National Treasure: Book Of Secrets

 
Directed by: Jon Turteltaub
Written by:Cormac Wibberley, Marianne Wibberley
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Justin Bartha, Diane Kruger, Jon Voight, Helen Mirren, Bruce Greenwood, Ed Harris, Harvey Keitel, Ty Burrell
Released: December 20, 2007
Grade: B-

Let me just say that Alice In Wonderland was more believable than this.  National Treasure: Book Of Secrets is perhaps the most far-fetched movie of the year (and that’s saying something).  I called the first film a “fun adventure” and I guess the same can be said for this sequel.  It’s a forgettable “popcorn movie” where you sit back, relax and try not to think too hard.

It begins in a packed lecture theatre where Ben Gates (Cage) and his father (Voight) are approached by a man called Mitch Wilkinson (Harris).  He has a 140-year-old piece of paper which links Ben’s great-great grandfather to the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.  It makes the newspapers the next day and Ben is upset that his family name has been tarnished.

So what does he do?  He goes on a crazy, life-threatening journey to seek the truth.  He will be joined by his best friend Riley (Bartha) and his wife (Kruger).  They make a good team.  Between them, they manage to sneak into the Queen’s study in Buckingham Palace at the President’s Oval Office at The White House.  I guess security isn’t as tough as it used to be.

All the clues are pointing to some lost city of gold.  Many sought it in the 19th Century but no one could ever find it.  Over time, the legend has been forgotten.  As Ben starts closing in on its location, he realises that he has competition.  Mitch Wilkinson wants to find it first so that he can get the recognition.  He’s prepared to kill to achieve his goal.

I’m not always a fan of Nicolas Cage but I liked him in this role and I think it suits him.  He is backed by some more experienced actors in Jon Voight and Helen Mirren (who plays his mother).  They work well together.

I can’t say the same for the plot.  Whilst I enjoyed the film’s cracking pace (there’s hardly any time to catch your breath), it’s just too silly for my liking.  Everything works out too easily for Ben.  It lacks a “suspense factor”.  You just know he’s going to find a way out of every life-threatening situation and carry on as if it had never happened.  He’s the James Bond of code breakers.

The film’s finale sets up an inevitable sequel.  Let’s just get it over with and move on to a fresh idea.