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It's a measure of how much I couldn't give a toss about the "National Treasure" movies that when I finally sat down to watch "Book of Secrets" on a dreary Sunday afternoon, I didn't even know this was the sequel.
But - I thoroughly enjoyed it. Reading reviews afterward, I saw it got a pretty cheerless reception, and I'm surprised - it's decent, unthreathening family fun. Drawing together elements of the Indiana Jones movies as well as the Da Vinci Code, plus a little bit of the abortive Lara Croft series, it actually reminds me more of another under appreciated Disney caper, "One of Our Dinosaurs is Missing". Both films show a cheerful recklessness in piling up improbable situations, although on balance, "Book of Secrets" is probably more far fetched.
A prologue takes us back to the night of April 14th, 1865 - the night of Abraham Lincoln's assassination. John Wilkes Booth and his cohorts enter a pub and approach reputed cryptologist Thomas Gates to decipher a code in Booth's diary. Gates quickly realizes the code reveals the location of a lost city of gold.
Booth nips off to assassinate Lincoln; in the subsequent pandemonium, Gates is shot - before he dies, he tears the page out of the diary and dumps it in the fire. One of the conspirators retrieves a fragment, and Gates dies, leaving his distraught son with a suitably cryptic message; "The debt that all men pay..."
Skip forward 140 years, and Gates' great-great grandson Ben Gates (Nicolas Cage) is presenting the tale at a conference, only to be interrupted by sinister antiques dealer Mitch Wilkinson (Ed Harris), who presents the shred of rescued paper as evidence that Thomas Gates was in fact a co-conspirator in the president's assassination.
If this all sounds a bit dull so far, don't worry - it'll get started soon, and won't let up for another ninety minutes or so.
Ben Gates and his father Patrick (Jon Voight) are suitably distraught about their ancestor's public de-trousering, and seek out the scrap of paper to look for vital clues. With the help of Ben's irritating tech whizz sidekick Riley (Justin Bartha), a man so nerdish he thinks writing books about conspiracy theories is a sure-fire way to pick up chicks, and Ben's ex Abigail (Diane Krueger), they track down the missing piece.
Luckily, Thomas Gates' skills in cryptology run in the family, and Ben is soon able to spot the cipher and crack it - and before you know it, the gang are off on a globetrotting adventure (well, USA, Paris & London-trotting adventure) to clear Thomas' name and locate the city of gold. Naturally, the dastardly Mitch is in pursuit...
What follows is ludicrous in the extreme, but somehow more fun because of it. Ben Gates is a man so good at solving puzzles that he can pretty much do it on the fly, and then he's off on a plane to find the next piece of the puzzle - which tend to be hidden in rather inaccessible places (the Queen's office in Buckingham Palace; the Oval Office in the White House, for example.)
These obstacles are navigated with remarkable ease and the curse of the modern day blockbuster - the ill-defined use of a "Computer". Riley's Apple laptop is a catch all solution for almost any problem, as well as filling in a few gaps in the story.
The computer is modern cinema's standard deus ex machina - an old fashioned example might be: "The hero is stranded on a plane that's about to crash into a mountain. He looks under his seat and finds a parachute, and leaps to safety."
The modern day equivalent might be: "The hero is stranded on a plane that's about to crash into a mountain. He looks under his seat and finds a laptop, and uses it to hack into the plane's onboard computer and steer it virtually to safety."
This rather lazy involvement of computers reached it's peak relatively early, when Jeff Goldblum used his Apple laptop to hack into a flying saucer and download a virus in "Independence Day" - I know Macs are pretty versatile, but --- really???
Another irritation is the ease in which characters pop up either side of the Atlantic; one moment, Mitch is on the blower under the Statue of Liberty; the next, he appears outside Buckingham Palace in what - I may need to see this a second time - seems to be the same scene of Ben & Co breaking into the Queen's office.
Perhaps they could have borrowed the "red lines" from the Indiana Jones movies - the characters get on a plane or boat, and the line does the traveling for them, linking destination to destination across the map until the line approaches it's final destination; the camera moves in, and the next scene begins. It's an effective and atmospheric approach that conveys a long journey without actually showing Indy eating small meals out of a plastic tray, waiting for the stewardess to pass with her trolley so he can get up to visit the toilet, trying to sleep sitting up, that kind of stuff.
Also, in a lighthearted caper such as this, it would be good to see a more cartoonish performance from Ed Harris - we get a few tight lipped sneers here and there, but he's far too civilized to be a dastardly bad guy in this. We know he can do cartoonish, and do cartoonish well - think back to his feral nutjob Blair Sullivan in "Just Cause", for example.
Here, his Mitch Wilkinson, with his standard issue band of goons to do most of the clobbering and shooting for him, even has a bland motive - he doesn't want to find the lost city of gold so he can nick it; he just wants to go down in history as the man who discovered it.
On the plus side, the plot barely pauses for breath long enough for you to feel bad about how daft this all is, and the standout action sequence is a surprisingly effective car chase through the narrow streets of London, which looks a little like something from "Ronin" or one of the "Bourne" films.
At least, I was finding it pretty effective until I saw the red post box. Until that point, I thought the London scenes were shot on location (they may well have been) - but then I realized we were basically being shown a list of all the things an American tourist might want to see when visiting London - Buckingham Palace, Big Ben - check, check.
Then I started to wonder if the chase sequence might actually be filmed on a backlot in Hollywood, and the set designer never made it as far as the souvenir shop at Heathrow. Here's St Paul's, here's a black cab, there's a red double decker bus - I was waiting to see a beefeater or a pearly king might be seen diving out of the way of the oncoming vehicles.
