Movie Reviews: Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, Dumb & Dumber To, Kon-Tiki

The magic that brings to life the exhibits at New York’s Museum of Natural History is running out as Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb (PG) opens, forcing Larry (Ben Stiller) to travel to London in order to rejuvenate the ancient Egyptian enchantment.

Movie Reviews: Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, Dumb & Dumber To, Kon-Tiki

He doesn’t travel alone, of course: his entourage includes Teddy Roosevelt (Robin Williams), Jedidiah (Owen Wilson), Octavius (Steve Coogan) and Dexter the Monkey.

Aided by Pharaoh Merenkahre (Ben Kingsley), Larry & Co are set fair to achieve their mission until they run into Sir Lancelot (Dan Stevens), who confuses the Egyptian golden artefact with his long-awaited Holy Grail. Directed by Shawn Levy, the concluding episode of the Night at the Museum trilogy is a fast-paced adventure that plays fast and loose with historical accuracy in the name of thrills and spills.

Pedants will be pulling their hair out, but it’s all good, clean fun, even when Dexter the Monkey takes a distinctly unhygienic approach to saving the tiny Jedidiah and Octavius from a Pompeii lava-flow.

We could probably have done without Larry’s Neanderthal look-alike, who pops up frequently to very little effect, but otherwise it’s a visual feast that almost, but not quite, distracts the viewer from the paper-thin storyline.

That said, the fabulously drawn sequence in which Larry, Teddy and Sir Lancelot fall into an Escher painting is almost worth the price of admission alone, while only the stoniest of hearts will be left unmoved by the late Robin Williams’ bittersweet adieu at the end of the movie.

Dumb & Dumber To (15A) opens in the institution where Lloyd (Jim Carrey) has been sitting, vegetable-like, for the past 20 years. A sad state of affairs, particularly for Lloyd’s best friend Harry (Jeff Daniels), who has arrived to see Lloyd for the very last time.

It’s a sombre beginning to the sequel to one of the wackiest, goofiest comedies in recent memory (the original was released in 1994 with a preque, Dumb and Dumberer in 2003), but the morbid mood doesn’t last long.

Soon the irrepressible Lloyd and Harry are embarking on a road trip in search of the daughter Harry has never known, in the hope she will agree to donate the new kidney Harry badly needs.

Directed by Bobby and Peter Farrelly, Dumb & Dumber To isn’t so much a movie as it is a series of slapstick sketches (very) loosely bound together by the tried-and-tested method of the road trip narrative.

It’s difficult to dislike the childishly goofy leading pair and their blend of low cunning and naïve innocence that serves as a heartfelt homage to the zany comedy of The Three Stooges.

However, while there are some scattered but genuinely funny moments, there’s no denying that much of the material here feels either stale or flat — the gross-out style of comedy the Farrelly Brothers pioneered decades ago no longer has the power to shock or amuse.

Bill Murray and Kathleen Turner are among those who provide cameo appearances, but the abiding impression is of two embarrassing older uncles doing their comic ‘turns’, so self-involved in their own hilarity that they’ve forgotten that their audience has seen it all before.

Kon-Tiki (PG) is a fictionalised account of the epic 1947 expedition undertaken by Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl (Pål Sverre Hagen), who believed the Pacific’s Polynesian Islands were settled by intrepid Inca sailors using balsawood rafts.

To prove his wildly improbable theory after being ridiculed by academia, he assembled a team — none of whom had any actual experience of sailing, as would have been the case with the original sailors — and built a balsa-wood raft according to specs 1,500 years old, calling it the Kon-Tiki after the Inca sun-god.

Directed by Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg, the film follows Heyerdahl and his crew as they embark on the 4,300-mile trip from the west coast of South America to Polynesia.

The blue skies and seas and endlessly sunny days give the story a dreamy, idyllic quality, but the expedition was anything but plain sailing: storms, sharks, boredom and mutiny were only some of the problems they had to overcome.

Every schoolchild knows the ultimate outcome, of course, but terrific performances and superb cinematography from Geir Hartly Andreasson invest proceedings with dramatic flair, the combination expertly emphasising the claustrophobic but exhilarating experience of living on a tiny raft surrounded by vast expanses of sea and sky.

It’s also an intriguing meditation on spiritual rehabilitation, as the seafarers — some of them veterans of recent war against Nazi Germany — turn their backs on the modern world and place their faith in the ancient traditions.

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