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I will keep it short and simple. Just watched it, paid 10$ for it, it is worth it. Not much of details as you would expect out of a great movie, not much of substance in the movie itself however the acting and the pace of the movie is so beautiful you wont think of the flaws in the intricate plans they carry out in the movie. The subtle comedy is really nice and they have kept the first movie in consideration and have not brought many new characters. It is not a movie that you would think a lot about after you come out of the hall, however you will not think anything else either while the movie is going on. I will give it 7 for the sheer value of entertainment and nothing else and of course the one liners that keep popping up which actually make you laugh.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I had seen the previous National Treasure, and armed with that memory
and the knowledge that this was a Disney movie, I watched its sequel
without a great deal of expectations---predictable adventure drivel,
Indiana Jones with more modern special effects, is what I expected. But
this movie manages to disappoint even fairly modest expectations such
In the end it really comes down to two problems: (1) It doesn't make any sense. (2) The acting is awful.
On (1), I really don't mean to nitpick on historical minutiae---hell, I'd be happy to suspend disbelief for two hours on stuff such as Lincoln's assassination, Mayan treasures, Mount Rushmore geography, and all that other nonsense. No problem there. But the point of a treasure hunt movie is the ability to follow the main character in his struggle, perhaps struggle with him, see him figure things out and perhaps guess with him. For this to work, the universe of the movie doesn't have to be consistent with the world we live in, but it has to be consistent with itself. But the universe of this movie is like a great big fairy tale, with the central character pulling white rabbits out of his sleeve whenever he needs them. Yes, the movie tries its hand at some drama, but it just doesn't work. Things go pretty smoothly for the most part---into the Queen's office, out of it again, oops, we are being chased, heck, let's take a photo, oh no camera, ah, there is a traffic camera, yep and by the way, can you just hack into the computer and download the pic, and on to the next event (same thing with the oval office, then kidnapping the president). While the hero thus McGyvers his way through an increasingly preposterous story, the whole thing just starts to feel stale, and you get the feeling that it might have been better if he had not stolen the Constitution in part 1, so the writers would not have to top this. The villain is lame and for the most part useless, not to speak of somewhat incoherent ("I am not going last, so I might as well go first"---say what?).
None of the story really makes the slightest bit of sense, including the motivation of the hero (to clear the name of his great-great-grandfather---that's why he risks his life, the life of friends and loved ones, not to speak of his own good name by kidnapping a president!). It's all just a steaming pile of nonsense aimed at people who really do not give a damn about story and stuff, but who just want to see a lot of movement/action, high-tech gobbledygook, explosions, and cheap patriotism.
However, as bad as the story was, (2), the bad acting was even worse. Everybody in this movie was disappointing, even a non-actor like Kruger. Her career should end with this movie, over, out, finito. She cannot do it, and it's not been for a lack of opportunity. If you had a consistent record of failure like hers in any regular job, you'd find yourself with a lot of spare time very soon. But even the real actors here just make you cringe---Greenwood, Harris, Mirren, Voight, they all deliver horrible performances that seem to betray their lack of passion and their paycheck mentality. We know they *can* act, we have seen it before, but they just don't in this movie. Keitel comes away without much harm---his part is so tiny, there just isn't a lot of opportunity to screw things up too badly.
Why oh why do they keep making this fluff? Because for some reason we attend it. We go there, drop our cash, and watch this nonsense. I am guilty as charged. But if you haven't seen it, you and your money can still make a difference. Watch a good movie. There are plenty out there.
There are a select few individuals out there that seem to garner
everything they know about life from movies, be it political
viewpoints, philosophy, etc. and find it objectionable when a movie is
produced purely for entertainment purposes. I can't speak for everyone,
but as for myself, I don't want to have to pay to have yet another
political viewpoint shoved down my throat (CNN/Foxnews broadcasts 24/7
for that), or to be beaten over the head with with the life philosophy
of some bazillionaire producer/director that lives in the Ivory Tower
that is Hollywood. I can read Zarathustra, the Tao Tse Ching, or even
the Bible for that.
When I go to see a movie, I just wan to be entertained, and National Treasure BoS delivers there. Not the best movie I have ever seen, but it was an entertaining escape from reality for two hours and that it was I pay my money for. For me, the best part of the movie wasn't Nic Cage. He has done so many movies, it seems like he has gotten to the point where he is just punching the clock. He doesn't stand out on film, but he isn't horrible either and that is what we get from him here - a very pedestrian workmanlike performance. I would like to think he has another touchstone performance in him like the one he gave in "Leaving Las Vegas", but if he can still keep getting several million per movie just being average, why put in the effort. Diane Kruger was also pretty average. She shined in the first movie, but not so much here.