And it is very American, this film - Nicolas Cage is remarkably restrained, and certainly more engaging than he's been for most of the past decade. But his one trademark outburst of shouty over-acting basically involves him ripping the p*ss out of the English accent, yelling things like "Bangers and Mash" at policemen in an exaggerated dialect that makes Dick Van Dyke sound spot on.
Despite all the annoyances, I kept on enjoying it right through to the end; along the way, we pick up Harvey Keitel as a benign FBI agent, and Helen Mirren as Ben's mum; right through to the extended and rather underwhelming Indy-esque finale in the city of gold itself.
One thing that keeps it going is it's stars - the script is hardly a classic, but everyone involved clearly seems to be committed, and when you get Cage, Harris, Voight, Mirren & Keitel all in one movie and enjoying themselves, these old pros can make any old tat fly.
More enjoyable and coherent than the Lara Croft flicks; less self-important than the Da Vinci Code, "Book of Secrets' - and presumably it's prequel - are good old fashioned family fun, destined for that pre-Queen's speech slot on a Christmas Day near you soon.
(This review originally appeared on Ciao! under my alias Midwinter.)
I was in the mood for something à la Tom Cruise the other day and when I saw that my new Benjamin Gates DVD only had 19 scenes, I was a bit miffed- how much adventure, suspense and mystery could 19 measly scenes pack? I was therefore very much surprised by how gripping these 19 scenes ended up being- maybe even more gripping than longer films. This movie is by no means up to the league of Mission Impossible, nor is it the most realistic ever but the dose of suspense was quite entertaining, and so was the plot intrigue. I really loved the manner in which the plot was woven in such a way that you cannot help but feel really drawn in the way in which the plot incorporates the adventure: Whilst it felt like a mélange of Mission Impossible and Indiana Jones at the beginning of the film, it also ended up being something out of Tomb Raider, making it an even more enjoyable film for me.
I have to admit that this is one of the rare movies where I quite enjoyed Nicholas Cage's performance. Having seen him in films such as City of Angels, I had him pegged as a rather weak and not really convincing actor. However, this film completely transformed the opinion I had of him. He delivered such a fine and convincing performance and seemed completely at ease with his role of adventurer/explorer/researcher. Moreover, there seemed to be some great affinity between Cage and his co-actors and since some of the adventures called for some serious team work, this came across as a very positive point for the film.
Five days after the Civil War, puzzle-solver Thomas Gates is approached by a member of the Knight of the Golden Circle who ends up killing him, slightly after the assassination of President Lincoln. Just before dying, he manages to tell his son, "The debt that all men pay..." This riddle has been passed down from generation to generation. 140 years later, Benjamin Gates has to clear his ancestral name when Thomas Gates is linked to the Presidential assassination. Thomas Gates' riddle is only the first in Ben Gates' new adventure...
As someone who is used to watching romantic comedies most of the time, I have to say that the plot in this film was really captivating: I have some kind of strange fascination with American history and politics and I therefore loved how they manipulated some real-life fragments of American history in the adventure. I think that the special effects were also quite artfully done; I have to admit that the excess of special effects in films such as 2012 kind of put me off such scenes a bit, but the effects in Book of Secrets were neither too little nor overdone. Also, the plot included some emotional dimension which created some nice breaks when the riddles and mysteries got a bit too heavy.
Nicolas Cage as Benjamin Gates
Jon Voight as Patrick Gates
Justin Bartha as Riley Poole
Diane Kruger as Dr Abigail Chase
Ed Harris as Mitch Wilkinson
Harvey Keitel as FBI Agent
Helen Mirren as Dr Appleton
Bruce Greenwood as The President
The Director's Commentary was quite boring for me, quite honestly. But the deleted scenes were nice- even if the reasons behind which they were deleted are quite obvious! However, the Featurettes are quite fun, entertaining and light-hearted to watch, and this is what I would recommend the most in the Extras.
Overall, this might not be the most realistic movie ever but it provided some nice adventures and riddles. The acting was fantastic and the film flew really, really smoothly. Very highly recommended indeed!
~Thanks for reading~
I really enjoyed the first national treasure so I was excited to see the sequel. I like that it's a modern family friendly Indiana Jones-esque film. But both films suffer from the same problem, they're America-centric. Since its an American film you can kind of forgive them, however having a story line based on history, America is not the best place to be based. America has a very short history when compared with Europe, in fact when you go so far back their history just becomes English history. It makes very little sense in this case to act like the world revolves around America in this way. But either way we have a nice action packed sequel here.
The cast is good but watch out for the terrible attempts at sarcasm, this was present in the first movie too. I also cringed at Nicolas Cages attempt at a British accent in Buckingham palace, even though he was doing it in gest.
The story line is good but not as good as the first film. It keeps you guessing and if you're a history buff its fun to see how inaccurate their facts are made to fit the storyline.
The film comes on 1 disc with audio commentary from director Jon Turteltaub and Jon Voight.
I watched this film this afternoon on BBC so it is a review of the film and not the dvd.
I had enjoyed the first National Treasure film a lot so was looking forward to seeing this today and I wasn't disappointed. It was exciting and full of adventure.
When Ben Gates is giving a lecture about the assassination of Abraham Lincoln a man called Mitch Wilkinson comes forward with what looks like evidence that Ben's ancestor was linked to the assassination Ben and his father decide to prove that the evidence isn't true and along with Ben's wife Abigail and writer Riley Poole they go off to find clues to what happened. On searching they find that the clues are also leading them to a lost City of Gold and then find they are not the only ones searching for it.
