Monday, February 11, 2008


Are you kidding? I made all that up. You know Marcus. He once got lost in his own museum.The first NATIONAL TREASURE movie was a light-hearted unpretentious mix of Indiana Jones and The Da Vinci Code and much of the team behind the original is back for the sequel. Nic Cage reprises his role as the archeologist cum treasure hunter, Ben Gates. He's got an IT whizzkid sidekick (Justin Bartha), a hot chick girlfriend (Diane Kruger) and a pair of light relief bickering parents (Jon Voight and Helen Mirren). Instead of Auto-Bean, the bad guy is played by Ed Harris. And instead of Templar treasure, Ben Gates is searching for an ancient City of Gold hidden under Mount Rushmore. The adventure will take him to Paris, Buckingham Palace, the Oval Office and the Library of Congress too! One wonders just what is left for the heavily hinted at third installment of the franchise. Ben Gates decodes a puzzle on the moon?!

The problem is that somewhere between the insanely impressive sets and the ludicrously high-amp locations, the honest fun of the first film got lost. I didn't mind the cheesiness of the first flick because it kept me entertained. In NATIONAL TREASURE, I eventually got bored, especially during the final water sequences. And when you're bored, you start poking holes in a plot that can't stand up to such scrutiny. The motivation of the baddie, for instance, seems pretty thin. And a scene where Ben Gates is offering to sacrifice himself for his family is curiously lacking in emotional punch.

Overall then, NATIONAL TREASURE: BOOK OF SECRETS is a pretty damp squib. Still, I like the concept enough that I'll be hoping for a slightly shorter run-time and slightly less absurd locations in the inevitable next installment.

NATIONAL TREASURE: BOOK OF SECRETS was released in 2007 in the US, Kuwait, Oman, South Korea, Taiwan, Australia, Hong Kong, Hungary, Israel, Lebanon, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Singapore, Thailand, Bulgaria, Canada, Estonia, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Spain, the USA, Venezuela, Egypt, Russia, Mexico and Panama. It was released earlier in 2008 in Belgium, Greece, Iceland, Poland, Turkey, the Philippines, the Netherlands, Peru, Colombia, India, Norway, Sweden, Argentina, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria, Germany and Denmark. It is currently playing in Denmark and the UK and opens next week in France and Finland.

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