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National Treasure: Book of Secrets

Genre: , ,

Cast: Nicolas Cage, Helen Mirren, Ed Harris, Justin Bartha, Diane Kruger, Jon Voight, Harvey Keitel, Alicia Coppola, Joel Gretsch

Director: Jon Turteltaub

Rated: NR

Review By:
Rocco Passafuime

SUNY Purchase '05

"I don't compromise my values and I don't compromise my work. I won't give in." -Michael Moore

Release Date: May 20th, 2008
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Overall Grade: C

National Treasure: Book of Secrets

Review By: Rocco Passafuime

National Treasure 2: Book Of Secrets

In this past decade in particular, it's now evident more than ever that Hollywood loves nothing more than a sequel. And in an age where familiarity and profits trumps creativity and quality, literally any successful movie can now be spun off into a franchise.

Case in point is National Treasure, a fairly well-made, but rather derivative and uber-patriotic clone of the Indiana Jones series and The Da Vinci Code. However, when the movie grossed $350 million internationally, Disney realized there was another money-making franchise under its belt, hence the creation of National Treasure 2: Book Of Secrets, now available on DVD.

Archeologist Ben Gates (Nicholas Cage) must now attempt to redeem his family's honor. It's implied by Mitch Wilkinson (Ed Harris), the descendent of a Confederate officer during the Civil War, that his ancestor Thomas conspired in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln by John Wilkes Booth via a piece of the killer's diary.

With the help of father Patrick (Jon Voight), his hapless, second banana partner Riley Poole (Justin Bartha), and girlfriend Abigail Chase (Diane Kruger), Gates must uncover the hidden codes in the diary which may lead him to the buried within the book, that point to the fabled lost city of gold, Cibola. Helping Ben is his father Patrick (Jon Voight), his hapless, second banana partner Riley Poole (Justin Bartha), girlfriend Abigail Chase (Diane Kruger), and his estranged mother Emily Appleton (Helen Mirren).

The first National Treasure was a fairly ridiculous and cynical, but well-made piece of work due to a mildly intriguing plot, a great cast, and constant thrills. National Treasure 2, however, is just more of the same, except worse.

The Lincoln assassination conspiracy plot for this film is even more ridiculous than the one for the original, being akin more to a mere cash-in on a lucky break than any genuinely creative continuation. Despite continuing to sport a great cast, they fail to bring much life to characters that continue to be one-dimensional, clichéd, and uninteresting.

The DVD's picture quality is in the 2:35:1 anamorphic widescreen aspect ratio, with the sound quality in Dolby Digital Surround 5.1. The DVD is packed with plenty of special features spanned across two discs.

Disc one contains bonus feature is an audio commentary by director Jon Turteltaub and actor Jon Voight, who are informative and engaging enough. Disc two begins with five deleted scenes, with introductions by director Turteltaub.

The featurette "Secrets Of A Sequel" is brief and features behind-the-scenes footage, as well as interviews with the cast and crew. "The Book Of Secrets: On Location featurette focuses on the many locations where the film was shot.

“The Treasure Reel: Bloopers & Outtakes” and “Street Stunts: Creating the London Chase” are fairly self-explanatory, while “Evolution of a Golden City” focuses on the creation of the golden city of Cibola.

“Knights of the Golden Circle” is a rather brief featurette

that goes into the pro-Confederate U.S. secret society. “Cover Story: Crafting the Presidents’ Book” goes into the titular "book of secrets" and “Inside the Library of Congress” (8:40) goes inside the ins and outs of said facility.

All in all, National Treasure 2: Book Of Secrets continues to provide great production and thrills headed by a great cast. However, all these factors don't prevent it from wearing out its welcome as an ultimately unnecessary sequel to a movie that was barely good enough to begin with.

Movie Grade: C-

DVD Features Grade: B

Overall Grade: C

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