For me, John Voight, Justin Bartha and Helen Mirren were what made the movie good. John Voight was great. His character was both funny and endearing and the synergy between him and Mirren was palpable. Mirren showed once again why she is arguably the best actress in the business. Justin Bartha was a scene stealer and had some of the funniest lines (along with Voight).
National Treasure: Book of Secrets is a decent film. Nothing more,
nothing less. I came out of the theater content, and yet by the next
hour I'd forgotten much of what had taken place. Such is the case for
most films now, however.
Compared to the first film, the plot is weak (certainly not as tightly drawn as the former) but the energy is the same and the humor is the same, and overall it's still as watchable as the first. Helen Mirren and Ed Harris were also very good, and somewhat surprising, additions to the cast.
Essentially, the movie is on the ridiculous/unbelievable side, but it's worth a watch. I don't think I'd pay another 10 dollars to see it again in theaters, but waiting for a rental will do.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
*****Spoiler Ahead STOP Now*****
This was a classic case of sequel trying to live off the fervor of the original but had gone bad in horrible ways.
So if you want to view this pathetic excuse for a movie stop reading now, go see it, then finish this slash and burn review.
The movie speed was a dreadful snooze for many minutes at a time. I found myself actually more entertained looking around the theater to see if other people were doing the same.
The story started out plausible and there may even be a tiniest shred of actual history to support the artistic privileges the story writers embarked on. Let me think.. Lincolns assassination and a letter from the French to the Confederate Union, 3 statues of Liberty, 2 identical desks (Oval office and in the Queens of England's Office), and Mount Rushmore _IS_ located in South Dakota and not in South America.
I have a SERIOUS beef with this Disney Production on that last one. Everybody who watched this movie left there dumber than they entered. The gullible people out there probably think there is a lake on the top (or within walking distance of the top) of Mount Rushmore. Even WORSE people may actually believe that an ancient Mayan culture lived in South Dakota, built caverns, and then transported and lined them with tons of gold. Sure why not, it's a movie!
The story leaped from Dad's house, to the Gates' mansion, to Paris, to London, to University of Maryland, to the White House, to a Presidential retreat, to the Library of Congress, to Mount Rushmore, to a Lake *on* Mount Rushmore... all seemingly in a span of a day or two. I guess it is technically possible to zip around the world like that but jet lag would have surely taken its toll... yet everybody seemed fine. The one place they did not get even remotely close to was South America. Hello! The major story line leaned heavily on the Mayan civilization. WTF?
Seems the story writers (perhaps in response to the critics) wanted to liven up the snooze screen play so they injected a ridiculous car chase. Complete with self repairing cars, drifting sequences, bullets at point blank range that hit everything but the target, and my new favorite... using the red light camera to take a photo (then getting that photo back later) of Mayan writing at high speeds. Yeah... right.
Ed Harris should have stayed out of this one. His performance mechanics were fine but the story writers simply didn't know what to do with him. Seemed as if the original plot had him doing more but huge chunks of character development were left on the cutting room floor.. well, we can hope that. This might have been the best the writers could have mustered.
Abigale was useless. Oh, she had her 60 seconds of lines but that was about it. The story writers made a horribly obvious "fix" to the story using her. She just magically appeared in the right place (she was in the States earlier) and the right time without any coordination to help Benjamen sneak into the Queens office. Plausibility... Zero.
Riley was cute and lovable as before. The writers tried overly hard to capitalize on this comedic charm. What the heck... he's pretty handy with an IPod and a laptop.
Benjamen, as a positive role model for a _Disney_ film, should go to jail. Let's count the offenses: Speeding, reckless driving, theft, trespassing, destruction of property, conspiracy to kidnap, and kidnapping. Disney thinks this is all fine since he's the "hero" after all. Thanks Disney!
I have no idea why the Feds were in this film. They didn't do anything until the very end... but that was only after Benjamen called them.
The "book" was a pathetic story prop. They could have used a spoon or pile of play dough. If only the book had been used throughout the movie... Nope, that would take real story writing skills.
