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National Treasure: Book of Secrets

A movie directed by Jon Turteltaub

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Fools' Gold

  • May 26, 2008
Rating:
+1
(2.5 *'s) `National Treasure 2' is benign, yet slight, family entertainment. Continuing the treasure hunt (again with a decidedly patriotic thrust) Ben Gates (Nicholas Cage) leads his globe trotting entourage to Paris, London`s Buckingham Palace, and even inside the most intimate desk drawers of the Oval Office. This time clues are sprinkled around the Western Hemisphere in Native American language, sending Ben and his sidekicks, Abigail (Diane Kruger) and Riley Poole (Justin Bartha), to retrieve them and find the Lost City of Gold.

While I liked the first 'National Treasure,' suspension of disbelief needs even more audience participation with this effort. (When Riley sets up a surveillance center from a bathroom stall in Buckingham Palace, well, you just have to decide to go along for the ride.) I found their first excursion preposterous, but I loved the characters and the caper. I still do, but this time the tension is diminished and the destination is even less to anticipate than its predecessor. And, while Ben Gates is no Jason Bourne, the movie has the necessary irreverence to poke fun of itself. ("I went to Buckingham Palace, and all I got was this old piece of wood.") They have to, after all, to gain some credibility.

In this installment (the receipts do suggest another sequel) Ben must clear the name of an ancestor, Thomas Gates, who is linked by an artifact that implicates him with a scheme to obtain gold and help the confederacy win the Civil War. While reenacting Lincoln's assassination at the Ford Theater, a member of The Knights of the Southern Circle, confronts Thomas at a local tavern and forces him at gunpoint to decode a message aimed at getting a cache of valuable gold that would overthrow the Union's victory.

Fast-forward to the present...and joining them on the trail are Ben's professorial father (Jon Voight) and his language expert mother (Helen Mirren). Instead of an anonymous front of security personnel, we get two greedy FBI agents (Ed Harris and Harvey Keitel) who follow our scholarly crew closely to get to the treasure first and make their claim for fame and fortune.

`National Treasure 2' may be insubstantial, but it does offer some rewards. With a relaxing, no-brainer plot and an admirably uplifting, patriotic execution, the film won't inspire refunds, but it's not as hefty as 'The Bourne Ultimatum' or anything from the 'Indiana Jones' franchise. (I loved a London car chase scene even if I've seen most of the tricks before.) As a substandard adventure, the movie goes down easily, has some breezy irreverence, and sports a fine performance by Helen Mirren, whom I didn't even recognize with an American accent until the final credits. Sometimes this piece of fools' gold can be fun.

My recommendation: Save this one for Flag Day, Independence Day, or one of those wet, rainy days or when you're too tired to think. (Happy Memorial Day!)