The story has lots of clues to solve and the things they end up looking for are in the most weird places that lead them into all sorts of trouble. The story was told in such a way though that you could immerse yourself in it and totally believe that these items and clues were in fact in the places where they found them and they gave us really inventive ways of reaching them too.
I loved it later in the film when they ended up trying to get through traps etc., it reminded me so much of the Tomb Raider games which I like a lot.
Nicholas Cage was once again brilliant as Ben Gates. I really enjoyed watching his character. Diane Kruger played Abigail who he met in the first film and is now his wife although they are estranged at the beginning of the film. Also in this film from the first is Ben's friend the write Riley Poole who is played by Justin Bartha. He is a really funny character and I couldn't help laugh at some of the things he did. John Voight once again plays Ben's father Patrick and this time Helen Mirren appears as Ben's mother Emily.
Also appearing in the film are Harvey Keitel as Sadusky, Ed Harris as Mitch Wilkinson and Bruce Greenwood as The President.
I really enjoyed this film and so did my 14 year old daughter and 10 year old grandson, it was the kind of film where you wanted to cheer when they finished.
The film was directed by Jon Turteltaub and it is rated a PG in the UK. It lasts for 124 minutes.
National Treasure - Book Of Secrets
Movie Length: 125 minutes
Director: Jon Turteltaub
Country: United States
Nicholas Cage as Benjamin Franklin Gates
Justin Bartha as Riley Poole
Diane Kruger as Abigail Chase
Jon Voight as Patrick Gates Hengry
This is the second part in the National Treasure series and in the first part Benjamin, Riley and Abigail finds a great treasure by following clues to solve. However this time it's all about saving the families reputation after Mitch Wilkinson accuses the grand grand grandfather of Benjamin of involvement in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. This all because founded a page of an old diary which indicates his involvement. Ben and his father have the difficult task to prove the innocent of their grand grand grandfather. Along with Riley Poole and Abigail Chase they go on a treasure quest to prove the opposite. They even break into the office of the President and they even break into Buckingham Palace in England! Will they manage to find the proof that the grandfather had nothing to do with the assassination?
Same actors from the first film are back in this sequel and it seems very easy for the actors to return to play the same role. The performances are fine again and I have really nothing to criticize. Nicholas Cage stars as Ben Gates at the forefront in the quest to prove the innocent of the grandfather. This film is more about the action, but some scenes look to easy done, like the break in at the palace. This also affects the credibility of the film and Nicholas Cage come across less convincing. Justin Bartha plays Riley Poole and helps Ben in his quest. He is funny and nicely which makes the film light at a few moments. Jon Voight plays the father of Ben and is just one who is more cautious. He sets a great performance.
There are a number of extras on the DVD including commentary from the director and actor Jon Voight. They talk about how the film was made and the problems they encountered during filming. Quite informative and fun to listen if you like the movie enough. Another extra are deleted scenes, but after watching the scenes you understand why they didn't make the movie. Not really worth watching it. Also there are some little extras on the DVD as bloopers. There is also an extra on where the actors talk about how it was to return the same character.
The film unfortunately fails and it is clear that the film was made for the money and not for passion. Thus it isn't like the series of Harry Potter where you can clearly see that they put much effort in getting the story across and make each original. No, this movie is just the same as the first film only this time they try to make it more interesting to do so by going to England and even abducting the president. More action, but that makes the movie certainly does not credible which is a pity. The great thing about this movie is the clues that they have to solve and the acting is ok. So you're able to watch the movie, but just do not expect too much.
I watched the first National treasure film and absolutely loved it. Therefore I thought I'd try the 2nd film as well. I'm not a major fan of Nicholas cage in alot of films he appears in, but in this particular film and it's predecessor he is fantastic. If you like the Indiana Jones films and adventure and action movies then you will love this. It is action packed from the start and keeps the plot moving the whole way along. The characters in the film also bring it alive and keep you interested in what's going on and their development the whole way along. I am not normally entrhalled by films and get bored fairly quickly but would recommend this to anyone as a great Christmas present or birthday present. The film is probably not suitable for very young children but is great for most age groups young to old respectively
After the first National Treasure film was a surprise hit and grossed almost $350m at the box office worldwide, it was a no-brainer that a sequel would come about, and amazing enough, the sequel managed to gross $457m worldwide, ensuring that yes, we will see a third film in the series too. Nevertheless, Book of Secrets is a fun thrill-ride that's tailor made for the Summer audience, and what it lacks in brains it more than compensates with fun action and an impressive production design.
It won't win any prizes for originality, though, because it recycles the premise from the first film, wherein our hero, Ben Gates (Nicolas Cage) is this time fighting to defend the honour of his family name. When a black market seller, Mitch Wilkinson (Ed Harris), claims to have the missing page of John Wilkes Booth's diary, which indicts Gates's ancestor as complicit in the Lincoln assassination, so Ben heads out to try and disprove this, with the expected adventures, fun and frolics.
Probably most enticing about this film is its cast; strangely it has Helen Mirren making a brief appearance as Ben's mother, Dr. Emily Appleton, and Cage is good fun in the lead role. Also Jon Voight is clearly having fun as his father. Although it is totally undemanding as cinema, it provides more than the necessary quota of thrills for a Summer film, and entertains accordingly. It's lightweight and that's exactly what it intends to be, and what its core audience wants: this is unchallenging but agreeably so. It has a real sense of fun like Disney has rarely felt in the last few years, and so it's not much of a surprise that audiences took to it like they did.
