Surprisingly, I enjoyed the first National Treasure movie, even though I didn’t really see Nicolas Cage as an advanturous scholar. But the puzzles and clues are always very fun to watch. As little as I knew about American history , I was not bothered by the inaccuracies in the movie. It was an entertaining movie, just like what you’d expect from Disney and producer Jerry Bruckheimer. When I heard the news about a sequal and the addition of Helen Mirren to the cast, I was acutally glad that there’s something exciting to see during the holiday season.
In National Treasure: Book of Secrets, treasure hunter Benjamin Franklin Gates (Cage) embarks on a quest for another hidden treasure to clear his great-grandfather’s name, because his name was written in John Wilkes Booth’s notebook and therefore was accused of being involved in the assasination of President Lincoln. Gates gets some help from his old pal, Riley Poole (Justin Bartha) and now ex-girlfriend, Abigail Chase (Diane Kruger). Even his quarreling parents (Jon Voight and Helen Mirren) are along for the ride. On the way to the treasure, they have to kidnap the president of U.S.A., find his book that supposedly contains all of America’s top secrets, and fight off bad guys wanting a piece of the treasure and fame, led by the person who has revealed the incriminating page of Booth’s notebook, Mitch Wilkinson (Ed Harris).
In a movie like this, it is pointless to analyze character development, depth of the script, acting, or even plausibility of the plots. It is not a Discovery special on the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, so it should not be taken seriously. So I’ll just speak my personal opinions here: Bartha was great as the comic relief in the movie. He was goofy but still very likable. Cage seemed to enjoy making this film. This helps because he didn’t come across as a leading man who wanted to paly the hero all the time. Kruger was okay but could be annoying at times. I found myself siding with Gates when the ex-couple were fighting in the film (Let’s face it. Women are so hard to please sometimes). It was fun to see Jon Voight playing a bumbling estranged husband in front of Mirren. Her majesty was quite insignificant in this movie, but I like her British essense, so I’m happy nonetheless.
A couple of things still bothered me, though. I don’t see why they had to find the treasure and how it was related to the trouble that great-grandfather Gates was in. And I was never clear about Wilkinson’s intention. He just wanted his name to be attached to discovery of the treasure? Is it really worth all the trouble he had to go through? I know many people are dissing this movie. But again, as I said, this movie is not supposed to make sense. If there is one thing I’ve learned from going to the movies these years, is that every movie has something to say to its target audience. National Treasure: Book of Secrets is an entertaining holiday season movie. And as that, it has served its purpose. And hey, the car chase and some booby traps are pretty cool (I especially like the balancing platform)!
NOTE: All photos © 2007 Walt Disney Pictures