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More National Treasure: Book of Sec... reviews
Quick Tip by . June 21, 2010
Excellent movie - just not quite able to top the first one.
Quick Tip by . June 21, 2010
Great! Intreaguing!
review by . November 15, 2008
Short Attention Span Summary (SASS):     1. Civil War dirty secrets are brought to light and set alight   2. Ben Gates' great-great grandfather gets bad name, but isn't completely clueless   3. Ben Gates (Cage) follows cryptic clues to clear the family name.   4. Clues actually lead to mighty big treasure, but that isn't the real prize, apparently.   5. Mitch Wilkinson (Ed Harris) goes to a lot of trouble to get Gates to show him the money …
review by . July 15, 2008
If one can associate an actor to a particular genre of movies, it would be Nicholas Cage to family-friendly action - adventure movies. But sequels has been something he has smartly stayed away from, until now. With this 2nd installment of Disney's National Treasure franchise, Mr. Cage looks like he has sold himself out. The Book of Secrets starts out good but steadily becomes less believable and less original as it progresses. For example, the scene inside the mountain where he and his fellow explorers …
review by . June 06, 2008
Entertaining and campy with several "yeah right!" moments. Fans of National Treasure should appreciate the same characters as they banter, argue, fight and solve clues.    National Treasure Two takes us to Europe and below ground. Nearly clean fun lacks family unfriendly language and sexual content.    The intensity of the themes -- treasure hunts/hunters, shootings, car chases and skeletons in various degrees of decay might make it a little too much for very …
review by . March 08, 2008
posted in Movie Hype
While delivering a presentation about his great-grandfather, Thomas Gates (Joel Gretsch) and his relationship to John Wilkes Booth and attempt to stop the assassination of President Lincoln, Ben Gates (Nicholas Cage) is challenged by a man, Mitch Wilkinson (Ed Harris), who claims to have a missing page from John Wilkes Booth's diary that suggests that Thomas Gates was actually one of the ring-leaders of Lincoln's assassination. In an attempt to prove his great-grandfather's innocence, Ben, Abigail …
review by . January 20, 2008
Despite the fact that this 2007 sequel to the popular "National Treasure" boasts a fine cast of actors (Nicholas Cage, Jon Voight, personal favorite Ed Harris and the incomparable Helen Mirren,) "Book of Secrets" catapults into a fast but formulaic action with a little less than the high voltage adrenaline the initial film offered, repositioning famed treasure-hunter/historian Ben Franklin Gates (Cage) to face yet another widely publicized dis --- this time linking his equally cipher-solving obscure …
review by . January 02, 2008
If you can get past the silly title, NATIONAL TREASURE: BOOK OF SECRETS is a diverting couple of hours at the movie. This cross between RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARC (lite) with THE DAVINCI CODE (lite) will not stick in your memory for more than a few minutes after you leave the theatre...but you'll at least remember having a more or less fun time.    Nicholas Cage (with his bad hair-dye) is at least having more fun than he did in NEXT, WICKER MAN and GHOST RIDER. In those films, he …
review by . December 30, 2007
posted in Movie Hype
Much like the film that preceded it, "National Treasure: Book of Secrets" is both completely preposterous and a lot of fun at the same time. No, I never once believed what was going on; this movie is not about believability, but about pure entertainment, much like the "Indiana Jones" films or "The Da Vinci Code." And in the tradition of "The Da Vinci Code," this film is founded on the premise that hidden clues will lead to the truth. In this case, the quest for the truth is directly related to Ben …
review by . December 25, 2007
Pros: Great action scenes and decent plot line     Cons: minimal suspense if you have seen a lot of the previews     The Bottom Line: Predictable, but still worth seeing with its fun action scenes. Plus it is not as predictable to others who do not know as much history as me.     Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie''s plot. I think this was a very well done sequel, although the first one is still better. My …
About the reviewer
John L. Peterson ()
Ranked #99
I am a substitute teacher who enjoysonline reviewing. Skiing is my favorite pastime; weight training and health are my obsessions;and music and movies feed my psyche. Books are a treasure and a pleasure … more
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National Treasure: Book of Secrets
Theatrical release poster Directed by Jon Turteltaub Produced by Jon Turteltaub
Jerry Bruckheimer Written by Screenplay
Marianne Wibberley
Cormac Wibberley

Story
Gregory Poirier
Marianne Wibberley
Cormac Wibberley
Terry Rossio
Ted Elliott Starring Nicolas Cage
Justin Bartha
Diane Kruger
Jon Voight
Helen Mirren
Ed Harris Music by Trevor Rabin Cinematography John Schwartzman
Amir Mokri Editing by William Goldenberg
David Rennie Distributed by Walt Disney Pictures Release date(s) December 21, 2007 Running time 125 min. Country United States Language English
French Budget $130,000,000[1] Gross revenue $457,364,600[2] Preceded by National Treasure

National Treasure: Book of Secrets (titled National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets on the DVD/Blu-ray release) is a 2007 adventure film and is the sequel to the 2004 film National Treasure. It was directed by Jon Turteltaub and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer.

It was stated in the first film's commentary that there were no plans for a sequel, but due to the first film's impressive box-office performance, earning $347.5 million worldwide, a sequel was given the go-ahead in 2005. It took just 38 days of release for the sequel to out-gross the original.

The film premiered in New York City on December 13, 2007 and was released in the Middle East, Korea, and Taiwan on December 19, ...

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