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Movie Review

National Treasure: Book of Secrets

MPAA Rating: PG for some violence and action

Reviewed by: Sheri McMurray

Better than Average
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Family, Adults, Teens, Kids
Action, Adventure
2 hr. 4 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
December 21, 2007 (wide)
DVD: May 20, 2008
Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures
Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures
Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures
Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures
Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures
Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures
Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures
Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures
Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures
Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures
Relevant Issues
Featuring: Nicolas Cage, Diane Kruger, Jon Voight, Ed Harris, Helen Mirren, Harvey Keitel, Bruce Greenwood, Alicia Coppola, Justin Bartha, Ty Burrell, Christian Camargo, Joel Gretsch, Timothy V. Murphy, Michael Maize
Director: Jon Turteltaub
Producer: Oren Aviv, Jerry Bruckheimer, Chad Oman, Selwyn Roberts, Charles Segars, Mike Stenson, Jon Turteltaub, Barry H. Waldman
Distributor: Walt Disney Pictures

If you are a fan of the original “National Treasure” and you enjoyed the first movie, I know you will completely enjoy this second installment.

There is really not much that is truth in the story of “National Treasure: Book of Secrets,” although the writers have managed to have fun with many accounts we are familiar with in American History, such as the Lincoln assassination plot, the American Civil War, naming various American Presidents, visiting the oval office, not to mention The Statue of Liberty and good Queen Victoria. But, when you can tell the cast is having fun, it’s kind of hard not to yourself, so inconsistencies don’t count.

Getting the idea down straight from the get go here, this movie enjoys fiddling with American history and thoroughly has fun doing it. It is an all out action adventure akin to Indiana Jones and we, as the audience, are invited along for the ride. It is just a hoot trying to figure out the puzzle.

Benjamin Franklin Gates (Nicolas Cage) has made his mark on America from his madcap adventures from the previous film… er… a… discovery. He has won and lost love with the beautiful Abigail Chase (Diane Kruger) and she has kicked him out and kept the mansion. Riley Poole (Justin Bartha) has tried his hand at being the world renowned author and still can’t get a book sold or get the girl.

Life is just a bowl of cumquats until the evil Mitch Wilkinson (Ed Harris) enters the picture with a missing piece from Abraham Lincoln’s diary, which he claims proves Ben Gates’ great grandfather, Stylus Jefferson Gates, was a main conspirator in the plot to assassinate President Lincoln.

Well, that’s just not happenin’ for Gates or his dad, Patrick Gates (Jon Voight) whom he enlists yet again to help him on his quest to prove Wilkinson wrong and redeem the good name of his Great grandfather. Also, just to spice the punchbowl a bit, Ben Gates gets his Mom, Emily Appleton (Helen Mirren) involved, who just happens to be the only one who can decode ancient pre-Columbian native American script. Where would Ben be without the lovely ex-girlfriend Abigail, who reluctantly joins the group, and of course winds up falling back in love with Ben as the plot thickens.

There would be way too many spoilers given away if I were to map out this film for you, so I won’t here. Just ask yourself these questions: what does Abraham Lincoln, Mount Rushmore, easter egg hunts, Buckingham Palace, the President’s Birthday party and night fishing have in common? Do you like mystery, fast paced plot twists, exciting car chases through the streets of Paris, London and Washington DC, and happy endings? Then ‘National Treasure: Book of Secrets’ is your movie.

As far as I could tell, as I watched this roller coaster ride, there were no profanities uttered. There was no nudity, were no love scenes, just a couple of kisses exchanged between the love interest characters, and was not outwardly objectionable to my Christian mind. Because of the nature of this film, the main characters did break into places they were not suppose to be in, and used deception to attain access to those places. There was much humor and good spirited fun throughout this script, and some potty humor, but I never once felt offended. I will leave it up to your “humor gage” to decide for yourself, as I know we all have a different tilt.

Rating in at PG for some action violence, this film is appropriate for families to view. No blood was shown and no one was killed, although the ‘bad guy’ was obviously trapped and presumed dead at the end. Although there are hints to the fact that Ben Gates and girlfriend Abigail Chase were sharing the mansion and living together nothing was blatantly offensive. Even though Ben Gates’ parents Patrick Gates and Emily Appleton are now divorced, they did show a rekindled love for one another and it hinted to the fact they would get back together. Emily complained on two occasions that she had been drunk the night Ben was conceived, and it was not clear if she and Ben’s dad were married at the time. If these circumstances are of a concern to parents, I suggest you talk them over with your kids before you enter the theater.

