Tuesday, January 01, 2008

New Movie Review: "National Treasure: Book of Secrets"

Are you ready for some adventuring, with a team of characters seeking some artifact? Well, if you can't wait till Indiana Jones 4 comes out, the sequel National Treasure: Book of Secrets is a suitable, if not stellar, substitute.

As in the first movie, Nic Cage, Jon Voigt, Diane Kruger, and Justin Bartha all seek a treasure tied to America's past for the sake of clearing the Gates' family name. Basically, NT:BoS is the first movie with different puzzles (solved more quickly), more diverse locales, and some extra big names, as Helen Mirren comes on as the matriarch of the Gates' clan and Ed Harris chews the scenery as the baddie. The stunts remain the same though and there is really nothing new. Not that the lack of innovation is a drawback, as the first movie pretty much embraced its own cheesiness, and the sequel follows suit.

The plot revolves around clearing an ancestor Gates' name as it is tied to the Lincoln assassination. This allows for a lot of American chest beating as Cage spouts off the accomplishments of Lincoln and how he united the country, etc. But again, it is done is such a cheesy way, it is entertaining. The Book of Secrets in the title doesn't make an appearance until the movie is 3/4 done and isn't really that key. It is used, however, to lay a plot down for the inevitable sequel.

There are some plot holes and some head scratching going on. The movie hinges on clearing the ancient Gates name, but we are shown in the first minutes that he was indeed innocent. It would have been better if we didn't know he was innocent until Cage confirmed it. But, it is an action movie, so plot holes and such are allowable. Is the movie worth a look? Sure, if you enjoyed the first one. It won't tax you, Nic Cage plays Nic Cage, and Bartha has some good comedic chops and timing. See it in theaters if just for the animated short before: Goofy sets up a home entertainment system.

3 Ciphers out of 5

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