National Treasure: Book of Secrets (5/10)
by Tony Medley
“Nobody ever went broke
underestimating the intelligence of the American public,” said Henry
Mencken. Jerry Bruckheimer is no dummy. He must have these words
plastered on his office wall because his movies certainly don’t assume
any level of intelligence of his viewers. When he gets a successful
formula, he sticks with it for all its worth.
The first in this series,
“National Treasure” (2004) was truly idiotic. But it grossed $347
million! So Bruckheimer set about to make the same movie again, and
that’s what we’ve got here, the exact same movie, the exact same
characters. Only the locations and subject matter have been changed to
protect the innocent, but it’s still idiotic.
That wasn’t the only reason
I knew I wasn’t going to like this. The trailer shows a scene that was
stolen lock, stock, and barrel from 1953’s Roman Holiday, in
which Gregory Peck sticks his arm in a hole, screams, and pulls it out
sans hand, frightening Audrey Hepburn. It was cute and charming the
first time in 1953. In 2007, it is only derivative. But to show this in
a trailer, indicates just how vacuous this movie is. If the best scene
they can show to try to lure audiences into the theater is a scene that
was first done 54 years ago, there’s not much to expect from the rest of
I gave this a slightly
higher rating because minutes 60-80 are relatively entertaining. But the
rest of it is pure dreck. Director Jon Turtletaub has even added a car
chase that is so bad one wants to look away.
Need I give a synopsis?
Certainly not for those unfortunate enough to have had to sit through
“National Treasure” three years ago. Ben Gates (Nicolas Cage) is trying
to prove that one of his ancestors wasn’t in on the conspiracy to kill
Abraham Lincoln. Naturally he has to decipher many codes that nobody
outside of a Hollywood script would have a clue about, but which Ben
unerringly answers almost without second thought, which amazes his
compatriots, his separated wife Abigail Chase (Diane Kruger, who is
starting to look like a normal woman instead of the beauty she used to
be) and Riley Poole (Justin Bartha) who ooooh and aaaaah at the way he
can get right to the point.
Patrick Gates (Jon Voight),
Ben’s father is back, but added to the mix is his mother, Emily Appleton
(Helen Mirren). Ed Harris is the paper maché bad guy, Mitch Wilkinson,
who will do anything to get the mcguffin that Ben has that will lead him
to the Lost City of Gold (which I always thought was supposed to be in
the southwest; Turtletaub places it at Mount Rushmore).
The only real improvement
over the first one is that this one is about 6 minutes shorter, at 125