National Treasure: Book Of Secrets

posted January 03, 2008 08:33:39 AM CST | 2 comments

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Everyone loves a good treasure hunt. If not, youíre lazy and reading this is probably wearing you out.† Go lie down and take a nap. For everyone else, you probably enjoyed National Treasure but didnít like the film adaptation of The Da Vinci Code (and if you didnít like piss-poor writing, you probably didnít care too much for the book either). The difference is one is fun and doesnít take itself too seriously while the other canít seem to find the humor of Forrest Gump telling Amelie that sheís the descendent of Jesus. But sequels have a tough time of living up to the original. National Treasure: Book of Secrets may not surpass the first film, but it certainly has all the charm and adventure.
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Benjamin (Nicolas Cage) and Patrick (Jon Voight) Gates are giving a friendly lecture about their ancestor Thomas Gates when Ed Harris has to come along and be a total douchebag. He tells everyone that he has proof that Thomas Gates was a conspirator and possibly the mastermind of the Lincoln assassination.† While this begins a hunt to clear his great-grandfatherís name, thatís not treasure.† Itís honorable, decent, and good, but it ainít treasure.† A city of gold is treasure and thatís what the film should be subtitled as the ďBook of SecretsĒ is just one in a chain of clues leading to the city. †
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While its history may never be a hundred-percent and thereís a sickening amount of product-placement, Book of Secrets at least avoids the serious misstep of adding a kid which hurt other adventure sequels.† Thereís fresh conflict to be found without adding an endangered-yet-scrappy child and this is a cast that needs no help.† Everyone is clearly having a lot of fun (although they could give Helen Mirren, who plays Benís mom, more to do), the scene-stealer is once again comic-relief Justin Bartha as the lovable Riley Poole. Bartha has got to get a better agent because this film wouldnít be half a fun without him and itís just wrong that heís not in more movies.
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Producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Jon Turtletaub know exactly what makes this franchise work and thereís a clear set-up for a third movie. It may not be better than the other two, but when the films are this fun, it doesnít have to be.

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