I was extremely happy at the fact this film is truly all American and many points were brought to the forefront about what it means to be an American, and what it is to be and act honorably. How we should always defend what’s good and right, that family comes first, and total respect for those in office and those who have and are defending our country and the rights of those across the globe, were unmistakable points held high.

Two scenes that meant a lot to me, but may go over the heads of some viewers are as follows.

One was when Ben is attempting to convince the President that his help is needed and reminds him he is a respected and honorable man as our leader and President. Bruce Greenwood as The President, looks saddened and takes a bittersweet tone saying, “People don’t believe that stuff any more…” Ben Gates looks him evenly in the eyes and with all sincerity assures, “They wanna believe it.” At this, I heard several people sitting around me whisper in agreement.

The second was when talking with the President about what Americans and America stands for and how his ancestors, especially his Great Grandfather, defended and died for all Americans, Ben nods to the fact we should never forget their sacrifice by saying, “When someone dies for his Country, he should be honored.”

If I may get on my soapbox here, let me remind those who hang on the media and their choices in reporting the war. Not many of us take into consideration that the American military is still a voluntary one. There is no draft. We have been a presence in Iraq for five years now and counting. Those serving there volunteered to go, which shows where the American heart solidly is and where the depth of American patriotism still remains.

That said, if you attend this flick keep in mind, it is just for fun. The scenes set in many beautiful places across the world and the panoramic views from Mount Rushmore are breathtaking. Although it smacked of the first film in places, it stayed on track and kept me totally entertained to the conclusion. And note here: the opening Disney Goofy cartoon in itself, is worth the price of admission.

I can’t wait for the third “National Treasure”… there is a third one, right… or is this just another piece of the puzzle…?

Violence: Mild / Profanity: None / Sex/Nudity: None

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer Comments
Comments available:
Positive—Rarely is a sequel better than the original. “Book of Secrets” is at least as good as the first. The themes, action and overall plot, are typical for its genre, however, this movie was refreshing, and an entertaining watch. Quite a bit of “edge of the seat” stuff and, while somewhat predictable, a welcome respite during the pre-Christmas mania. There were good guys—bad guys, the usual car carnage, endearing characters (yes, even Nick) all under toned with the flavor of friendship, reconciliation and restoration of personal relationships. There is a conspicuous absence of sleazy moral and anti-Christian undertones as is so prevalent in many movies today (even in so-called good movies). If you like this type of movie, I definitely recommend it.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—John Phelps, age 51
Positive—If the first “National Treasure” movie was good, “Book of Secrets” was phenomenal. The long wait for this sequel was completely worth every minute, and indeed far surpassed my expectations. I must say I was so absorbed in the film that I found I didn’t pick it apart as thoroughly as I have other films this year. That in itself is a good thing, though; it shows just how totally safe I felt with the content and how intriguing this movie really is.

The plus side: the movie was amazing. The plot was just as realistic and filled with twists and turns as the first of the series (though I thought that this was the better movie simply because Ben Gates didn’t seem to go on as many 'pace-and-mutter-and-solve-the-clue' tangents as he did in the first). The action is wild, the treasure hunt amazing, and the cleverness of the clues and their solutions kept my attention totally suction-cupped to the screen. I did not hear even one dirty word, and Riley was hilariously funny (I almost fell out of my chair laughing during the London car scene) without being crude. Speaking of Riley, I counted 3 times in the movie where he was willing to sacrifice himself and his well being to do the unsavory tasks and let his friends be safe or follow their interests. As well, Ben is willing to sacrifice himself for his family, and an act of heroism by a central character saves the lives of the others. And the movie was educational as well; I never knew there were 3 Statues of Liberty!

The negatives: A lot of the story references the fact that Ben and his girlfriend Abigail are split up (they lived together without being married). Patrick (Ben’s father) and Ben’s mother have been separated for 32 years, and they argue several times, with Ben’s mother referencing alcohol as one of the only reasons she married Patrick. After a thrilling escape scene, we get a not-too-pleasant view of a bit too much of Ben’s mother’s chest, but it was obviously unintentional (that sort of thing will happen when you’ve just had a harrowing escape) and it was not a focal point of the scene. Abigail and a White House employee kiss passionately. And of course, there is all the intrigue, stealing, sneaking around, and breaking in that occurs when one is on a top-secret treasure hunt. Also, a flashback to the past shows the assassination of Abraham Lincoln (not in great detail) as well as a young boy having to watch his father die.

