Friday, December 21, 2007
National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets
Sometimes you go into a film and you want to like it. Especially if it is a sequel to a film you loved. You want it to just keep it simple and entertaining. The start of National Treasure 2 does keep it rather simple. Ben Gates (Nicolas Cage) finds out his ancestor has been linked to the Lincoln assassination when a mysterious man (Ed Harris) comes out of nowhere with a page from John Wilkes Booth's diary. This sets our leads Gates and Riley (the underappreciated Justin Bartha) out on the chase. You learn that there are problems with Ben's relationship with Abby (Diane Kruger)... no surprise since she is a beautiful, intelligent woman and he is a kid-like dreamer who looks as if his artificial hair is going to fall off at any point.
Anyway... so the chase goes all over the globe with one improbable scene after another. I guess this never really annoyed me in the first film since they all seemed a logical exercise that they never really had to do anything too incredible (Except for stealing the Declaration of Independence which wouldn't even make the top 5 here). This one is just completely idiotic. Plus the fun dialogue between the characters is mostly gone with a seemingly rushed script to capitalize on the huge gross of the original. Add in too many extra characters...I'm looking at you Helen Mirren... and it just feels too crowded for the actors to share the chemistry of the first film.
Filmmaker Jon Turteltaub directed both films and the Wibberleys wrote both, so the problem has to lie with them. All the people involved have VERY spotty track records in the past so perhaps National Treasure was a fluke. Turteltaub did create one of the better tv series of the past few years for the non-cable networks in Jericho. I left Book of Secrets feeling much like I did after The Bourne Supremacy, where did the magic go?