*****Spoiler Ahead STOP Now*****
This was a classic case of sequel trying to live off the fervor of the original but had gone bad in horrible ways.
So if you want to view this pathetic excuse for a movie stop reading now, go see it, then finish this slash and burn review.
The movie speed was a dreadful snooze for many minutes at a time. I found myself actually more entertained looking around the theater to see if other people were doing the same.
The story started out plausible and there may even be a tiniest shred of actual history to support the artistic privileges the story writers embarked on. Let me think.. Lincolns assassination and a letter from the French to the Confederate Union, 3 statues of Liberty, 2 identical desks (Oval office and in the Queens of England's Office), and Mount Rushmore _IS_ located in South Dakota and not in South America.
I have a SERIOUS beef with this Disney Production on that last one. Everybody who watched this movie left there dumber than they entered. The gullible people out there probably think there is a lake on the top (or within walking distance of the top) of Mount Rushmore. Even WORSE people may actually believe that an ancient Mayan culture lived in South Dakota, built caverns, and then transported and lined them with tons of gold. Sure why not, it's a movie!
The story leaped from Dad's house, to the Gates' mansion, to Paris, to London, to University of Maryland, to the White House, to a Presidential retreat, to the Library of Congress, to Mount Rushmore, to a Lake *on* Mount Rushmore... all seemingly in a span of a day or two. I guess it is technically possible to zip around the world like that but jet lag would have surely taken its toll... yet everybody seemed fine. The one place they did not get even remotely close to was South America. Hello! The major story line leaned heavily on the Mayan civilization. WTF?
Seems the story writers (perhaps in response to the critics) wanted to liven up the snooze screen play so they injected a ridiculous car chase. Complete with self repairing cars, drifting sequences, bullets at point blank range that hit everything but the target, and my new favorite... using the red light camera to take a photo (then getting that photo back later) of Mayan writing at high speeds. Yeah... right.
Ed Harris should have stayed out of this one. His performance mechanics were fine but the story writers simply didn't know what to do with him. Seemed as if the original plot had him doing more but huge chunks of character development were left on the cutting room floor.. well, we can hope that. This might have been the best the writers could have mustered.
Abigale was useless. Oh, she had her 60 seconds of lines but that was about it. The story writers made a horribly obvious "fix" to the story using her. She just magically appeared in the right place (she was in the States earlier) and the right time without any coordination to help Benjamen sneak into the Queens office. Plausibility... Zero.
Riley was cute and lovable as before. The writers tried overly hard to capitalize on this comedic charm. What the heck... he's pretty handy with an IPod and a laptop.
Benjamen, as a positive role model for a _Disney_ film, should go to jail. Let's count the offenses: Speeding, reckless driving, theft, trespassing, destruction of property, conspiracy to kidnap, and kidnapping. Disney thinks this is all fine since he's the "hero" after all. Thanks Disney!
I have no idea why the Feds were in this film. They didn't do anything until the very end... but that was only after Benjamen called them.
The "book" was a pathetic story prop. They could have used a spoon or pile of play dough. If only the book had been used throughout the movie... Nope, that would take real story writing skills.
Nitpicks... 1) I doubt "duplicated" cell phones really allow you to receive a call in two locations at once. 2) The story title "Book of Secrets" relates to a book that had a total of 30 seconds relevance (I am being generous here) to the whole story. 3) Cliche, the bad guys hijack ridiculous vehicles in a high speed chase. In this case a truck loaded with kegs of beer. 4) Security in the Queens Office seems laughable. Just walk in, take what you want and walk out. 5) Riley can remotely unlock security gates and set off fire alarms from a restroom. Seems the Disney group has a low opinion of British security. 6) Riley also has super human strength. He picked up a block of gold and by the look of it should have been about 400lbs. 7) Cliche, "let's turn this spinner/lever thing and see what happens"... not once.. but 5 freaking times.... yawn. 8) Hey.. didn't they have one of those rolling doors in Indiana Jones? 9) Oh sh*t we're all going to drown... panic!!! Let's all go to the lowest point in this crisis and speed up the drownings. What's that? A glimpse of sunlight from above? How about treading water until things fill up so you can walk out. Nope can't do that. Got to have another unnecessary plot complication to wipe out the useless bad guy.
Summing up. The "National Treasure: Book of Secrets" will join the ranks of sequel movie blunders. Story writers never made clear why chasing after this lost city of gold would prove that Gate's great great grandfather was not a Confederate collaborator. WTF is up with this lake on Rushmore and this Mayan culture. Generally, the story was fragmented, slow, cliches everywhere, gross leaps from plausibility, and a disgustingly irresponsible display of story telling by Disney.