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National Treasure: Book of Secrets

National Treasure: Book of Secrets is a fairly easy to watch, fun movie. Like all treasure hunt movies the ending is largely predictable but what makes them engaging and fun is the journey following the trail. Watching just how everything comes together.

As per usual with my movie posts, this article is my thoughts on the film. If you're looking for a story outline try visiting the official web site or maybe read this review by Jason P. Vargo of DVDTown.com.

I haven't seen the first film in this series but I knew that because this was an entirely new adventure for these characters I wouldn't be at much of a disadvantage. There are some obvious references to the first film and maybe even some subtle ones that I missed but I don't think any were critical to my understanding of the plot.

Nicolas Cage plays treasure hunter, Ben Gates, a largely forgettable character in the movie world. Much like Robert Langdon (played by Tom Hanks) in The Da Vinci Code. A movie that both these films should be compared to and not the Indiana Jones series as some critics have. As I recall the original National Treasure movie was released to try and capitalize on the growing interest of the Da Vinci Code novel and it's imminent release as a film at the time.

Robert Langdon, the sometimes nerdy super brain yet ordinary guy, is Ben Gates peer not the swash buckling action hero that is Indiana Jones. Everyone remembers Indy. Only the die hard National Treasure fans will remember Ben.

Ben is surrounded by a small team of people, most notable is his assistant, Riley (played by Justin Bartha), who has a talent for breaking into almost any security system you care to name like most of us log on to the internet (difficulty factor zero). Ben may be the 'cool' nerd of the picture but Riley is the 'super geek' with out a doubt.

I have to say, I do like this kind of film where they try to string together a real (or even completely fictional) mystery together using real world historical facts, icons, artifacts, legends and stories. It tends to give the plot that hint of 'well this may possibly be true' even though you know it probably isn't.

For example, I'm sure anyone who sees this film will forever be wondering if the twin Resolute Desks, one owned by the Queen of England and the other by the President of the USA, are really built with a secret compartment opened by a combination lock system involving the correct sequence of open drawers? Do you think the real Queen or President saw this film and then went back home and checked - just to be sure?

What about the 'Book of Secrets', the President of the USA's book, handed on to each consecutive President, revealing the truth about every mystery, conspiracy theory and more that Joe and Jane public can only speculate upon? It's not a spoiler talking about this but I was disappointed by its appearance. Just for a brief second I thought they'd go all Da Vinci Code and reveal that this book wasn't actually a literal book but then they found it. Considering how old it's meant to be, it didn't seem to be that big - maybe there are fewer conspiracies than we think?

The movie does seem to hint at another film in this series involving page 47 of the President's book. Unless I missed something but regardless, I can see this book playing a crucial role in filling big gaping plot holes in future films in the franchise.

I don't want to over analyze the film because it does have some really questionable moments that only make sense if you're along for the ride. If you stop and think too hard you'll go from one 'oh that would never happen' to the next and completely spoil your experience.

It is a fun film and comparing the movie to the movie trailer I suspect there were quite a number of deleted scenes that would make the DVD version a really interesting purchase. (There are scenes in the trailer that aren't present in the final film, such as in the trailer there are scenes at the Lincoln Memorial).

If you enjoyed The Da Vinci Code then this will be a film you'll enjoy too. It's not quite as intelligent with the plot but it is fun and the humor works really well.

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