Nick Cage is back in as Ben Gates a treasure hunter in search of the truth on the assassination of president Licoln. While giving a lecture on the assassination Gate is publically confronted by Mitch Wilkinson (Ed Harris) and states that there is a missing page from the diary of John Wilkes Booth that clearly states that Gates' ancestor is directly linked in the plot. This leads to a global mission to find the truth and for Gates to pove his ancestor's innocence.
If you have seen the first film and enjoyed it then I recommend you to see this one as it very similar in terms of the style. This film brought me the same laughs I had with the first with the same humour that all the family can enjoy along with some clean humour perhaps only adults would understand. The film also has the same cheesyness that the first had, which isn't a killer to the film at all. Again the film isn't a major box office hit but it does fill your time and entertain you throughout.
I like the chemistry that is brought back to the film with Gates and Riley, with Gates taking the lead and Riley who seems like a moron but always comes up trumps with clever conclusions.
This film met all my expectations I had after seeing the first and is a good honest family film. The film doesn't really bring much more in the way of new material, it is very similar to the first just with a different case. The tension is the same in the way that Gates is always 1 step ahead of his pursuers who are directly behind his lead. These two didn't really phase me much as you know what you are getting with Disney and perhaps I am just a sucker for a sequal.
I think the only other problem people may find with the character of Gates is he is very know-it-all and seems to have all the right answers, but I think the way this is overcome is by the split between Ben and his partner Abigail (who he met in the first film). The relationship seems to have broken up due to Ben's constant effort and comitment to his work and not his girlfriend, I think this adds a bit of realism to the film as it highlights Ben's flaws.
As with the first I think the acting in this film was spot on and that there was a good chemistry between all the actors, which helped make the film believable. Also the locations and scenes were really good, especially when in Buckingham Palace, and I thought the argument in the palace between Ben and Abigail was really funny and clever.
In all I personally really liked this movie but I think those people who are expecting much more from the first will be disappointed, due to the very similar storyline. The film is on for just shy of two hours and if you are looking for a good family fun film then this film will fulfil your entertainment needs. Also the film boasts a good cast with excellent chemistry that will keep you chuckling throughout. Although the film could have done with a bit more depth and a change of direction from the first I don't think this is a particular killer for this movie at all.
After loving the first National treasure I was really looking forward to seeing this sequel, unfortunately both me and hubby were both left very disappointed.
The film again stars Nicholas Cage who is playing the role of Benjamin Franklin Gates who is still a treasure hunter and following on from the end of the first film he has now split up from his girlfriend and is living with his Dad. He is giving a presentation which involves his talking about the death of president Lincoln when at the end a man stands up and has proof that Benjamin's great great Grandfather was in fact involved in the assassination plot and not one of the men who tried to save him.
Benjamin and his Father try to investigate this claim and with the help of their old friend who helped find the treasure in the first film and reluctantly agreeing to let his ex-girlfriend help they set about discovering the truth and also along the way finding the book of treasures.
Benjamin finds he has to overcome a lot to get his answers including getting to see and investigate the Queens desk in Buckingham Palace and kidnapping the President in order to get to talk to him. Will Benjamin be able to solved the clues to the real murderers of Lincoln and will he be able to find the book of secrets and the treasure which to book is hiding?
Now don't get me wrong the film was OK but there was just nothing new from the first. The story was basically the same with Benjamin trying to find clues to find the hiding place of the gold. The baddy was always close behind him and then he did something very bad which resulted in the FBI and police also chasing him. This is exactly what happened in the first film. I was expecting the plot to take a slightly different turn to give the film a different edge and take it away slightly from the first.
Nicholas Cage was again very good in his role of Benjamin Gates and his character was very believable. The other supporting actors and actresses were also very good and they all worked well together. I though that there was good chemistry between them all and liked how Benjamin and his ex-girlfriend were always arguing!
The film did seem quite far fetched at times especially when they managed to sneak into Buckingham Palace as that would just be impossible and I did find it made us look very stupid at not having the correct security in place to stop this. I also found I learnt something from this film as I was not aware of there being 3 Statues of Liberty and found that quite interesting.
The effects in the film were very good and I cannot fault the film for this. I found that a lot of time and detail was done on them all and they did look very realistic and effective. Again with this film just like the first the soundtrack was nothing amazing and none of the song really stood out for me. I thought that all the tracks were appropriate for the places which they were used.
One good part of this film for me was the character of Benjamin Gates mom who was played by Dame Helen Mirren as do like her as an actress and found that she did bring something to the film and added a little bit more depth to the story.
I am disappointed with this film and have to say that I just lost complete interest with t after the first half hour and soon was going off and doing different things and still found I was able to follow the film when I came back to it. Hubby says he felt the same as well and to put it politely said it was a load of crap after the first!
The DVD does have a bit of bonus material which includes:-
Audio Commentary - Join Director Jon Turtelaub and Actor Jon Vought (Patrick Gates) for this feature commentary.
This film left no good impression on me so I did not take the time to watch this feature.
I am pleased to say that I only paid £5 for this DVD as I would have been cross if I would have paid more. It is available for this price in Tesco.
The running time for the film is 119 minutes and it has a certificate of PG as it does contain mild violence and threat. I do agree with this rating. I do not recommend this film as it is not a patch on the first and I feel that it will definitely disappoint viewers.
