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National Treasure: Book of Secrets

A movie directed by Jon Turteltaub

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Raiders of the Lost Book

  • Dec 30, 2007
Rating:
+4
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 Gates (Nicholas Cage): his family name is threatened when it's revealed that one of his ancestors--Thomas Gates--may have been the mastermind behind the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Mitch Wilkinson (Ed Harris) claims to have proof of this: a piece of a missing page from the diary of John Wilkes Booth.

Both Ben and his father, Patrick (Jon Voight), refuse to believe this is true, and immediately vow to set the record straight. Ben first needs to get a look at Wilkinson's piece of paper, and to do that, he enlists the help of his partner, Riley Poole (Justin Bartha), and his ex-girlfriend, Abigail Chase (Diane Kruger). Numerous infrared scans show that the page contains a cipher, and when cracked, it's discovered that Thomas Gates was looking for a fabled ancient city, said to made entirely of gold. Finding this city would prove that Gates was in no way responsible for killing President Lincoln. How, I'm not entirely sure, but considering how cleverly the various clues are hidden, I have to admit that I didn't really care.

As it turns out, the clues will take Ben, Abigail, Riley, and Patrick on an international journey, beginning in France with the original Statue of Liberty. There are also two special clues that function simultaneously, and while I won't say what they are, I will say that they're hidden in Buckingham Palace and the White House. I'll also say that one of the clues is missing; the only way to find it is by obtaining the legendary Book of Secrets, which has been passed down from President to President for over one hundred years. Not only does this book contain the information Ben is looking for, it also speaks the truth about the country's biggest mysteries, from Area 51 to the missing minutes of the Watergate tapes to the assassination of John F. Kennedy. According to FBI agent Sadusky (Harvey Keitel), the only way to ever see the book is to be elected President. Ben decides on the next best thing: he'll kidnap the current President (Bruce Greenwood) and convince him to reveal the book's location.

Does this not sound like a fun movie? And it gets even better: hot on Ben's trail is Wilkinson, who--as you might have guessed--wants to stop Ben from finding the treasure. Its discovery would mean that Ben's ancestor was, in fact, innocent, and that would mean that Wilkinson's family history has been a lie. Using Patrick's bugged phone as a source of information, he listens to Ben's conversations and tries to gain the upper hand. Villains in such films are almost always this sneaky, which only makes us hate them that much more. And I have no doubt that this is exactly the way we're supposed to feel; both "National Treasure" films rely on a very clear Hero/Enemy formula, like all good adventure stories do. Simply put, we root for the good guys and hope that the bad guys fail. In essence, this movie is really no different than the Saturday afternoon serials of the 1940s and `50s.

Topping everything off is Ben's mother, Emily Appleton (Helen Mirren), a History professor at the University of Maryland. She and Patrick have been divorced for over thirty years, and not once during that time have they spoken to each other. There's a reason for this: watching them together in the same room is enough to drive even the calmest, most patient person to the breaking point. When they reunite, they immediately bicker over the most insignificant things, like who should have placed their luggage in the cab on one of their old treasure hunting trips. But the main reason she's included is because Ben needs her help; one of the clues is covered with the symbols of an ancient language, and she is one of only a handful of people who can decipher them.

The film culminates with a visit to Mount Rushmore, where something special has been in hiding for centuries. Most of the finale takes place in large caverns, into which water rushes in from large, temple-like openings. Unrealistic, I know, but hey, it's probably the most fitting conclusion for a film like this. It helps that a strong sense of humor runs all throughout, simply because this is a film that can't be taken seriously. The one character that's pure comedy relief is Riley, who always seems to get the short end of the stick. When he's introduced, he's at a bookstore, promoting his latest book on treasure hunting--not only do most people walk by without saying a word, some actually mistake him for Ben. There are also a fair number of humorous moments between Voight and Mirren, who make their characters likeable while still keeping that irritating edge. I know that "National Treasure: Book of Secrets"--or for that matter, its predecessor--will never be considered a great movie, but who cares? I had fun, and that's all that matters.

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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 . May 26, 2008
posted in Movie Hype
(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 …
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 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 …
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Chris Pandolfi ()
Ranked #5
Growing up a shy kid in a quiet suburb of Los Angeles, Chris Pandolfi knows all about the imagination. Pretend games were always the most fun for him, especially on the school playground; he and his … 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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