Reviewed by: Sheri McMurray
Abraham Lincoln—1863 Lincoln Presidential Proclamation
|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|
|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.