This is the sequel to the popular film 'National Treasure' in 2004. This film centres around uncovering the truth behind the assasination of Abraham Lincoln by using clues from the missing pages of John Wilkes Booth's (his assasin) diary. Nicolas Cage stars as treasure hunter Benjamin Gates who also seeks to clear his family name who are implicated in the plot.
So basically this involves: solving clues and puzzles, code breaking, secrets, maps, hidden rooms, car chases, guns, taking people prisoner, narrow escapes, some comedic moments and the obligatory baddie.
It has an impressive cast, along with Cage this film also stars: Diane Kruger (love interest and not annoying as most women in action films are - she actually gets involved), Jon Voight (impressive as gets involved in the action scenes), Helen Mirren (stereotypical English character but well acted), Ed Harris (always good), and Harvey Keitel (has stage presence and charm even in an action movie!)
But that brings me to Cage; I just don't see his appeal. He's not good looking and he can't act - unless raising eyebrows and pulling over the top facial expressions counts as acting.
The film contains a lot of corny dialogue as well and watch with an open mind, it is incredible how much they get away with without being arrested - such as breaking into the Queen's private study and being able to search the Oval office - I suspect security is a bit tighter then this film had us believe.
But suspend belief! If you watch this film, you don't watch it for incredible (or credible) acting or plausible storylines. You get what you ask for - an hour and a half of pure fun. It's entertainment. I liked the action scenes and especially watching them crack codes and solve puzzles. I especially liked the connections to politics and history - it just made it all the more interesting and you just want them to find the treasure!
I think this was much better then the first one and definitely worth a watch if you are in the mood for something light-hearted.
~ Book Of Secrets ~
Last night after lighting the fire to keep warm form all this snow, I had National Treasure 2 through from love film and decided to take a watch. I didn't bother seeing this when it first came out as it didn't really look particularly great. Having seeing the first and thinking it was ok I thought I might as well. I was really glad I had chosen to wait until this had come out on DVD as it didn't look worth paying a stupid price to go to the cinema.
~ INFO ~
Director- Jon Turteltaub
Jon who also directed the first film is not very well known and has directed mainly television programmes. Some of his other films include- The Kids (2000), Instinct (1999) and Cool Runnings (1993).
Writers- Marianne and Cormac Wibberley
Music by- Trevor Rabin
Release date- 8 Feb 2008 (UK)
Runtime- 124 Mins
~ MAIN CHARACTERS ~
Nicholas Cage- Benjamin Gates
Ben is the son of explorer and treasure hunter Patrick and after finding treasure in the first film he wants to set the score with the truth about his family. He is a determined and strong minded person and had strong family values. He never gives up on an idea and will do anything to restore his family's name. I like the values Ben has and what he goes through.
Justin Bartha - Riley Poole
Riley is Ben's assistant and after their success in the last film he is trying to build a career in writing and publishing his own book which turns out to be a waste of time. He is a very good friend of Ben and sacrifices himself several times to help him. Even though he seems scared of a lot he overcomes them to help his friends. He is also has a good humorous nature which brings comedy value to the film.
Diane Kruger- Abigail Chase
After separating from Ben, Abi is trying to start a fresh and is starting to date again. As Ben involves her in their latest quest she becomes more and more interested in what they are doing and finally seeks to help them. Although she seems independent and strong willed she shows weaknesses when around Ben and you can see she still loves him. She is also very intelligent and brave.
Ed Harris- Mitch Wilkinson
Mitch seeing Ben as a rival goes after the treasure himself and tries many ways to get rid of Ben. He as a gang who protect him and he is very wealthy. His greed over powers his senses as he wants the treasure and loves it when Ben's family is seen as mental. Mitch to me seems angry a lot of the time and doesn't really have any real friends or family.
~ OTHER CHARACTERS ~
Jon Voight- Patrick Gates
Helen Mirren- Emily Appleton
Harvey Keitel- FBI Agent Peter
Bruce Greenwood- US President
Joel Gretsch- Thomas Gates
~ PLOT ~
Ben Gates is a treasure Hunter and tells the story of his great grandfather being killed over keeping a map of the city of gold a secret. No one believes his claims and Mitch Wilkinson tries to prove him wrong. There is a rivalry between Ben and Mitch as it was both of their Great Grandfathers included in this story. After finding a clue to a treasure hunt Ben and Riley start to investigate and are shown that there are more clues to find The City of God. The clues get even harder to find including breaking into Buckingham Palace and The White House and Mitch catches on about the hunt and follows Ben.
The gang follow the clues and sacrifice a lot to be led to the supposed site of this treasured land.
~ OPINIONS ~
Although the film had a lot included and different locations I think overall that it is a good film but it isn't really anything special. I didn't find myself excited or interested a lot and there wasn't much that really surprised me.
The film has good qualities though and I liked the cast. Having a good cast though they should have been able to give a better atmosphere and emotions.
The action in the film was ok, the car chase was properly the best action sequence as they drove through the busy streets and there was a few stunts performed which were good but it didn't really impress me much.
The different locations were a positive side to the film and I loved how many historical places they fitted into two hours. The main ones included- The Mount Rushmore, The Library of Congress, The White House, Buckingham Palace, Mount Vermon and The original statue of Laboulaye. This quite impressed me and it was brilliant to see how they involved the treasure hunting in these settings. It also kept the action slightly more interesting and to keep the audiences attention. These locations were also filmed beautifully. There were amazing crane shots especially of Mount Rushmore and it looked amazing. In the last push for the city of gold I did like the caves and the scenery was really good. It reminded me of something off of the Lara Croft games, having puzzles included in traps and rocks and water.