Nitpicks... 1) I doubt "duplicated" cell phones really allow you to receive a call in two locations at once. 2) The story title "Book of Secrets" relates to a book that had a total of 30 seconds relevance (I am being generous here) to the whole story. 3) Cliché, the bad guys hijack ridiculous vehicles in a high speed chase. In this case a truck loaded with kegs of beer. 4) Security in the Queens Office seems laughable. Just walk in, take what you want and walk out. 5) Riley can remotely unlock security gates and set off fire alarms from a restroom. Seems the Disney group has a low opinion of British security. 6) Riley also has super human strength. He picked up a block of gold and by the look of it should have been about 400lbs. 7) Cliché, "let's turn this spinner/lever thing and see what happens"... not once.. but 5 freaking times.... yawn. 8) Hey.. didn't they have one of those rolling doors in Indiana Jones? 9) Oh sh*t we're all going to drown... panic!!! Let's all go to the lowest point in this crisis and speed up the drownings. What's that? A glimpse of sunlight from above? How about treading water until things fill up so you can walk out. Nope can't do that. Got to have another unnecessary plot complication to wipe out the useless bad guy.
Summing up. The "National Treasure: Book of Secrets" will join the ranks of sequel movie blunders. Story writers never made clear why chasing after this lost city of gold would prove that Gate's great great grandfather was not a Confederate collaborator. WTF is up with this lake on Rushmore and this Mayan culture. Generally, the story was fragmented, slow, clichés everywhere, gross leaps from plausibility, and a disgustingly irresponsible display of story telling by Disney.
Safe fun entertainment where people don't get killed, just cars and so forth. The thrills and chills are little less potent, the jokes a bit too cute, and Ed Harris' character is a little ambiguous by the end as if Harris is getting a little tired of the stereotype he has played in movie after movie. There is some drama, though perhaps not enough and the funny comedy doesn't always seem to balance the adventure aspect. Overall, though the movie was enjoyable, fun, a thrill ride if not completely transporting into the Indiana Jones realm. Boring it was not, but a bit manipulative, not as edgy, not as dramatic as it could have been. A nice way to keep the Christmas winter blues away in the end. Seven out of Ten Stars.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
There's so much wrong about this pitiful film I don't know where to
start! As an adult, I found National Treasure: Book of Secrets the most
boring movie I have seen on the big screen all year. I had to use every
ounce of will power not to walk out of the theater and demand my money
Before the movie even started, I was forced to sit through an infuriatingly dopey Disney cartoon, which was nothing more than a not-so-subtle commercial for expensive T.V. and stereo equipment. It went on and on and on. Finally I had to close my eyes in order not to get overly aggravated! Wow! How low Disney has sunk to make a buck.
The story was written to the level of a 10 year old! There's close to nothing to entertain an adult. It's a blatant and poorly done rip-off of Raiders of the Lost Ark.
I can deal with a story that's preposterous if it's enjoyable. But kidnapping the president by walking him through a tunnel. How exciting! Finding a Central or South American city hidden thousands of miles away in the Badlands of South Dakota! Yikes!, how insulting to all the Plains Indian tribes can you get? Or, how dumb do you think the American movie going audience is? Can at least a modicum of reality seep into the story?
The special affects are so trite! The props look so fake that I thought they were using an amusement park to film this movie. I was waiting for a water slide to show up any moment!
The acting was pitiful! Nicholas Cage had such a painful look throughout the movie I though he must either be embarrassed or ashamed of himself for stooping so low. I realize actors need to make a living. But he, of all people, can pick and choose his film projects.
The only good thing I could think of is the scene with President and a cameo of a Hillary Clinton look-alike at the President's birthday party. Since the Hillary cameo was having such a good time at the party, it can be assumed the Democrats won the 2008 election!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Disney and Jerry Bruckheimer have dived yet again into their secret
book to pull out a map that leads to treasures of vast fortune. No, not
a legendary city of gold, but the riches that come from storming the
box office. National Treasure: Book of Secrets is everything a big
budget adventure sequel should be. A bigger story and better action
help make Book of Secrets a surprising end of the year crowd pleaser.
Setting out to clear his ancestor's name, Ben Gates is back in treasure-hunting action to unequivocally prove that his family had nothing to do with the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. With his usual cohorts Riley, Abigail and his father, Patrick Gates, the trio must race against the clock to stop a new enemy, Mitch Wilkinson, from uncovering an ancient treasure before they can, or forever risk the Gates name being associated with the death of one of America's greatest presidents.
