History is brought vividly to life with a dazzling array of computer-generated effects in Night At The Museum 2, a soulless exercise in digital might over emotional substance and subtlety.

Directed once again by Shawn Levy, who is aided and abetted by the cast of the 2006 family-oriented blockbuster, the sequel continues the misadventures of the living exhibits from New York City's famed Museum Of Natural History.

Screenwriters Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon allow the visual effects team to run riot by relocating the storyline to the largest museum complex in the world: the hallowed halls of the Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC.

Thus, in a chase around one gargantuan, subterranean vault, Ben Stiller's beleaguered night guard dodges the tentacles of a giant squid as a pterosaur swoops overhead and General Custer screeches into battle on his trusty motorcycle.

Children will giggle at the bobble-head Albert Einsteins and one of pop artist Jeff Koons's shiny balloon dogs, which bounds excitedly around the museum halls.

Predominantly, however, humour skews towards teenage and adult audiences, poking fun at historical figures such as Napoleon and Abraham Lincoln, whose memorial on the National Mall enjoys a night-time stroll.

It regurgitates everything that worked in the first film and garnishes with new characters including The Wright Brothers and Degar's iconic dancing girl.