Being based on a book there are a few elements that differ slightly. These are only little things such as when Ben and Abi find the plank carving in Buckingham Palace they only take a picture in the story where as in the film they take it with them. I am surprised this is a Disney film to be honest and think that it doesn't carry the high quality and standards of a Disney film. Even though it is good Disney are making a better effort for older children and not just animations for small kids. There are apparently talks of a sequel to make it a trilogy but I won't be rushing to get it.
~ DVD ~
The DVD was released in May 2008 and can be brought on Play.com for only £3.99. Even though it's a good price there are not a lot of features added.
* Audio Commentary
* Join Director Jon Turteltaub and Actor Jon Voight (Patrick Gates) for this feature commentary.
~ EXTRAS ~
- Rotten Tomatoes- 32%
- 48/100 Scored by reviews
- The film had 5 nomiations which included Best Film.
~ RECOMMEND ~
To be honest I wouldn't recommend you go out and get this film I would wait until it's on television. It is an ok film it has plenty of action but it is limited due to the 12 certificate. It was that impressive and doesn't create a brilliant atmosphere.
* Thanks for reading* Blackmagicstar4* FEB 09 - published on Dooyoo and Ciao * xx
"... the debt that all men pay..."
It is 5 days after the end of the American Civil War and these are the dying words of Thomas Gates to his young son. Hours earlier Thomas was approached by two men with a code to be solved. Gates' interest peaked on man, John Wilkes Booth leaves to take his place in history as the man who assassinates Abraham Lincoln. The decoded message is a clue to a treaure map and realising the grave implications of the treasure falling into the hands of Confederate sympathisers, Gates rips out important pages of Booth's diary and throws them in the fire. Having shot Gates, Booth's friend salvages what he can from the fire, one single page before fleeing into the growing hysteria from news of the President's assassination.
And so National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets begins. Back in the here and now we reacquaint ourselves with Benjamin Gates (Nicholas Cage) who is a descendant of the murdered Thomas Gates. Ben's lecture about his great great grandfather is interrupted by Mitch Wilkinson (Ed Harris), a black market dealer who produces the missing page from Booth's diary which implicates Thomas Gates in Lincoln's assassination. As in the last film Ben is spurred onto the hunt through a desire to clear his family name (and of course unearth another great undiscovered treasure and reclaim it for society at large).
Ben is joined on his madcap treasure hunt by old cohort and technical genius Riley Poole and estranged girlfriend Abigail Chase and helped out along the way by his father (Jon Voight) and mother (Helen Mirren). The clues take them across America from the Oval Office in the White House to Mount Rushmore and overseas to Paris and Buckingham Palace; all the time being persued by Wilkinson, who is desperate to claim the associated glory of discovering the City of Gold. Ben seeks out help from FBI acquaintence Peter Sadusky (Harvey Keitel, reprising his role from the first film) on his search for Cibola who confirms some of the answers may be gleaned from the President's Book (the mysterious Book of Secrets) but tells him only the current President knows its whereabouts which leads Ben to do the unthinkable and kidnap the President in order to speak to him alone.
I won't give away the ending or elaborate any further on the finer plot points as I realise what I have already written sounds far fetched enough! This is however, I feel, the beauty of this film. Rather like the first film and like the Indiana Jones movies before, you do rather need to suspend disbelief in order to fully enjoy National Treasure 2. Yes it is corny, yes the dialogue can sometimes be rather clunky and admittedly some characters are contrived so they are perfectly placed to help (Ben's Mother's specialising in the precise ancient language needed to decode a clue and Abigail's date working at the White House, thus aiding their search of the Oval Office to name a few) but it is a great mystery adventure that all the family can enjoy. Cage and his team of intrepid treasure hunters play their parts with gusto and bring warmth and humour to the film.
If you enjoyed National Treasure then there is a very good chance you will enjoy this too. If you are after a serious and more believable film then this may not be for you; critically it received a rather frosty reception but was the 8th highest grossing film of 2007. If you are looking for a good old fashoned adventure romp which doesn't require you to do too much thinking then this is the film for you.
There is talk of more sequels in the pipelines (Disney has pre-emptively registered domains for National Treasure 3 and 4) and there was a cryptic reference to page 47 of the President's book which could lead to a possible new adventure. I for one will happily give any future sequels the benefit of the doubt because I have enjoyed the first two movies immensely.
National Treasure 2 - The Book of Secrets is a sequel to the very successful 2004 film National Treasure in which Ben Gates played by Nicolas Cage attempts to discover treasure hidden long ago. In this film Gates has the honour of his family name to uphold and in trying to do so finds himself on another treasure hunt.
The story begins with a flashback to the past just after the end of the Civil War in America where Ben Gates' great great grandfather Thomas Gates has been asked by some men to decipher a code in a diary which is a clue to a treasure map. Whilst he is doing so one of the men, John Wilkes Booth leaves and assassinates Abraham Lincoln, Gates tries to stop deciphering the code and rip some pages out of the diary and throw them into the open fire. The man shoots him but only manages to save a small part of the burnt pages.
The film then jumps to the current day where Ben Gates and his father are telling the story of Thomas Gates when Mitch Wilkinson speaks up claiming to have one of the missing pages from the diary with Thomas Gates name which he claims proves that Thomas Gates was involved in the assignation of Lincoln.
Ben Gates along with his father, his assistant Riley and later in the film his ex-girlfriend Abigail (from the first film) and his mother (Helen Mirren) set out on a hunt that takes them to different countries to try to clear Thomas Gates name but also find that in doing so they become involved in the search for treasure too. To find the answer they must find the mysterious Book of Secrets, but does it really exist and what does it contain? To find out the answer you'll need to watch the film.
