Darien News film critic Susan Granger reviews the new movie, "Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb:"

The exhibits at New York's Museum of Natural History once again come to life in this third installment in the action adventure/comedy franchise.

After an "Indiana Jones"-type prologue set in Egypt in 1938, there's a black-tie dinner celebrating the opening of the Hayden Planetarium. But what was supposed to be a dazzling animatronic show goes amok, as philanthropic guests flee from the rampaging T-Rex and other marauding relics.

Night watchman Larry Daley (Ben Stiller) tells museum director Dr. McPhee (Rickey Gervais) that the problem stems from a mystical, ancient relic, the golden Tablet of Ahkmenrah, which is eroding.

So Daley and his teenage son (Skyler Gisondo) take off for London's British Museum, along with Teddy Roosevelt (Robin Williams), Sacagawea (Mizuo Peck), Attila the Hun (Patrick Gallagher, pint-sized cowboy Jedediah (Owen Wilson) and his tiny companion, Roman General Octavius (Steve Coogan), and Dexter the capuchin monkey.

"This place is waking up for the first time, and we have no idea what's out there," Daley notes.

They find Pharaoh Merenkahre (Ben Kingsley), who designed the tablet to honor his son (Rami Malek), but not before Sir Lancelot (Dan Stevens) comes to their rescue, stealing the show; the highlight is his hilarious encounter with a surprise superstar, playing King Arthur in "Camelot."

Loosely based on a 1993 children's book by Croatian author-illustrator Milan Trenc, the plot, cobbled together by four screenwriters, is a formulaic rehash in a different location, and Shawn Levy's direction is flaccid, at best. A subplot involving a grunting Neanderthal (Ben Stiller) and a British Museum guard (Rebel Wilson) falls flat.

It should be noted that attendance at New York's Museum of Natural History jumped 20 percent after the first film was released and has continued to increase. And, as a direct result of the franchise, the museum now periodically hosts its own nighttime sleepover party.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb" is a scrambled, slapstick 6, bidding a bittersweet farewell to Robin Williams and Mickey Rooney.

- For more about movies and theater, check the website: www.susangranger.com.