A hit for Nicholas Cage has been long overdue. Spanning nearly two full years making dud after dud, Cage is back and in good form, even if a sequel to the massively successful National Treasure was a safe no-brainer. Book of Secrets is just as outlandishly fun as its predecessor, one-upping the original by having the principle characters break into Buckingham Palace and even kidnap the President of the United States! Kudos have to be handed over to screenwriters Cormac and Marianne Wibberley for crafting such a big adventure, yet staying true to the themes that director John Turtletaub and company established with the first National Treasure. Even though their new adventure takes the entourage of talented character actor's across the globe, Book of Secrets manages to keep this treasure hunt a uniquely American tale. Just wait until you see where our government hid one of the most famed and sought after treasures of all time! Upping the production value from the last film, Book of Secrets is crammed packed with puzzles, car chases and exciting action sequences to help keep the film filled with riveting adventure from opening to closing frame. John Turtletaub has again done a great job of keeping the manic pace of the film frantic and fun, even if there are a few solitary moments when the picture starts to feel the weight of its lengthy running time.
While the returning cast again does a stellar job continuing their characters, newcomers to the series Ed Harris and Hellen Mirren are welcomed additions to the story. While Harris is perfectly suited for the role, his character, Mitch Wilkinson, seems to be the only weak link to the story. Wilkinson seems like a very torn individual. One minute the dastardly villain is opening fire on our heroes, vowing to end their lives to get at the treasure, and the next he is helping them! Luckily the picture's best moments don't hinge on confrontations between Cage and Harris. The real fun of National Treasure has always been watching as the characters solve some of history's most challenging puzzles. Book of Secrets is assuredly no different, keeping audiences on their toes and tantalizing them with conspiracy theories that will likely continue the franchise forward.
Between massive Pirate's plunder and uncovering buried National Treasure, 2007 aims to be a financially lucrative year for Disney's live action department. With surprises at every turn, Book of Secrets has established National Treasure as a viable and fun adventure franchise, making the film a must see holiday blockbuster that the whole family can enjoy.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
National Treasure: Book of Secrets will always be known as the film
that prevented Helen Mirren from meeting Queen Elizabeth after the
success of The Queen. I mean really, I would have made the same choice,
because this film is truly high art. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the
first installment for its poor-man's Indiana Jones feel mixed with
glossy effects and convoluted plot lines (Bruckheimerisms as I like to
call them) and for the most part had fun with this one. Well that is
until the discovery was complete, then the film just dragged on and on
for what seemed like hours. This is a Disney film people, you know they
will find the treasure and all will be well with the world. Therefore,
all the intrigue and the discoveries to find the location of their
desire, complete with massively annoying cross cuts between four
different locales and ten different characters every five minutes, was
totally subverted by the ending's adventure nonsense with no stakes
because we all know how it would turn out. There were two things going
for it though, I became real nostalgic for "Legends of the Hidden
Temple" and found out that yes, Lyle Lovett is still alive.
I give director Jon Turteltaub and screenwriters The Wibberleys credit for coming up with some real interesting set pieces and situations for our adventurers to partake in. Weaving the Lincoln assassination with ancient Native American lore and United States historical mythology and rumor is quite a feat and it is successfully handled in my opinion. What goes wrong here is the whole mentality that sequels need to be bigger and better. The first film achieved a sort of balance with its amount of characters, but this one just goes too far. We have to now work in the President and our hero's mother, who just happens to be one of a handful of people that can decipher the language needed to complete their quest, not to mention throwing Harvey Keitel a bone by giving him five minutes of screen time just so we have continuity with a friendship from the previous story. Honestly, while I enjoyed National Treasure, I never asked for a part two, and I don't think too many people did. Unfortunately, however, it appears we will probably be seeing a part three in the future if the setup here means anything.
The movie is if nothing else a good time. I admit to being a big Nicolas Cage fan and enjoy his over-the-top shenanigansthey are in full force here and I loved the scene at Buckingham Palace that showcased them. Also, Justin Bartha is priceless as the hapless and under-appreciated partner. His expressions and one-liners really add a much-needed dimension here. The rest of the cast is adequate if very underused. There are a lot of familiar faces with thankless roles and many famous ones with little to do. Diane Kruger looks gorgeous as usual, but her role is more female in distress than really adding anything necessary to finding the treasure, unless you count watering rocks.
