National Treasure: Book of Secrets

  • 2007-12-19
  • By Talis Saule Archdeacon

EUREKA! This Indiana-Jones-type of film jumps from one mini-adventure to another faster than you can tally up the clues.

Director: John Turteltaub

Disney has come out with yet another action/adventure movie. And, like many other Disney movies, it's captivating but lacks any real depth or character development.
"National Treasure: Book of Secrets" is an Indiana Jones-style film featuring a headstrong, erudite historian/archeologist who goes on an adventure to recover lost artifacts with his gruff but lovable father and strong-willed love interest.

After gaining fame for their exploits in National Treasure 1, Benjamin Franklin Gates (Nicholas Cage) is asked to give a speech on the Civil War, Lincoln's assassination and vast sums of secret treasure hidden somewhere in the American Midwest. His family honor is thrown into question, however, when antagonist Jeb Wilkinson (Ed Harris) presents a missing page from the Booth diary which accuses Gates' great-great-grandfather of orchestrating the plot to kill Lincoln.
So Gates sets off with his whiz-kid sidekick Riley Poole (Justin Bartha) 's a fiercely loyal genius hacker who is relatively inept at everything else 's on a quest to prove his ancestor's innocence and find the lost Civil War treasure. Gates' and Poole's adventure takes them to Paris, London and various locations around the United States. Each new clue that Gates' team 's which includes his stubborn ex-wife and grumpy father 's brilliantly leads them on ever more daring missions.

Tracking down century-old clues to long lost treasure would normally be a walk in the park for the resourceful Gates. In this quest, however, he is being hunted by a gang of bloodthirsty mercenaries who want the gold and the credit all to themselves.
The plot is action-packed enough to make the film relatively interesting, but the numerous plot holes and ridiculous ease with which the obscenely hyperbolic characters complete each task end up making the movie little more than a mindless adventure flick.
The plot holes are glaring. First, there is the fact that Gates is able to elude the Secret Service, FBI, British Royal Guard and Europol without breaking a sweat. He is so far above and beyond law enforcement agencies that the police don't even bother to show up after a ten minute car chase and gun fight through the crowded streets of London.

Then there is the fact that Gates always seems to have the perfect tool for any situation. Need to beat a private security system? Like any good historian, Gates has access to a decoder. Need to break into the oval office? Luckily the ex-wife just got an invitation to the White House. Need to soak the nearby rocks to find clues? Luckily Gates had the inexplicable foresight to bring a backpack full of water bottles. The plot was exciting and the acting was good, but don't expect anything out of the movie except a couple hours of mindless entertainment. 

Opens in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania Dec. 21.

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