Sunday, August 15, 2010

#54 - National Treasure: Book of Secrets - 2007

The 5th movie I watched this week was National Treasure: Book of Secrets. A lot of people say it is very rare to enjoy the sequels to movies better than the original however just like the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise in this case I enjoyed the 2nd one better than the original. I'm not sure how many other franchise's I would say that about but just off the top of my head I would have to say the Empire Strikes Back was better than Star Wars and Fletch Lives was better than Fletch. There we go, two more instances where I think the sequels were better than the original. Below is my detailed review of this film!

The cast was all back again sans Ian this time and instead Ed Harris played the bad guy, Mitch Wilkenson. Helen Mirren joined the cast as Ben Gates mom and Bruce Greenwood played the role of the United States President. One individual who had a small role in the original but bigger role yet still minimal was Ty Burrell who played Conno, Abigail's "friend" from the White House. Although his role is minimal everytime I saw him all I could think of was Phil Dunphy, Phil Dunphy, Phil Dunphy. I am obviously referring to his character on ABC's Modern Family which is one of my favorite tv show's on right now!

One thing I loved about the first one was the unique and interesting storyline and for this one they upped the ante even more. This story revolved around the Lincoln Assassination and the Gates family, more specifically Ben and his father Patrick were told during a speech they were given that a family member was in fact one of the men responsible for planning the assassination on President Lincoln. The film starts out with a short scene depicting the shooting of President Lincoln which also had intertwined a conversation between Booth, a counterpart of his, and Patrick Gates great grandfather. The film really got off to a quick start with the accusation made by Mitch Wilkenson and obviously it develops from there.

There are some really cool settings for this movie as well as it takes us to England, Mt. Vernon, The Library of Congress, and Mount Rushmore. The first is England where Ben, Abigail, and Riley get some hidden clues from the resolute desk in the Queens office. Next there is a brief shot of Ben and Abigail in the Oval Office at the White House (a set scene I'm sure for this one) along with Connor who helped them get access in. After that it is off to Mount Vernon where there is a cool scene with Ben and the President where Ben takes the President down below the property and asks him about the Book of Secrets. From what I can gather I have a feeling they actually shot this scene at Mt. Vernon but I cannot confirm that.

After that there is a really cool scene in the Library of Congress and although its very short I loved the entire scene shot there. Even though there really is no upper section like that at the Library of Congress and a set was built for this scene the whole scene was very cool and I loved the way the Book of Secrets popped out of a special compartment up in one of the bookcases up there. Very cool. This is just me here speaking but if a book like that really existed would it not be in a much more secure location that the Library of Congress? Maybe somewhere like the White House?? I'm just saying.

Last but not least was the scenes shot at Mount Rushmore. Now they did shoot these scenes there but of course the inside cave sequences would have been sets but the outside shots were definitely shot in South Dakota at Mount Rushmore. These were easily the most visual scenes in the film and both the outdoor and indoor cave scenes were stunning. There was a very cool looking sliding floor that Ben, Abigail, Riley, and Mitch had to all overcome to move on in the cave. The scenes got more visually stunning all building up to the City of Gold which when I first saw it reminded me of something you would see in one of the Mummy movies. It literally looked like you could have seen it in one of those movies. Very goldish should I say and very large, even larger than the treasure in the first. Then again this was called the "city" of Gold so I guess that shouldn't be a surprise. Still very cool looking.

This movie was a bit shorter than the first, by 7 minutes, but flowed perfectly throughout and actually in my mind had more action to it. There was also more humor in this one and some of my favorite lines were. Ben saying "Connor rocks" after Connor agrees to show him and Abigail the Oval Office. The entire scene where Ben acts drunk in the Queen's palace and say "cheerio, shrimp on the barbie", and many other funny quips at a english security guard. Very funny stuff. After getting upset at a child after a short conversation at the egg roll at the White House Ben tells the child "run along now you impossible child". The scene where Ben pretends to get his hand stuck in a hole on top of the rock formation below Mount Rushmore was pretty funny especially seeing Riley's horrendous scream. Rounding out the funny would have been when Mitch tells the group someone has to stay back and Riley states "I vote Mitch". Finally at the very end when Emily, Ben's mom and Patrick's ex-wife is directing the workers and curators on what to do while they are examining the new found treasure Patrick turns to one of them and says, "you should have been there when we picked out our first couch"! Very funny stuff!!

All in all this was an exceptional movie and the entire reference to page 47 in the book only adds intrigue and mystery as to what the 3rd installment will bring. I had hoped it would be about Area 51 but when flipping through the book originally Riley quickly stated, "ooh area 51" and Ben when right past getting to the info he needed since they were on a time restrain so I don't know if he went past page 47 or not? My hope is that it is about Area 51 because they could do so many cool things about that however trying to tie a treasure into that would be quite interesting. Somehow I think Disney and Jerry Bruckheimer would do just fine. This one gets an easy A+!

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