So, in the end, this film is going to be huge regardless of quality. If you liked the first, you will have a good time. It is not an Oscar winner or any Nobel Prize winning commentary, it's just a good old-fashioned mindless romp. As far as action/adventure goes, you could do much worse. With some great laughs and some really fascinating connections from history, you may actually learn something on the journey. Never preaching its intelligence, you are allowed to glean nuggets of truth at the same time as the characters that are still in the dark do. Fun is fun, and as far as that goes this one succeeds, despite the fact that it doesn't in any other cinematic category.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I'm generally a fan of these kinds of topics that include history and
some puzzle riddles. I enjoyed reading Da Vinci Code and a variety of
Clive Cussler/James Rollins books. I also saw the first National
Treasure and though I wasn't thrilled, it wasn't a horrible movie.
*SPOILER WARNING* Then Disney had to do a sequel.
The good: As pretty much everyone has mentioned, the best part was the Goofy cartoon. Truth be told, the concept of hunting for Cibola was a decent concept too. I'll also give Helen Mirren some props for being a bit of an interesting character.
The bad: The problems I had with the first National Treasure are even more prevalent in this one. Here you have a father (Voight), son (Cage), and a museum curator (Kruger) all for protecting history and yet have a habit of destroying historical artifacts. Fold up the Declaration of Independence? Sure. Throw an example of rare Native American hieroglyphs into the river? Yep, you bet.
Of course, before tossing the hieroglyphs, it took a 5+ minute car chase where _nothing_ happens except repeated shots of a certain automobile maker's logo being pictured on every single turn and captured by the traffic camera.
Also, it makes me feel safe knowing that the Queen's study, the Oval Office and the Library of Congress are so easy to break into. And if I ever get the chance to kidnap the president, it's nice to know he's the kind of guy who will allow me unescorted and unrestricted access to see the nation's secrets. Yep, that "Book of Secrets", the title of the movie, takes up as much screen (and plot time) as the opening credits... and much less than the car chase. But it provides a convenient segue to a sequel around page 47 of the book of secrets. Maybe it was the plot summary? So now, off to Mt. Rushmore which was built to obscure some landmarks (which weren't hinted at in any of the clues) on a map (which also wasn't in any of the clues, nor found)... OK, so our intrepid adventurers are in the middle of the Black Hills, though it's not quite clear whether they're actually on top of Mt. Rushmore or not. Let's assume they are on Mt. Rushmore, narrowing the search area from around 600 sq miles (the area of the Black Hills) to Mt. Rushmore which is a few square miles. So, they become enlightened when they realize water turns rocks darker... (not to mention clothes, and pretty much everything else) Lo and behold, they happen to find the exact spot. Some puzzle solving, huh? They're now on their way to Cibola. (That's assuming, of course, that no one had read a 6th grade history textbook about how Cibola wasn't that far north).
Then, after some funky physics on a huge stone platform built inside a carved-out mountain by Stone Age tech Native Americans, a bit of flooding, one of our "defenders of history" rips up a 5 ft by 5 ft gold brick out of the ground _with_one_hand_ and tosses it in his backpack.
Seriously, this movie made Sahara look plausible (even if you hadn't read the book).
Enough about the plot... as far as acting goes, I remember a time when Nicholas Cage was the future of acting. I just don't see how a guy can go from 8mm or Lord of War, to movies like this and Ghost Rider. You could almost hear the drum roll before and after Justin Bartha delivered one of his zillion one-liners, but it was pretty silent. Kruger's character behaves exactly opposite of how an educated lady who has an ex-boyfriend break into her house should... then again, considering how roughly she treated the Declaration of Independence in the first movie, I shouldn't be surprised about her make-out session on the floor of the Oval Office. The one I feel worst for is Ed Harris, whose character had multiple personalities and all of them were bland. It was almost like the writers were trying so hard not to use a villain similar to the first National Treasure... but then they'd occasionally realize they needed a villain to keep the plot moving. Ed Harris should know better than to take these kinds of roles... maybe that's why he dropped his accent by the end of the movie.
If you made it this far, perhaps you think I obsessed too much about the plot holes, the blatant disrespect of historical artifacts. That should be a sign that the movie did not catch my attention. Hey, the movie "300" isn't historically accurate, but not only was it entertaining, it also didn't try to pass itself off as legit with monsters and golden-skinned Persian emperors.
The scary thing about a movie like National Treasure 2 is that people will watch it and think that's how historians, archaeologists and even private treasure hunters act. They'll probably spout off the same cliché one-liners too.
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