I was a little upset that some of the scenes/lines I’ve seen in the previews were not present in the movie; I would have LOVED to see Riley going off on his “doom” speech that we saw in the trailer. But all in all, the pluses well outweigh the negatives in this movie. It was at once hysterically funny and brilliantly clever, with breathtaking action sequences, wonderfully intriguing locations (the swaying platform, anyone?) and of course, educational value. All while being very believable and very clean. I’m definitely going back to see this in the theater again.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Rachel Davidson, age 19
Positive—…a very good movie; the first movie was better, but still a great movie. Good language and not offensive in anyway. We would recommend it.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Jon and Sarah, age 26 and 24
Positive—Our entire family watched this film last night and it was exceptional! We all enjoyed it and learned a lot too! There were three parts I found somewhat objectionable: 1) The insinuation of two characters living together who aren’t married, 2) the woman seductively distracting a man in order for the main character to get the piece of a clue; and 3) at the very beginning of the movie there is a scene where President Lincoln and another man are shot and this did upset my two youngest children slightly for a few minutes into the movie. I was getting popcorn and didn’t see it, but my husband wished he had known it was coming. This scene was used to set up the whole entire movie, but still was upsetting. After that we all enjoyed the movie very much!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Sherrie, age 40
Positive—Our entire family watched this film last night and it was exceptional! We all enjoyed it and learned a lot too! There were three parts I found somewhat objectionable: 1) The insinuation of two characters living together who aren’t married, 2) the woman seductively distracting a man in order for the main character to get the piece of a clue; and 3) at the very beginning of the movie there is a scene where President Lincoln and another man are shot and this did upset my two youngest children slightly for a few minutes into the movie. I was getting popcorn and didn’t see it, but my husband wished he had known it was coming. This scene was used to set up the whole entire movie, but still was upsetting. After that we all enjoyed the movie very much!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Sherrie, age 40
Positive—I think “National Treasure” is one of the best movies out so far. It has a lot of action and suspense. Not only that, it’s a pretty clean movie. Good for the whole family. I was a little skeptical about the movie because it’s a sequel, but it certainly wasn’t disappointing. A matter of fact, I think it was better then the original. The camera work was excellent, and the acting was great. Casting Helen Mirren, Ed Harris and Harvey Keitel added good star power. the plot was very interesting and very entertaining. The car chase scene wasn’t as good as the one in “The Bourne Identity,” but it had much hoopla and was fun to watch. The only issue I had was the scene when they were looking for a clue in the President’s office, the character, Abigail Chase was using her sex appeal to distract the character Connor. There may be a discrepancy there, maybe she was just playing damsel in distress. Other than that, the movie was captivating.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Gene Cooks, age 32
Positive—Overall, the movie is a great family movie. I went to see it with members of my fiance’s family and we all loved it. I can’t remember any foul language used at all and the action scenes never got out of hand. History is twisted a little to make for a good film (slightly bothersome to a history minor like myself…). A recommended movie for everyone.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Chase Clemons, age 21
Positive—Riveting, no. On par with the first, close. A little strange in a couple of places. How does finding or not finding the treasure prove or not prove the Ben Gates ancestors innocence? That was never really cleared up. Also, some of the ways they found their way into places were much less believable. (Locked door into the library someone just happens to open at the right time, and they just walk through) I went back and saw the first Treasure movie, after seeing “Book of Secrets,” and it really was much more entertaining on a few accounts. The first movie had a lot more history, the characters seemed to be a lot smarter, and the plot twists and ways they found their way into places seemed to be a lot more inventive. “Book of Secrets” failed on two accounts for me. One; the scene in the Oval Office was way too adult oriented, and to me showed too much, and made the lead female character seem less intelligent, and much less faithful! She seemed to enjoy that really long kiss a little too much! The other way it failed for me was just that the stunts were less believable—still good, but less believable. It’s hard when it seems people put things into movies that offend, without adding to the story, but rather distracting from it. I miss innocence; it is a rarity (back to Oval Office scene).
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Jason Stone, age 41
Positive—If you liked the first, you’ll love the second. As a Christian homeschool mom, I find it hard to choose films that entertain without crossing those lines (parents, you know which lines I’m talking about). Throughout the entire film, beginning to end, I found myself comfortably relaxed and at ease that my son was beside me. This movie has it all—a smart storyline, a rollercoaster of thrills, many twists and turns, superb acting and believable characters. I found nothing offensive. Many laughs throughout. Very pro-America and pro-history film. Highly recommend.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Diana O, age 38
Positive—“National Treasure” 2 is much better than the 1st. Nicolas Cage brings so much enthusiasm to his character. This is his movie. This film not only provides action, but it also provides comedy. Not a lot of swearing in this film, which is a big yes. Adding Ed Harris to the sequel gave “National Treasure” 2 a great positive rating. …Jon Voight played a great role as his aged father. The movie got a little off with the addition of his mother Helen Mirren. It wouldn’t have made any difference if they were divorced or not. …This movie should be a kick for the whole family. …
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Jonathan Tran, age 24
Positive—This was a very good film. We really liked the first one, so we had to see the sequel. I often depend on the reviews for PG-rated films in determining to take younger children. Our youngest did not see the first “National Treasure,” we thought the mystery theme would escape him at the time. After reading the review, we decided to take him to this one. Overall, it was fine. However, the review given says that “no one was killed, although the bad guy is presumed dead at the end” That’s not correct. The opening minutes of the movie were intense for young children, Booth walks up and puts his gun to the back of President Lincoln’s head and then the camera switches to Booth as he pulls the trigger. Also, in a related scene, a bad guy points his gun at Gates (great grandfather) as Gates young son watches from behind the table. The bad guy pulls the trigger, the scene then switches to show Gates dying in his sons arms. Also, at the end of the film, when the bad guy (Wilkinson) is swept under the current, the scene switches and shows him floating face up, lifeless in the water.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Mike, age 48