As in the last film the cast make the characters come to life. Cage makes a great nice guy action hero and his sidekick Riley brings the humour to the film. Helen Mirren makes an appearance playing Ben's mother in a role which is quite unlike her other roles and although not to her using Oscar winning standards (she probably didn't need to put a huge amount of effort into researching the role) is still very believable as Ben's mother.
The film has enough twists and turns and mystery to keep you interested right the way through. The film takes in various locations from America to England and France making it even more interesting in the hunt for the treasure.
This is a film where you need to let your imagination go and not think too much about how likely certain things would be to happen. If you don't you won't enjoy the film because so many bits of it are just so unrealistic for example do you really think you could just wander round the white house and manage to get yourself into the Oval Office just because you knew someone who worked there? I would like to think the security there is a bit better than that!
It's a good fun, light-hearted action film and is suitable for all the family. There is some suspense, lots of action scenes and some car chases but even although some shots get fired no-one gets killed. I like how the film makers used factual information mixed in with the film line. It makes things more interesting as you start thinking "What if?" I found myself googling to find out if certain of the facts in the film where true and which were just made up for the film.
This may not be the best ever film made, the plot lines are quite unbelievable but put all that aside and this is a really enjoyable, fun action movie and I enjoyed it as much as the first.
Currently on sale on Amazon for £3.98
Rating - PG
Running Time - 119 minutes
Director: Jon Turteltaub
Screenplay: Marianne Wibberley & Cormac Wibberley
Genre: Action - Adventure - Thriller - Mystery
Released: 2nd June, 2008 (DVD)
Nicolas Cage (Ben Gates)
Justin Bartha (Riley Poole)
Diane Kruger (Abigail Chase)
Jon Voight (Patrick Gates)
When a partially destroyed document surfaces that alludes to the possibility that Ben Gates' great-grandfather might have been a co-conspirator in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, Ben sets out to prove his innocence by finding the Lost City of Gold (Cibola).
'National Treasure: Book of Secrets' is the second movie in the series, that will, eventually, lead to a third. Unfortunately, this second instalment isn't as engrossing as the first. The first 30 - 40 minutes are extremely long and tedious, in fact, I'd go so far as to say that they're downright boring. However, once you get past what appears to be a real drag of a movie, the rest is 'National Treasure' as we love it. Action-packed, great decor, humour and loads of special-effects... but you have to stay awake through the first half of the movie.
Sadly, this is the case of the second movie not quite managing to hold its own - something that is extremely common when it comes to sequels. The first half of the movie is downright dull and yawn inducing and merits no more than a 2 star rating, however, the second half with its non-stop action 'à la Indiana Jones' is worthy of a 3.5 star rating... unfortunately, ratings aren't based on half a movie.
What eventually made this movie worth watching was the second half - that's the half that made 'National Treasure' so popular to begin with. We all love a good adventure movie, one with hidden treasures, secret locations, tombs, catacombs, archaic traps, riddles and loads of action and special-effects, which is why the second movie rated so well at the box office... it was the memory of the original movie that won people over and tricked them into believing that the second movie would be just as fantastic... and it is, just not all of it.
The first half of the movie follows Ben Gates as he attempts to find clues from the partially destroyed document, the one that casts a dark shadow on his family's good name. Ben follows the clues all the way to London where he will break into the Queen's study in order to find a desk holding more clues - this will then lead him to the White House where he will have to get into the oval office in order to find yet another clue, and finally, he'll have to kidnap the president for the final clue. Sounds interesting? It isn't. The entire thing is quite boring. The only 'action' is a car chase through London, which isn't brilliant considering they're stuck in traffic... everything else is extremely toned down and slightly uninteresting.
Once Ben manages to get all the clues, that's when the 'real' action begins - the search for the Lost City of Gold - that's the part we've all been waiting to see, and the audience isn't disappointed... this is what we've been expecting, the mystery surrounding the Lost City of Gold, the gorgeous architecture, the traps, the riddles, the non-stop action that makes you giddy with excitement - unfortunately, at this point, the movie is almost over. It's a brutal let-down, but not a total waste... more a disenchantment. However, disenchantment or not, the ending alludes to a third movie, and although the audience doesn't quite know what to make of the movie they just saw because it felt more like half a movie, they're hooked at the thought of a third movie. It's sheer madness, but that's exactly what this movie does... it whets your appetite for more action/adventure (even though it failed to fully deliver), and you're fully prepared to dish out yet more cash for a third instalment!
It's marketing genius... the way producers and writers can stick in a great finale to a halfway flop and not only fool people into thinking they actually liked the 'entire' movie, but to get them to actually want to see another one!
The acting is singularly unexciting - it's pretty straightforward. Nicholas Cage doesn't give a great performance, but he's believable in his role as the somewhat naïve genius who hatches crazy plans and always seems to get away with them. But who cares, it isn't Ben Gates that carries the movie, we don't actually expect him to, it's the action, adventure and special-effects that make this movie worth watching, and the spectacular décor with its aura of mystery.
'National Treasure: Book of Secrets' isn't a bad movie, far from it. Unfortunately, it isn't actually brilliant either. It's thoroughly 'watchable', even enjoyable once the 'real' action gets underway, and the scenery is spectacular with fantastic stunts and special-effects, and a great atmosphere that manages to make you forget that you nearly fell asleep at the beginning of the movie.
