Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb (PG), screening at Berwick Maltings on Sunday, February 15, and Monday, February 16; Alnwick Playhouse on Saturday, February 21.
Family adventure starring Ben Stiller and Robin Williams.
It’s time to say goodbye. The third chapter of the blockbusting Night at the Museum franchise has lost two of its greatest special effects – Mickey Rooney and Robin Williams – in the past 12 months.
So it’s fitting that Secret of the Tomb should be an action-packed adventure punctuated with dewy-eyed farewells and warm-hearted reminiscence.
Shawn Levy’s picture is a fitting swansong, reuniting most of the protagonists from the original for a final transatlantic hurrah.
The script adds father-son bonding to the mix and a new Neanderthal called Laa (Ben Stiller), who is partial to munching on polystyrene foam.
For the most part, though, familiarity with the series’ larger-than-life characters breeds contentment.
The third chapter opens in 1938 Egypt, where adventurer Robert Fredericks (Brennan Elliott) and his 12-year-old son CJ (Percy Hynes-White) stumble upon a burial chamber.
“If anyone disturbs this tomb, the end will come!” proclaims one superstitious local. Undaunted, Fredericks empties the site of its priceless artefacts, dividing the treasures between New York and London.
Fast-forwarding to the present day, the magical Tablet of Ahkmenrah, which brings to life the exhibits of the American Museum Of Natural History, is losing its power.
Security guard Larry Daley (Stiller) recognises the repercussions for his display case chums and enlists the help of museum director Dr McPhee (Ricky Gervais) to ship the tablet to the British Museum in London, home of pharaoh Merenkahre (Sir Ben Kingsley), who fashioned the tablet in honour of his son Ahkmenrah (Rami Malek).
Larry heads for the British capital with his son Nick (Skyler Gisondo) and several stowaways: Theodore Roosevelt (Robin Williams), cowboy Jedediah (Owen Wilson), Roman general Octavius (Steve Coogan), Attila the Hun (Patrick Gallagher), interpreter Sacagawea (Mizuo Peck), Laa and Dexter the capuchin monkey.
Night At The Museum: Secret Of The Tomb milks our affection for the characters without exhausting our good will.
There’s nothing innovative in the third film but good humour and sweetness prevail.
Screenings: Berwick Maltings 1pm, Sunday, February 15; and 7.30pm, Monday, February 16
Alnwick Playhouse 2pm, Saturday, February 21,