Positive—This movie was great! You get swept into the story from the first scene and stay glued to it to the last second. There were only two disappointments: one when the movie ended. It was so good, you just want it to keep going. The other disappointment: the characters choose to live together instead of marry. As another person said, there are no anti-Christian undertones—how refreshing in a well written story!!! We had a group of two adults in their 40s, one 18 year old male, and one 10 year old girl. We all enjoyed it. Go see this movie.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Becky, age 49
Positive—Overall, this is a great movie. There is one part that I didn’t need to see, in the Oval Office Abigail bends down looking for her “lost” earring several times. Her shirt hangs low, and you see much of her exposed ____ (almost everything… but her _____s); it wasn’t very nice. Other than that, great movie!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Amy, age 37
Positive—This was a great movie!! Me and my family really enjoyed it! There’s only three parts that aren’t so pleasant. The first is in the beginning when Abigail gets home with her new boyfriend, and she is wearing a low-neck dress that shows some cleavage. The second is in the Oval Office when Abigail is searching for her earring. She bends over a couple times, and since she is again wearing a low-neck dress you get a not-so-nice view of her chest. Although you don’t see everything, you do see quite a bit. The last part is with Ben’s mom, you can see (accidentally) some cleavage, and a little bit of exposed chest. Other than that it is a very good movie!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Rick, age 29
Positive—…I can’t say I agree that it was any better than the first one, I would say they are about the same. I thought it was a pretty clean movie, I don’t remember any bad language, there is the scene where Lincoln gets murdered, though they don’t show it. There is one scene where there’s a bit of cleavage (while in the oval office), though I really didn’t think it was that much as compared to some other movies! It’s a little cheesy in places, very patriotic, but its definitely a good family movie, which you don’t see very often…
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Krys, age 26, Canada
Positive—My 12 year old son and I watched this and thought it was a great movie and liked it better than the first one so that means we loved it. Can’t wait till the DVD comes out.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Ken Stepp, age 52
Neutral—“It’s all about making money these days,” is the comment made by a 19 year old I was with. “Yeah, it’s a remake of the first one—there was nothing different,” said the 14 year old boy with him. And I agree. The pizzazz and sparkle weren’t here in the sequel. However, this was still a fun movie to see, and is definitely to be applauded for it’s clean script (okay, Ben, marry Abigail—Mr. Can’t-have-a-black mark-on-my-family-name), and intelligent plot. Riley is hilarious. Sequels are tough, especially when the first movie was so absolutely amazing.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—PD Webb, age 50+
Neutral—…It was a good movie, with a strange twist of secrets with roots in the American Civil War. However, I have comments concerning the way the story unraveled. In the beginning the movie takes place with the Lincoln assassination. A man who is shot while decoding a paper for a group of men is an ancestor of Nicholas Cage. It was very suspenseful, however, Hollywood in an attempt to be, “real” wrote the storyline with Cage living with his girlfriend. This part was offensive, because Hollywood incessantly portrays this as acceptable behavior. The two reconcile and Cage is asked to move back in. The rest of the movie kept me fairly interested, with every clue leading to the next, and eventually… You’ll have to see for yourself, sorry. The movie can be seen by children, as there was not one curse word nor any sexual scenes of any type. Everyone was well covered and there was no inferences to sex of any kind. You could tell though that the characters held a secular world view, but the audience is not beat over the head with it.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Brett Farris, age 39
Neutral—The movie is somewhat predictable. The original was a lot more fun simply because you didn’t know what was going to happen next. This one felt like you had already been there. The acting was good. Character development not so much. The villain wasn’t evil enough. I could never make up my mind if he was really that bad or not. That was one of the strengths of the first film with Sean Bean. The scene in the Oval Office could have been done without the focus on the sexuality of the woman (tame by Hollywood standards, true). The fact that the two leads were living together outside of marriage and then get back together at the end is typical of the (im)morality of our day. All in all, it could have been better both in plot and character development and in its morality.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Tim, age 45
Neutral—This movie was better than others I’ve seen, but not as good as the original. I mostly enjoyed the movie, but what disappoints me is when directors and writers think the audience is dumb. The “bad guy” seemed wishy-washy and what was his motivation for faking Gates' ancestor’s name, anyway? Were we supposed to be so happy they found what they were looking for and cheated death we were to forget the first part of the movie? How does finding what they were looking for exonerate the ancestor? All it does is prove it’s there, not that he wasn’t in on the plot to assassinate Lincoln. If it was explained, I didn’t catch it. This plot device to get Gates involved seemed like an after-thought and they could have done a better job getting the movie to come full circle.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Cristel, age 32
Negative—After reading many of the positive reviews on Christian Spotlight my boyfriend and I sat down to watch this movie. However, it was short lived. We were sadly disappointed when within the first 10 minutes of the movie there were three provocatively dressed women. The Bible teaches that we put no wicked thing before us. In the world we live, in sexual perversion and promiscuity is found on every hand. As a christian believer were trying to live a holy and righteous life before Christ. We’re attempting to stay away from garbage—not welcoming it into our lives and home. It’s getting increasingly difficult to distinguish between the world and those that are to be separated for his name’s sake. I for one intend to live a holy and righteous life before Christ and refraining from this filth is a must.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Sherry, age 41, Canada
Negative—As Christians we have allowed our values and morals to slowly decline over the years, and now we have found ourselves tolerant. “National Treasure” part 1 was an awesome movie, I knew that 2 had it’s work cut out for it, well… I would have never thought that it would stoop so low as to portray women the way they it did. I am truly ashamed of Disney, they don’t so-call allow profanity, but they do allow women’s breast to hang out in all sorts of ways and all sorts of women! We as Christians and parents wonder why pornography is so wide spread today, why don’t you take a good look at the movies we watch, the music we allow in our homes and cars, and the magazines we look at. I really think that Disney needs to step up to the plate and raise their values and morals so that their movies are of family quality, not trash. It is absolutely uncalled for that a women of age reveals her breast so easily. “National Treasure” 2 had Ben Gates’ mom’s breasts revealed numerous times, and the kissing seen in the Oval Office was so tasteless. What are you thinking Disney? As a Wife, Mom, and Christian I ask you to please not let Family values go. …
