Archive for the ‘National Treasure’ Category

Silver Screen Review – National Treasure: Book of Secrets

December 31, 2007

The latest Disney/Bruckheimer collaboration (yes, the same team of Pirates of the Caribbean) is at times difficult to follow, but is still extremely entertaining, suspenseful, and a real . . . treasure.

By Blake

Originally posted December 31, 2007.

Being a Disney production, the success of 2004’s National Treasure called for an inevitable sequel. The new film National Treasure: Book of Secrets captures the same faced-paced, adventuresome flair of the original and delivers a multi-layered, somewhat hard to keep up with, storyline.

When we last left Ben Gates, he, his girlfriend (Abigail), his assistant (Riley), and his father (Patrick) had just uncovered a magnificent treasure and were appreciating their newfound riches. Well, as it turns out, a new character, Mitch Wilkinson, claims that Ben’s great-great grandfather planned the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Naturally, Ben, along with his the whole crew from the original film, set out to prove Wilkinson wrong. Eventually they come to the conclusion that the only way to prove Gates’ innocence is to prove the existence of a city of gold. Where is this hidden city? Well, the location is hidden in a top-secret book passed down to every president in office. How are they supposed to get a hold of this mysterious book? By kidnapping the president, of course.

Like I said, the plot is kind of foggy during your first viewing. You know WHAT’s happening, you just might not know WHY it’s happening. I’m sure a second viewing would clear up the indefinite parts, especially if you haven’t brushed up on your history in a while. And, no, unlike the Pirates of the Caribbean movies Disney and Bruckheimer have made together before, you don’t need to be very familiar with the original film to understand the concepts of the sequel. Other than trying your best to keep up with the plot, you’ll enjoy yourself more if you just sit back and tag along for the ride, because the film certainly keeps you awake, with not a moment of slowness. The 30-minute finale sequence (which takes place, story-wise at least, inside Mount Rushmore) was top-notch, with plenty of surprises to keep you on the edge of your seat. It’s very suspenseful and tense, and certainly had me clutching my face as every twist was revealed. And this time around, it’s more like an “International Treasure,” as the characters travel to Paris, France to examine the second Statue of Liberty (yes, there’s more than one!) and to London, England to examine an artifact from the queen’s resolute desk.

Next come the necessary questions that are asked after every sequel: “Was it better than the original?” and “Will there be another sequel?” Book of Secrets keeps to the same style as the original film, and has historical references and clues like the first movie. The characters are developed more, but not so much that they totally destroy the characters’ personalities. The sequel doesn’t take the first film to any new heights, but additionally it doesn’t butcher the original, either. So, I’ll say they’re about the same. As for the next question, the ending certainly leaves room for a possible further installment, though doesn’t leave us on a cliffhanger either. If there is another sequel, Book of Secrets certainly leaves an opening for one, though if this is the end of the National Treasure series, everything is already worked out that needs to be (story-wise) for the series to close.

For those of you that often run late to movies and walk in well after the film has begun, all I can say is DON’T DO THAT THIS TIME AROUND! There’s plenty to feast your eyes upon in the film’s preshow, including two premiere Disney trailers (a new teaser for Wall-E and the first-ever trailer for The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian) as well as the return of Disney’s hand-drawn short division! This really caught me by surprise and I was utterly delighted when a brand-spankin’ new Goofy cartoon, How to Set Up Your Home Theater, began playing. At first I thought it was a rerun of one of the old 1940’s “How To . . .” Goofy shorts, but then I realized that it couldn’t be, since it deals with today’s modern technology and how to use it. It’s animated wonderfully – I honestly mistook it for a 40’s cartoon. It was simply classic Disney fun, and if you look close enough you’ll spot cameos of Mickey Mouse, Clarabelle Cow, Walt Disney, and even a portrait of Goofy from his first-ever screen debut, 1932’s Mickey’s Revue.

Goofy is featured in an all-new animated short, How to Hook Up Your Home Theater, which plays before National Treasure: Book of Secrets in theaters.
National Treasure: Book of Secrets is by no means the next legendary Disney masterpiece, but offers two solid hours of fast-paced, edge-of-your-seat, nonstop entertainment with characters you already have spent time with before. The Goofy short preceding the film is pure Disney fun and should provide plenty of laughs, and boosts the film’s value even further.

How do I rank National Treasure: Book of Secrets? (Bolded is my choice.)
  • Aaaah!
  • Blech
  • Not good
  • Good
  • Very good
  • Brilliant

National Treasure: Book of Secrets will most likely please: Disney Fans – Historians – Older Kids (ages 8-10) – Tweens (ages 11-13) – Teenagers – Young Adults – Adults

By Blake; posted December 31, 2007. All images (C) Disney.