Dubby’s dvdiscussion : Treasure again
The Da Vinci Code has done more irreparable harm to the first part of the 21st century than the depletion of the Ozone layer. One after another Hollywood is churning out adventure movies with clues liberally scattered all over the world.
In National Treasure: Book Of Secrets (the second instalment), we are taken to Buckingham Palace, the Oval Office, France and we spend a considerable amount of time with wood panelling and gold and water. Made by Disney we have Jon Turteltaub in the director’s seat and the action is fairly straight forward, none of your flashy CGI gimmicks.
Says critic Kit Bowen, “With just as many locales, historical landmarks and secret codes as the original, National Treasure: Book of Secrets is just as much implausible fun. Who would have thought there’d be so much secret buried treasures in this fine country of ours? Thank goodness we have treasure hunter Ben Gates (Nicolas Cage) on the case. It’s been a few years since he and his crew discovered the Knights Templar treasure beneath the streets of New York, but it looks like a new treasure hunt is afoot. It all starts when a missing page from the diary of John Wilkes Booth surfaces, accusing Ben’s great-great-grandfather as a key conspirator in Abraham Lincoln’s death. In order to clear his family’s name, Ben must rummage through the Queen’s desk at Buckingham Palace, kidnap the President of the United States, and get his hands on the fabled Book of Secrets with all of our nation’s deep dark ones — AND get his acrimoniously divorced parents (Jon Voight and Helen Mirren) in the same room together — just so he can find one of the world’s most elusive treasures: the ancient Native American ‘City of Gold’. Hunting along with him once again is his trusted — now broke — friend Riley Poole (Justin Bartha) and estranged girlfriend Abigail Chase (Diane Kruger), who, honestly, were just waiting for another cool adventure to pop up so they could take a break from their ordinary lives.
It’s always better in a Nic Cage actioner when he doesn’t ham it up. Ben Gates is a perfect alter ego for the actor — whip-smart, a little nerdy but adorably inquisitive and relentless in his pursuit of ancient artifacts, or to clear his family’s name, or whatever the case may be. I guess you could call him a modern-day Indiana Jones, minus the fedora and whip. Voight, too, doesn’t have to overplay it as Ben’s dad, Patrick, and can feel proud to have his name attached to the movie (unlike, say, Bratz or Anaconda). As for the lovely Mirren, you half-expect her to show up at Queen Elizabeth II when Ben is in Buckingham Palace, but alas, the Oscar winner just gets to sit back and have fun as Ben’s mum, a professor of Native American culture (yes, she comes in handy). Kruger’s Abigail is still blonde, spunky and protecting historical documents. But it’s Bartha as electronics expert Riley who steals nearly every scene he is in with one snarky line after another. My personal favourite, “So let’s recap: We’ve broken into Buckingham Palace, and the Oval Office, stolen a page from the President’s super-secret book, and actually kidnapped the President of the United States. What are we gonna do next, short-sheet the Pope’s bed?”