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Melissa Poole, age 34
Negative—I was surprised when my husband and I viewed this that no one had warned us not to go—my friends know exactly what I don’t like and yet, they didn’t mention the living together concept that was very much accepted as okay. When they had broken up and he had to move out, that was enough for me not to recommend it, but at the end, when she says he can move back in, instead of maybe even mentioning marriage, that pushed us over the edge of disappointment. I will not recommend this to anyone, even though the other parts of the movie didn’t seem offensive. Living together, and promoting it, doesn’t sit well with me. The review of this movie seems to say that the living together was just implied, but I had to disagree, especially with the ending.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Karen, age 33
Comments from young people
Positive—I loved this movie. I went to see it and I just loved all the action and humor in it. It is rated PG and there are some moments where little children might be scared. There are also some parts that can be a bit confusing and the camera angles will change a lot but other than that I thought it was wonderful. I can’t wait to own it on DVD!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Jen, age 14
Positive—I wasn’t expecting much from this, so I wasn’t disappointed, but I wasn’t surprised either. It was everything I thought I would be, but nothing more: decently entertaining, but not half as good as the first. Morally, I found basically nothing wrong, but unlike the first (which was completely clean and had NOTHING wrong with it at all) I didn’t like how in the sequel, we see that Ben and Abigail didn’t get married at the end of the first, they simply moved in together. Only a small detail, but others might find it offensive. There’s one particularly intense scene at the very beginning that might scare kids younger than ten. Anyone else should be fine. Even if you haven’t seen the first, you won’t be too lost as far as the story goes. All in all I thought it was pretty good, but not worth a third time in theaters.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Linda, age 16
Positive—“National Treasure: Book of Secrets” is amazing! Here is a movie that proves that violence, foul language, and sex are not required in order to make a good, enjoyable film. I was not pleased with some of the clothing chosen for Abigail, mostly because of the low necklines. Also, the fact that Ben had been living with her was obviously wrong and, a bit offensive to me as well. Other than these few things, I have nothing against the movie. Abigail’s kiss in the Oval Office was a bit long and overdone, but humorous (given the circumstances.) I was very pleased that Ben’s parents made up and got back together in the end. I think overall this is a very family-friendly movie and I wouldn’t hesitate at all in recommending it to any of my friends.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Alatheia Larsen, age 16
Neutral—This movie was pretty cool. The beginning was a little slow and boring, but it got more exiting as the it progressed. I noticed that it was almost exactly like the first movie, just a different story. The plot was the same, the order in which things happened was the same, but other than that it was okay.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Ty Jackson, age 12
Negative—This movie was very boring. I loved the first one, how they mixed in legends with modern day treasure hunters, it was a thrill ride. I expected as much from the second one and maybe that’s where I, as the viewer, went wrong. I spent the first forty minutes in the theatre waiting for them to do something exciting and the next twenty minutes checking my phone for the time. By the sixty minute mark I was out of there. They introduce plot lines in the middle of the movie, take forever to get on track, don’t establish character motives, and it’s all very repetitive. During the movie I kept wondering, haven’t I heard these conversations before? Oh, yeah, in the first one! It’s inoffensive, unless very bad sequels offend you.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Kay, age 17
Negative—This movie was, simply put, mediocre. Poorly made and acted, confusing with a poorly-written script and to tell you the truth I wasn’t actually interested 'till later on in the movie. A question, how sad is it when a woman is strutting her stuff to hold a mans attention IN A DISNEY MOVIE!?!? Another question, does a quirky comment have to be thrown in for anything that happens in a serious situation? Something like “Why can’t a girl see me do this?” when the characters just survived almost certain death? I disliked this movie because it was very poor, although I did like when CAGE went ''Ello!' in a British accent… Ignore this film and spend your money and a different holiday fare that is worth your money, THE GOLDEN COMPASS or BEE MOVIE.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 2
—Joshua, age 14
Negative—this movie was alright for children—no sex, no drugs, no swears. However, it was a terribly jumpy plot, lame dialogue, extreme cheesy love stuff… the only thing that was alright was it made me laugh once or twice. It was conflict, resolution, conflict, resolution, etc. etc. constantly… it was ridiculous. For example (this actually happened)—water starts pouring in and for about half a second Nicolas Cage looks around and then “hey how about we turn this giant crank in the middle of the room, c’mon guys help me!”… it was that type of thing over and over again. In addition… isney has nicely done it again with accepting the fact that two unmarried people are living together and some other small things like that. If you have small children who want an adventure then it’s worth a rent, but otherwise save your money for better stuff.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 1
—Erik, age 16
Positive—Not many times does a sequel come along that’s decent, let alone good. But this movie has been that one exception. “National Treasure” was very fun to watch, and it was great how they sort of remake history. One of my favorite scenes is when they remake the Lincoln assassination. The action is great, the humor is there, and Jon Turteltaub has done it again.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Kurt, age 16
Positive—THIS IS A AWESOME MOVIE! It is as good as the first one. It’s packed with history intertwined with a interesting fiction story, and is packed with action that will keep you on the edge of your seat! Perfect for the whole family (although younger children might not understand the plot) My siblings, ages 7, 9 and 13 also saw the film and loved it. GREAT MOVIE! Rarely is the sequel to a movie as good or better than the first, but “National Treasure: Book of Secrets” is just as good as the first. This is one of the best movies I’ve seen this year! Good, action packed with some humor, this is an excellent pick for a film the whole family can enjoy this holiday season!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Emily, age 16
Positive—This was the best movie that I have ever seen in my entire life!!!… This was the best movie since “Lord of the Rings.” …My mum, dad and three brothers loved it. …
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Evanna, age 13
Positive—I really did enjoy this movie, although it’s not exactly my type, and there were some negative points that I will discuss. This movie was too much like the first one. In the previous movie, I was fascinated by the thought that there could be a treasure out there, and the everyday things I use could be clues to this historical wonder. This happening twice? I don’t think so. That kind of ruined it for me.

