Wednesday, March 05, 2008

National Treasure: Book Of Secrets

National Treasure: Book Of SecretsIt was a toss-up between going to see National Treasure: Book Of Secrets or Cloverfield and the over-hyped monster movie lost. Book Of Secrets is the second National Treasure movie so here's a brief description of the plot…
When a missing page from the diary of John Wilkes Booth comes to light, Ben Gates' (Nicolas Cage) great-great grandfather Thomas is implicated in the plot to assassinate of Abraham Lincoln. Determined to prove his family's innocence, Ben reunites with Abigail (Diane Kruger) and Riley (Justin Bartha) and they follow a trail of clues that take him to Paris then London and eventually back to the United States.

All the while, he's being pursued by Mitch Wilkinson (Ed Harris) and his crew of mercenaries. Wilkinson is a man determined to make his mark on history as knows that the clues could lead him to the greatest horde of treasure the world has ever seen, a lost city of gold.

This sequel picks up a while after the events in National Treasure. Ben is hailed as one of the world's greatest treasure hunters but his relationship with Abigail has faltered and the pair have split up. The treasure trail takes them to Paris, Buckingham Palace, the White House and Mount Rushmore in a somewhat impossible sequence of events but it's part of the magic of Hollywood.

With National Treasure being Disney's attempt to cash in on the hype around Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code, they did not a bad of job of it and it did reasonably well at the box office. Okay, everything was just too implausible to happen in reality but Book Of Secrets follows the same formula and will appeal to the same masses of movie-goers that went to the first movie.

Nicolas Cage plays Ben in his usual slow and methodical manner but it works and helps ground some of the comedy elements thrown in via his sidekick Justin Bartha as Riley the tech wizard. Diane Kruger provides the love interest as Ben's ex and co-hunter and she does it quite well. Jon Voight returns as Ben's father Patrick and Helen Mirren appears as his mother Emily. They've been estranged for about 25 years but both are integral to the plot of the movie and, as well as solid performances from both, there's the added bonus of the the will they, won't they get back together element.

Ed Harris is the bad guy here and gives his usual excellent performance. Also putting in appearances are Harvey Keitel as FBI agent Sadusky, who appeared in National Treasure, and Bruce Greenwood as the US president.

If you fancy a roller coaster ride of an action movie with a ridiculous plot, some well known actors and a bit of comedy thrown in, then you'll probably like this movie. Both Cage and Voight have been nominated for Razzies for their performances here but I can't the justification for it; it's a family film and everyone in it was hamming it up a bit to go along with the corny plot. Don't take it too seriously, it's an entertaining movie.

Genre: Action, Adventure, Mystery, Thriller
My Rating: 7/10

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