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National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets (CE)
DVD disk
May 28, 2008 By: Mathew Plale
National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets (CE) order
Director:
Jon Turteltaub

Actors:
Nicolas Cage
Jon Voight
Ed Harris

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Ben Gates (Cage) and his adventurer sidekicks are back for more code-cracking in this sequel to 2004's National Treasure. This time around, Gates must clear his family's name, which has recently been linked to the Lincoln Assassination.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Only in a movie could a character top themselves after stealing the Declaration of Independence just three years earlier

Benjamin Franklin Gates (Nicolas Cage, as flat as ever) is backso are comic relief Riley (Justin Barthe), kind-of girlfriend Abigail Chase (Diane Kruger), his father Patrick Henry Gates (Jon Voight), and Agent Sadusky (Harvey Keitel). Of course, if you havent seen 2004s National Treasure, this means nothing to youand it just as well could mean nothing even if you have.

National Treasure: Book of Secrets is a shameless retread of its predecessor, hurling more ciphers and conspiracies at the viewer, but as few setbacks as possible at our heroes. This go-around, the Gates family name is targeted and linked to the 1865 assassination of Abraham Lincoln, no thanks to a missing page from John Wilkes Booths diary, presented by evil (by Disney standards, at least) antiquities dealer Mitch Wilkinson (Ed Harris). And somehow, someway, this is all connected to The City of Gold

And so the globetrotting begins. Guided by returning ringleader Jon Turteltaub, the troop makes their way to the Statue of Liberty (not that one), Buckingham Palace, the Oval Office, and before you know it, were only halfway through the quest and out of gasand Ben hasnt even kidnapped the President of the United States yet!

Enjoying Book of Secrets, with all of its contrived conveniences, implausible plot points, and clues only five people in the world can decode (all of whom happen to be on this adventure), requires the audience to turn off their brains (and backup generators). In other words, it can be done. Do you really think I expected to give Book of Secrets three stars?

It was fun, and for a Disney sequel to a Disney movie, thats all that matters. And in a way, Im eager to see where Gates and his cronies leave their tracks if and when National Treasure 3 is greenlighted. Ventures to Colonial Williamsburg and Asbury Park, NJ wont be as exciting as, say, a cave under Mount Rushmore, but imagine the preposterous conspiracies the screenwriters will dream up.
THE EXTRAS
Disc One:

Audio Commentary with Director Jon Turteltaub and Actor Jon Voight: Though Turteltaub does most of the talking, the duo has terrific chemistry here, making for a breezy listen. The worst part? Turteltaub praises Cage for his performance.

Disc Two:

Deleted Scenes (14:00): Thanks to Jon Turteltaubs explanatory introductions for the scenes, these five are worth a look. The scenes themselves will fulfill fans, but its easy to see why they were cut.

Secrets of a Sequel (6:51) takes a look at the perks of making a sequel to a blockbuster through interviews and on-set footage.

The Book of Secrets: On Location (9:46) takes us across the world to illustrate the thrill and importance of on-location shooting.

The Treasure Reel (5:01): This collection of bloopers & outtakes runs just short enough to be amusing.

Street Stunts: Creating the London Chase (9:41): This is a fascinating look atyou guessed itthe car chase through Londons crowded streets. Included is footage from a deleted scene shot at St. Pauls Cathedral.

Underground Action (6:47): Through interviews and behind-the-scenes footage, this featurette offers a look at the movies climax.

Evolution of a Golden City (10:19) offers an in-depth look at the construction of the Cibola set, featured prominently in the movies final act.

Knights of the Golden Circle (2:38) is a biographical look at the society (to which John Wilkes Booth was a member) and how they figure into National Treasure 2s plot.

Cover Story: Crafting the Presidents Book (4:30): Here we have a look at the myth of The Presidents Book, featured in the movie as a truth-holder of such secrets as Area 51 and the JFK assassination. A bit short, but the best of the featurettesespecially for those conspiracy theorists out there.

Inside the Library of Congress (8:39) takes us, well, inside the Library of Congress for a tour of their extensive collection, which holds (amongst other items) books, photographs, film/music, and of course, 500 globes. A fascinating bit for the geek in all of us.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
Book of Secrets retreads so much from its predecessor, it's likely that only fans of the original will get their deserved kicks. Go in expecting an outlandish chase with implausibilities left and right, and you'll have a well-spent two hours.
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