The next thing I was disappointed in was Ben and Abigail’s relationship. At the end of the first movie, I got the impression that Ben and Abigail had gotten married. We find out first thing in “National Treasure: Book of Secrets” that this is not the case. They were simply living together in that humongous house. There is one scene where Abigail is heavily making out (including noises) with her boyfriend (not Ben) in order to stall for time so Ben can get a vital piece of secret information. (I could tell you more, but that would totally ruin the movie for you). So, other than being extremely cliché, it was a good movie with the old characters and some new ones. I rarely ever go see movies at the theater, but it was fun watching this one on the big screen.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Christa, age 14
Positive—I absolutely LOVE this movie! My mum and dad packed me and all of my brothers into the car, and we went the day it came out. IT WAS THE BEST MOVIE EVER. Sure, “Pirates of the Caribbean” ROCKS, so does “Lord of the Rings.” But, this has you thinking and on the edge of your seat. …it’s kind of scary for the little kids. But, my brothers (age 10, 7 and 5) loved it, and my mum and dad thought it was the movie of the year. I strongly encourage you to go see it! The first one (to some) is slightly better, but I say, they equally out beat each other on different levels. There’s a lot more humour in the second one, but it’s just comic relief. …GO AND SEE IT!!! And watch for the England scene! It’s funny, AND it’s where I live!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Evanna, age 13, Great Britain
Positive—This is a great movie! It has intense action, breath-taking adventure, and is perfectly clean. I would even say that this movie is alright for a first grader to see. The reason being is because I saw it with a first grader, and he, as well as me, my grandfather, and my older brother were glued to the screen. If you’re a fan of action/adventure, see “National Treasure: Book Of Secrets.” You won’t be disappointed.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Zac P., age 13
Positive—I absolutely LOVED this film!!! Nicholas Cage did a great job. I think the movies action scenes were awesome. And as a Christian I think this movie was very clean; not one thing bothered me throughout the whole movie. …It made me cry. …The movie was so thrilling that I was on the edge of my seat right from the beginning of the movie. I encourage you to see the movie. I might see you in the theatre because I want to go see it again!!!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Riden, age 12
Positive—My whole family loved this movie! The only thing I found offensive (other than marriage issues) is when Abigail comes home from a date and is wearing a low neck dress that shows a lot of cleavage and reveals a bit of her _____. Also, in the oval office, there is an unpleasant view …when she leans over and her shirt hangs low. Those are the only things wrong. I highly recommend it!!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Tina, age 15
Negative—…I loved the first movie and was eager to see the second. This one, however, was a real bomb. I knew, going into it, that the acting would be cheesy and the plot would be far-fetched, but this movie was, in my opinion, a jumbled mess of random clues with little plot. …It had potential, but just blew it. Of course, I should mention that it had a few redeeming qualities. At times, it was funny, and it has almost nothing objectionable, which is very valuable when I choose what to watch. Unfortunately, the bad outweighed the good in this one.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 2
—Joel Dugard, age 15, Canada
Positive—I think it was a good sequel as sequels go. Personally sequels are usually horribly made with too much “comic relief,” or maybe just extra clichéd. I guess this was a pretty good movie as far as that goes. Although, I think it was a bad role for Ed Harris, because his character was kind of low key and neglected. I don’t think his character mattered as much as Sean Bean in the first “National Treasure.” I don’t recall anything being inappropriate in any way, except maybe for tiny children who are disturbed and confused by mysteries. ***Spoiler Warning: Maybe Little Bit*** In the end, the “bad” guy drowns to save everyone else’s lives, which might be sad for little children I guess.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Ruthy, age 14
Positive—“National Treasure” is one of my favourite films, and I was so excited when I found out there was a sequel. I must say, at first I was worried to find that Abigail and Ben were not together, but as the film went on, I found their reasoning believable and the situation provided many funny scenes. Like in the first film, when Ben makes insane plans to steal the Declaration of Independence, you roll your eyes or cringe at some of his out of this world suggestions. But it is all done in such clever ways you even begin to wonder if it’s possible. Riley is just as funny.

