I had seen the previous National Treasure, and armed with that memory and the knowledge that this was a Disney movie, I watched its sequel without a great deal of expectations---predictable adventure drivel, Indiana Jones with more modern special effects, is what I expected. But this movie manages to disappoint even fairly modest expectations such as those.
In the end it really comes down to two problems: (1) It doesn't make any sense. (2) The acting is awful.
On (1), I really don't mean to nitpick on historical minutiae---hell, I'd be happy to suspend disbelief for two hours on stuff such as Lincoln's assassination, Mayan treasures, Mount Rushmore geography, and all that other nonsense. No problem there. But the point of a treasure hunt movie is the ability to follow the main character in his struggle, perhaps struggle with him, see him figure things out and perhaps guess with him. For this to work, the universe of the movie doesn't have to be consistent with the world we live in, but it has to be consistent with itself. But the universe of this movie is like a great big fairy tale, with the central character pulling white rabbits out of his sleeve whenever he needs them. Yes, the movie tries its hand at some drama, but it just doesn't work. Things go pretty smoothly for the most part---into the Queen's office, out of it again, oops, we are being chased, heck, let's take a photo, oh no camera, ah, there is a traffic camera, yep and by the way, can you just hack into the computer and download the pic, and on to the next event (same thing with the oval office, then kidnapping the president). While the hero thus McGyvers his way through an increasingly preposterous story, the whole thing just starts to feel stale, and you get the feeling that it might have been better if he had not stolen the Constitution in part 1, so the writers would not have to top this. The villain is lame and for the most part useless, not to speak of somewhat incoherent ("I am not going last, so I might as well go first"---say what?).
None of the story really makes the slightest bit of sense, including the motivation of the hero (to clear the name of his great-great-grandfather---that's why he risks his life, the life of friends and loved ones, not to speak of his own good name by kidnapping a president!). It's all just a steaming pile of nonsense aimed at people who really do not give a damn about story and stuff, but who just want to see a lot of movement/action, high-tech gobbledygook, explosions, and cheap patriotism.
However, as bad as the story was, (2), the bad acting was even worse. Everybody in this movie was disappointing, even a non-actor like Kruger. Her career should end with this movie, over, out, finito. She cannot do it, and it's not been for a lack of opportunity. If you had a consistent record of failure like hers in any regular job, you'd find yourself with a lot of spare time very soon. But even the real actors here just make you cringe---Greenwood, Harris, Mirren, Voight, they all deliver horrible performances that seem to betray their lack of passion and their paycheck mentality. We know they *can* act, we have seen it before, but they just don't in this movie. Keitel comes away without much harm---his part is so tiny, there just isn't a lot of opportunity to screw things up too badly.
Why oh why do they keep making this fluff? Because for some reason we attend it. We go there, drop our cash, and watch this nonsense. I am guilty as charged. But if you haven't seen it, you and your money can still make a difference. Watch a good movie. There are plenty out there.
National Treasure: Book of Secrets
Action / Adventure
National Treasure: Book of Secrets
Action / Adventure
While Ben Gates is presenting new information about John Wilkes Booth and the 18 pages missing from Booth's diary, a man by the name of Mitch Wilkinson stands up and presents a missing page of John Wilkes Booth's diary. Thomas Gates, Ben's great-grandfather, is mentioned on the page. It shows that Ben's great-grandfather was a co-conspirator in Abraham Lincoln's murder. When doing more research, the conspiracy takes Ben, Abigail Chase, and Riley Poole to Buckingham Palace (which they break into). They discover a plank that has early Native American writing on it. The plank has only one symbol that Patrick Gates can identify. The symbol is Cibola (see-bowl-uh) meaning the City of Gold. In order to define the rest they have to go to Ben's mother, Patrick's divorced wife. After 32 years it brings back old arguments. After that the other clue is in the President's desk in the Oval Office in the White House (which Ben and Abigail sneak into) to discover that the clue lies in The President's Book. But in order to see the book, their choice is either get elected president or kidnap the President of the United States. Which do they choose? It's obvious. With Wilkinson close on their tail, they find the book in the Library of Congress. The conspiracy then crosses to Mount Rushmore where the clue was on the hills, but (according to the Book) President Calvin Coolidge had the faces carved in so no one can find the City of Gold. When they get there they find out that they must work with Wilkinson since he has some clues of his own. Who will claim Cibola? And will the name of Gates be known as murder?
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September 11, 2012 at 7:35 pm