for justice and can be found in the book Black Like Me which I just read and which you’d better read too).

History is also made by stupid people (when better people wouldn’t even try).  But that’s part of the thrill, the excitement.  I love history because it’s stories — true stories about real people who lived, loved, ate, dreamed, slept, died.

A Night at the Museum is also a film about museums.  It is in favour of them, because cool stuff is there about people who did cool things as well as lots of information.  It’s worth going to look at old junk.  I love museums.  I hope this movie makes lots of people go to them more.  Even if a spaceship crashed into the ROM.

So watch A Night at the Museum.  Then visit a local museum.  And read a book about history (but don’t necessarily believe everything you read — everybody’s got an angle, left-wing, right-wing, centrist, politically correct, feminist, marxist, traditionalist, revisionist, “objectivist”, Matthew).  Also — have a nice day.  You are living in an adventure, after all . . .

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