…This film just got better and better the more I watched it. It has almost as much excitement and action as the Pirates of the Caribbean sequels, without being three hours long. Something I really think Americans should take note of in this film is Ben’s pride in his country’s history and values. All countries have things to be proud of and things not to be proud of. As an Australian, I see a totally different side to American’s in this film. I believe American’s should really listen to some of what Ben says and be proud of it. Anyway, a fun and exciting film for everyone! What more could you want?
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Louise Iana, age 15, Australia
Positive—This was probably the best movie I have seen this year! I saw it with my dad the other day. I have never seen a perfect film, without the slightest objection, and though this movie is not that, it is pretty close! It resembles the first one in some ways, but that is what I love about it. Ben and Abigail living together wasn’t exactly alright with me, and Ben’s parents argue over some unneeded matters. There is gun shooting, but no one gets killed by it, except for the opening scene about the Abraham Lincoln assassination, but no blood is shown. When Ben tries to do something good, some bad guy always pops up to get in his way. In Romans 7 Paul says, 'When I want to do good, evil is right there with me.' This is kinda how Ben’s circumstance always goes. If you like to be near to the edge of your seat, nonstop action, humor, and happy endings, this is the movie for you. Riley is hilarious! Spend the 7 bucks, or whatever it costs, and go enjoy a movie that is unforgettable! At least, until they make a third one, or will they?
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Holly, age 12
Positive—I was expecting it to be fun. Not as believable as the first one, but fun all the same. And it was. It had energy, excitement, and beautiful settings. I was astounded! The cast was definitely having a good time. Nothing too offensive, except the boyfriend moving in thing. (I’ve noticed Hollywood has recently been doing that a lot. Weird. I’ve never heard of anyone [or met anyone] who has done that before in real life…) I felt it was a good movie to use our gift card on, as it was not too predictable nor disturbing. It was nice to kickback, relax, and enjoy the ride for once. After all, not everyone goes to movies for realism, and if they do, not all the time. I had fun at this one!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—K.c. Tinsworth, age 13
Positive—I thought that this movie was great. The only thing that I thought was bad was when Ben said he was living with his girlfriend. I thought since the first movie was that they had gotten married. It kind of ruined it for me. But the rest of the movie was great. I hope they make a National Treasure 3!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Joanna Childress, age 17
Positive—Overall, the movie is clean and is one a person can watch without the need for profanity or too much violence. The violence isn’t much, and I heard one usage of 'Oh G-d'. There was a scene where a man was looking at a woman’s behind for a second, and another where the woman kissed the man for what seemed like a minute so another person could secretly get one of the clues. In the scene before that there is a kid who held up a bent finger to a man, obvious meaning to be the third finger. Other than that, the movie is clean and exciting.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Jason, age 15
Neutral—…I thought it was pretty good. I’ll admit it wasn’t as good at the original, but this was pretty good. I felt the end was kind of slow and I was like, 'When is this going to be over?' But I liked in nonetheless. There were a few objectionable things involved with this movie, and the main thing was that Ben and Abigal were living together, and they weren’t married. That offended me, since we are not supposed to be living like that unless we’re married to someone. We’re not supposed to make a commitment like that until after our wedding day. It makes me sad to think viewers will watch that and think its okay for them to live with their boyfriend/girlfriend when they’re not married.

