National Treasure: Book of Secrets
Interesting trivia fact:
Before National Treasure: Book of Secrets, Nicolas Cage never did a
Think about it. It's
kind of shocking, really. In today's movie climate, how is it possible
that he never before revisited a role?
And why National
Treasure? It was certainly not his best film -- though it was a
very enjoyable genre-piece of the type he periodically does when slumming.
It also was not his biggest film -- though it was one of the bigger ones.
But why not The Rock 2, or Con Air Again? Is there ever
going to be another Ghost Rider?
More to the point, wouldn't
you like to find out what happened to some of his more interesting
characters? Obviously you can't follow up Leaving Las Vegas,
but I'd like to know what happened to the guy from Moonstruck or the
twin from Adaptation.
Still, if he has to return
to a franchise, I guess National Treasure is as good a place as any
to start. The original film -- which honestly was a bit of a
DaVinci Code rip-off that actually beat the movie of that novel to
theaters by over a year -- was still a fun piece of escapist fluff, with a
clever storyline (as long as you didn't look at the plot holes too closely.)
The fact that it turned out to be a significantly bigger hit than the movie
of the novel it was patterned after was an interesting surprise.
is more of the same -- fun, history-based puzzles, a little
breaking and entering into major government facilities, car chases, gorgeous
women and cities, a little romance, a little comic relief and and huge
treasures buried in long-forgotten booby-trapped catacombs. National Treasure: Book
Yet, like the first in the
series, it is a worthy diversion. Not high art, just fun escapist
Once again, Cage plays
historian/adventurer Benjamin Franklin Gates, the Indiana Jones of American
history. Again, he has to solve an elaborate (but not too elaborate)
series of clues passed down over generations of forefathers.
The story has Gates'
great-grandfather -- who had previously been a respected Civil War-era
code-breaker -- suddenly accused of being a part of the conspiracy to kill
Abraham Lincoln. It all revolves around the missing pages in Lincoln's
diary -- pages that the ancestor had supposedly destroyed in a fire.
Desperate to clear their
relative's good name, Gates and his father (Jon Voight) gather up their old
co-horts from the first film -- Justin Bartha as the comic-relief assistant
and Diane Kruger as Gates' now-estranged girlfriend. They are able to
get a hold of one of the missing pages and realize that it is actually a
cipher that leads to a legendary Indian city of gold.
This starts a treasure hunt
which leads from Paris to London to Washington to Mount Rushmore.
The movie never quite
explains why finding the city of gold will exonerate Gates'
great-grandfather -- but in the end that really doesn't matter.
Beyond Cage as Gates, the
film has a whole slew of Oscar-celebrated actors good-naturedly slumming
through the lightweight action movie. Jon Voight returns as Gates'
professor father. New additions include Helen Mirren as Gates' mother,
Ed Harris as the mysterious man who sets the wheels in motion, Harvey Keitel
as a way-too-friendly Federal Agent and Bruce Greenwood as the President.
While the film may not be
exactly worthy of all the talent involved, all that talent makes National
Treasure: Book of Secrets worthy of a viewing.
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright ©2007 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved.
Posted: December 29, 2007.