National Treasure: Book Of Secrets (2007) Synopsis:
Sequel to Nicolas Cage masonic gold hunt adventure. This time it revolve around Abraham Lincoln and John Wilkes Booth and the 18 pages which are actually missing from Booth’s diary. And of course what could be in those pages that are of importance of some kind.
National Treasure: Book Of Secrets (2007) Review:
Abraham Lincolns assassination triggers the events taking place in National Treasure: Book of Secrets, a fast-paced sequel which should appeal to adventure fans of all ages. Happily, the major parties from the popular first movie return, and two new intriguing characters — played by Helen Mirren and Ed Harris — join the exciting hunt for a treasure that just might clear a falsely accused man.
This time, Nicolas Cage fits even more snugly into the role of Ben Gates, the worlds most famous treasure hunter — or treasure protector, as Ben prefers being called. Cage obviously enjoys portraying Ben, probably because this man is definitely NOT a one-note hero. Ben is an extreme square in that he doesnt drink or smoke and sees things very clearly in terms of what is right and isnt right, Cage says. The paradox is that hes a criminal of sorts, but in a good way.
Bens criminality in the original National Treasure movie involved stealing the Declaration of Independence (for the treasure map hidden on the back of this historic document). However, he tops that in Book of Secrets with his plans to kidnap (?) the President of the United States and break into Buckingham Palace. Drastic actions indeed, but Bens goal is to prove the innocence of his ancestor, Thomas Gates, whos been accused of being a co-conspirator in President Lincolns assassination.
Helping Ben with this mission are: his amusing techie pal Riley Poole (Justin Bartha); his sexy ex-girlfriend Abigail Chase (Diane Kruger), an American History archivist; his quick-tempered father, Professor Patrick Gates (Jon Voight); and his out-spoken mother, Dr. Emily Appleton (Helen Mirren), whos an expert in linguistics. To complicate matters, Mitch Wilkinson (Ed Harris), the man making the accusation against Thomas Gates, follows our heros every move. Clearly, the sinister Wilkinson has an agenda of his own, and Harris succeeds quite well in projecting the kind of evil we expect from bad guys in movies like this.
Mirren and Voight provide much of the fun in Book of Secrets as their characters bicker constantly about whos responsible for their divorce and longtime estrangement. These two outstanding actors know how important it is to re-act to others, not simply say their lines. Id love to see them play opposite each other in the starring roles of a film: clearly, this pair could be great together in either a drama or a comedy. (You cant blame a movie fan for dreaming.)
Another highlight of this sequel comes toward the end of the film — and, thanks to production designer Dominic Watkins, its a stunner! When our treasure hunters enter a cavern below Mount Rushmore, one of their obstacles involves balancing themselves on a huge platform — the seesaw from Hell, according to producer Jerry Bruckheimer — and if they dont work together as a team, its curtains for everyone, even the villain. I couldnt help holding my breath while watching this suspenseful set piece.
Book of Secrets, directed by Jon Turteltaub, falters in only two of its action efforts: a car-chase that goes on so long you feel like youre at a race track instead of in the multiplex, and a drowning sequence so confusing its difficult to tell what actually happened. Better editing in both cases wouldve helped considerably. Still, everything else works for me, and Im happy to recommend this sequel, especially to viewers who enjoy escapist entertainment. And, hey, who knows? Book of Secrets might motivate some youngsters to take a greater interest in American history, even if they simply want to discover whats true and/or false in the National Treasure films.