NATIONAL TREASURE: THE BOOK OF SECRETS
Another Roller Coaster Ride
Release Date: December 21, 2007
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Diane Kruger,
Justin Bartha, Jon Voight,
Helen Mirren, Ed Harris, Bruce
Greenwood, Harvey Keitel, and
Genre: Mystery Adventure Drama
Audience: Older children to adults
Runtime: 125 minutes
Distributor: Walt Disney Pictures/Buena
Vista/Walt Disney Company
Director: Jon Turtletaub
Executive Producer: Mike Stenson, Chad Oman, Barry
Waldman, Oren Aviv, and
Producer: Jerry Bruckheimer and Jon
Writer: The Wibberleys
Address Comments To:Robert Iger, President/CEO
The Walt Disney Company
(Walt Disney Pictures, Touchstone Pictures, Hollywood Pictures, Miramax Films, and Buena Vista Distribution)
Dick Cook, Chairman
The Walt Disney Studios
500 South Buena Vista Street
Burbank, CA 91521
Phone: (818) 560-1000
The story opens with Benjamin Gates, a treasure-hunting historian played deftly by Nicolas Cage, and his father, Patrick, learning that their ancestor, Thomas Gates, may have been involved in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. To clear their ancestor’s name, they try to decipher clues left in a secret code on a page from the diary of John Wilkes Booth, Lincoln’s assassin.
With help from Ben’s ex-girlfriend, Abigail, and Ben’s young assistant, Riley, they follow the clues to Paris, London and then the White House in Washington, D.C. A missing clue at the White House forces Ben to kidnap the President of the United States so he can ask the President for the location of the Book of Secrets that every president since Washington has kept. Ben believes the Book of Secrets will help clear his ancestor’s name and lead them to a legendary mythological treasure of historic proportions.
Once he understands the situation, the President agrees to let them follow the trail, but says he can’t call off the police. Ben and his friends not only must evade the authorities, they also must evade another group of treasure hunters, led by a shady adventurer named Mitch Wilkinson, whose ancestors also go back to the Civil War, but on the Confederate side. Wilkinson has fewer scruples than Ben and his father, but he will need Ben’s expertise if he really wants to find the treasure.
Adding spice to the adventure is that Ben’s father must get help from his estranged ex-wife, Emily, Ben’s mother. Emily is less than thrilled that Ben and Patrick are once again spending their lives pursuing a treasure that may not exist.
Until the third act, the jeopardy in BOOK OF SECRETS seems lighter than it was in the first movie. Also, by taking some of the action overseas, the movie doesn’t have the focus on American history like the first movie. Nevertheless, the story moves at a brisk pace, and there are some nifty action scenes, but nothing extremely intense that would preclude a family audience from going.
There are, however, some verbal references to Ben and Abigail living together before they decided to split up. One scene has them still arguing over some possessions. Also, in another scene, Abigail uses her female cleavage to distract the attention of a White House official so that Ben can look for a hidden clue. Otherwise, the movie has a strong, but mostly implied, moral worldview, with no foul language and strong pro-American content.
Until the third act, the jeopardy in BOOK OF SECRETS seems lighter than it was in the first movie. Nevertheless, the story moves at a brisk pace, and there are some nifty action scenes, but nothing extremely intense that would preclude a family audience. There are, however, some verbal references to Ben and Abigail living together before they decided to split up and a seductive shot of female cleavage. Otherwise, the movie has a strong moral worldview, with no foul language and strong pro-American content.