Friday, January 11, 2008

National Treasure: Book of Secrets

Look at this cast list. Harvey Keitel, Helen Mirren, Ed Harris, Jon Voight. Oh, and Nicolas Cage is the hero. You expect a lot with a cast like that.

Nicolas Cage is a national treasure. No, not really, and especially not in his later films. But this National Treasure franchise is still making him a lot of money, as it's the most popular film at the boxoffice these days.

You want a plot? Oh, cripes. Okay, here it is: Treasure hunter Benjamin Franklin Gates (Cage) looks to discover the truth behind the assassination of Abraham Lincoln by uncovering the mystery within pages missing from assassin John Wilkes Booth's diary.

Following the plot, however, and hoping for (1) historically accurate information, blended with fiction, and (2) some sense at all in human behavior is asking a bit much. Especially if you saw the first National Treasure. It all adds up to: don't expect too much.

But if you're willing to throw analytical thinking to the wind and dive in, well, you'll still be a bit disappointed. The people around me seemed more satisfied than I was with this movie. What I saw was a bunch of chase scenes but no real explanation of why they're chasing each other, and some really implausible situations. And that pretty much sums up the entire film.

But, Helen Mirren? My God! Does she need a new fur? And didn't Ed Harris turn in some Oscar-worthy performances in years back?

I tried to hold it together, I really did. But when Cage kidnaps President, uh, whatever (Bruce Greenwood), it was all over for me, although I must admit, that part was kinda fun. But the whole let's-all-show-up-at-a-national-park and see who wins -- that whole scene was rather protracted and for little reason.

The whole movie is too long. I would have cut it at, oh, never mind. I wouldn't have filmed it at all. Go see one of the fine films that came out in 2007. And duck when #3 comes out, as it inevitably will. This franchise is not a national treasure.

Thumb's down.


At 2:33 PM, Blogger Sheryl said...

This was part of the stack of videos we watched this weekend. I agree with most of your comments - it made no sense at all. But I enjoy Helen Miren so much that it was worth it to watch her.


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