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Friday 9 December 2016

Big-budget fun for final night at the museum

FAMILY

AFTER A charming enough original - in which Ben Stiller takes on a seemingly dead-end job as a night watchman in a museum, but where the exhibits come to life - the sequel was a tad average.

But could the series stretch to a third instalment? Luckily, the answer is yes, and it's a fitting end to the movies, which are charming and fun.

Stiller is back as Larry Daley, as is son Nick (Skyler Gisondo), who's a lot less cute and kiddish now that he's all grown up and college-bound.

But time is running out for the museum characters as the Golden Tablet of Pharaoh Akhmenrah - which transforms the exhibits - is slowly corroding, so the only hope is to visit the British Museum and get some answers from Akhmenrah's father, Merenkahre.

And moving the action from Manhattan's Natural History Museum to England brings with it some new characters - including caveman Laaa (Stiller again, having a laugh) and the best of all, Sir Lancelot (Downton Abbey's Dan Stevens).

He has some of the best scenes, including saving the gang from a dinosaur skeleton, and invading a stage place to drag away the actress playing Guinevere.

It's fitting that there's a lot of fun as this is the final screen appearance by Robin Williams, who reprises his role as Theodore Roosevelt.

It's no Good Morning Vietnam, but thankfully it's no Patch Adams either.

Dexter the Monkey is still a major scene-stealer, and Owen Wilson and Steve Coogan have their tiny cowboy Jed and Roman soldier Octavius roles down to a fine art.

With the first two movies proving major box-office hits, there's a big-budget feel here, including a Pompeii exhibit erupting, a fight-off between a defibrillator and nine-headed Xiangliu statue, and the lions of Trafalgar Square coming to life.

Big on effects and fun, it rounds off the series nicely, with enough to keep all members of the family amused for an evening.

DVD extras: An abundance of good stuff here, with deleted and extended scenes, cast interviews and features on the British Museum, plus a number of making-of specials and cast profiles.

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