All in all, if you liked the first movie you'll like this one, but you will feel as though you've been cheated - needless to say that this feeling won't dissuade you from seeing the next instalment.
* * * * * * * * * * Warning * * * * * * * * *
This is a Disney film. The dialogue may offend
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Now, there is no way you can criticize a kid's film just for the dialogue. This, like the first film in the franchise, is meant to be as clunky as Robocop's underpants because it's a Disney film. That's what they do. Disney films are for kids and so that's why every scene must be unfortunately spelt out to too all, including mum and dad. For instance: if it's really obvious that Nick Cages, Ben Gates character needs to turn the statue head to release the secret door to the likewise passageway then Cages character will be spelling exactly that out to you and the camera (although not in an annoying Michael Douglas sort of way). It's----the----statue----! If you ----turn-----the----head----it----will----open----the---door...!. Baring-in-mind this film is two hours long then make up your mind now if that's going to be a problem.
The first movie, 'National Treasure', was an excellent fun film for all the family, tapping into the worldwide success and historic code cracking appeal of the DaVinci Code, that old style adventure like the Raiders trilogies, always a winner in my book. Time travel and codes in movies never fail to deliver, apart from 'Jumper' and 'Revelation', of course! But like any big sequel we are always going to be wary, especially if the critics slam it because of that Disney script.
After finding Americas greatest ever treasure in film one Gates is soon after Americas second greatest hidden spoils here, the mythical lost golden city. The adventure starts when the Gates family name is put through the mud by a stranger, Mitch Wilkinson's (Ed Harris), who turns up at one of Gates lectures, where he is talking about the missing pages of the famous Booth Dairy, supposedly revealing a list of the accomplices to Abraham Lincoln's assassination in the Ford Theatre by John Wilkes Booth in 1865 on the missing parchment, suggesting a deeper conspiracy to the American Civil Wars pivotal moment. Mitch can back up his claims to as he is also related to the people involved in the assignation and is waving the critical missing piece of the page at Gates behind the lecturn. As the tear mark is a perfect match then it looks like it will indeed incriminate the Gates family name, much to Ben and dad Patrick's (John Voight) despair.
The missing page is also believed to hold the clues to a hidden great treasure, so vast it would take great subterfuge and collusion to hide it, and reveal a very different history to the Civil War and Lincoln's betrayal, changing American history for ever. With sidekick tech man Riley Poole (Justin Bharta) again on board for the trip, Gates believes the first clue is on the now completed page, and quickly proved right when his ex girlfriend Abigail Chase (Diane Kruger), the Antiquities and treasures curator from the first film, allows him access to the Booths Diary that is now back in its exhibit, ultraviolet light revealing a cipher, a hidden code that's the first clue to the coming adventure.
The codes and then the solutions come thick and fast, perhaps unrealistically so, first taking them to Paris and then London (making sure those cities famous landmarks are in every shot), and then back to Washington DC, FBI agent, Detective Sandusky (Harvey Kietel) their inside man when they want access to the more restricted government areas and archives to solve the mystery. But soon Wilkinson and his goons are on their tail, Mitch now the films villain, rather keen to take the treasure off the back of all Gates hard work.
When the trail comes to a dead end the only way forward is to take drastic action. Gates has to get access to the 'Presidents Diary,' the next and maybe decisive clue hidden deep within, and as only the President knows where the diary is, or indeed if it really exists, it's up to Gates to persuade the leader of the free world to hand it over, whether either wants to or not, an action that could land him in a whole lot of trouble on an adventure that is already mayhem packed...
Nicolas Cage ... Ben Gates
Justin Bartha ... Riley Poole
Diane Kruger ... Abigail Chase
Jon Voight ... Patrick Gates
Helen Mirren ... Emily Appleton
Ed Harris ... Mitch Wilkinson
Harvey Keitel ... Sadusky
Bruce Greenwood ... The President
Ty Burrell ... Connor
If you need a fun family romp for the holidays and you're too tight to rent the Dark Knight then this is it. It's not as good as the first film in the growing franchise but its fun and one of those traditional big screen action-adventure movies Christmas used to be about, which, lets face it, we haven't seen enough on telly this Christmas.
There's just enough explosions and near misses for the kids in that thrilling Disney magic style to keep them glued to the screen while mom makes tea, and plenty of unlikely scenarios on show for dad to complain about and say would never happen in real life-like why there doesn't seem to be any CCTV cameras anywhere to stop Gates breaking into highly secure buildings. or why no cell and picture phones between the five good guys. I think I have already made myself clear on how films can no longer get away with the non use of cell-phones! When the phones do show up its blatant product placement time, a concurrent theme throughout the movie, in fact what movies like this will increasingly have to do to pay for them.
I personally think we should always judge a film on the audience it's aimed at and sequels are always easy meat in that context to rip apart, all concerned trying too hard to repeat the successful formula of the original to justify the huge budgets. Although 'Book of Secrets' doesn't have the magic and bombast of the first film it just about gets away with it to entertain all ages. You won't come away from it thinking you have wasted your rental. Nick Cage's adventurer hero Ben Gates is as swashbuckling as Johnny Depp`s Captain Jack and who doesn't like a good old treasure hunt with a sprinkling of imagined history. And like the first film, the historic clues and history they uncover and explore in the movie are mostly true and so you actually learn something too, and how many times can you say that about Hollywood movies.
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Imdb.com scores it 6.6 out of 10.0 (42,367 votes)
RuN-TiMe 124 minutes
3 for £8 weekly deal at Blockbusters or £3.50 per week
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