I seriously would have given this movie a “good” rating if Ben and Abigail were not living with each other! Another thing was that Abigail wore this cleavage dress in order for another guy to see her. I wonder, why does Hollywood add that stuff? It would make the movie SO much better if they wouldn’t add that stuff to their scripts! On another review site, they do mention they say Jesus’s name in vain, but I don’t remember hearing that. For the most part, this movie’s good but has its rough edges.

If they left the stuff out of the script that I mentioned above, this movie would be better than the original! But since Hollywood just likes to throw some garbage in their movies… oh well. I wouldn’t recommend this movie to kids 7 (8?) and under, since there is a bad guy, and it might scare them. If you’re looking for a non-offensive movie with a lot more message, I’d recommend “Enchanted.”
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Sarah, age 17
Positive—It wasn’t as good as the first, but still pretty good. Justin Bartha still delivers loads of laughs. Jerry Bruckheimer keeps the action coming. And Nicolas Cage is great (but he’s good in every movie he’s in). But the 1st one is still funnier and has more action.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Sam, age 11
Positive—This movie is awesome in every way, just like the first 1. Guy died, but they didn’t show it. It had history in it, but mostly fiction. Unlike some movies, the sequel is not as great as the first. This is better than the first. This is clean; I found nothing that would drive people away unless the violence would drive people away. It was a very good plot—fast-paced action and a thriller anyone who liked the first would love this my rating 5/5
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Steven Herd, age 13
Movie Critics
…Producer Jerry Bruckheimer… has cleverly hit on a hit formula: old-fashioned entertainment with modern production values and underlying themes of patriotism and family loyalty. …
—Claudia Puig, USA Today
…This time around… the riddles are conspicuously less clever, the humor more obvious, the stabs at educational value even more perfunctory. …
…silly, over-the-top and sure to make a gazillion bucks… it’s definitely true that whatever fun the film contains is found in the getting there…
—Bill Goodykoontz, The Arizona Republic
…Wildly unbelievable, but entertaining, the ‘National Treasure’ series seems headed for a franchise that makes American history cool, thrilling and fun—if not always exactly accurate.
—Jolie Williamson, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
…One of the real disappointments here is the film’s matter-of-fact attitude toward Ben and Abby’s once-and-future cohabitation. …
—Adam R. Holz, Plugged In