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Jan 2, 2008

Fletch's Film Review: National Treasure: Book of Secrets

It was New Year's Eve. We wanted to see a movie, but neither Charlie Wilson's War (too...plastic?) nor The Kite Runner (too depressing) seemed like good choices. We wanted to see something silly and dumb, it being a festive night and all. First, we decided to see AVP-R, having thought the first one was decent enough, but after skimming some reviews, we decided against it. The only logical choice left? You guessed it - we would become part of the problem, supporting an evil Nic Cage vehicle.

I didn't feel too bad, though; after all, you know what they say about keeping your enemies closer and all that. And I'd done a lot of that recently, having caught bits and pieces of The Wicker Man on cable over the past few weeks. Let me tell you (spoiler!), it's devilish fun watching him do the slow burn then get slowly burned - if only every performance ended that way. But then...

Sweet, sweet redemption! We buy our tickets, get our drinks and popcorn, then head to the theater. Wait a sec - theater number six? That's showing P.S, I Love You! National Treasure is playing in theater number one. [Look at our tickets again.] The tickets are indeed for P.S., I Love You. That means that the dude that sold us our tickets pressed the wrong button. That means we didn't support the enemy! Sit on that, Cage!

Oh yeah - the film review. Well, it's not like it deserves much analysis. It's enjoyably stupid, much like Transformers was, but you're liable to hurt your brain if you think too much about it. It's actually (wait for it) better than I thought it would be, and in many ways, better than the first movie. Unlike many (stupid) sequels, it doesn't try to wildly outdo itself with more chases or bigger smashes - it relies on its story and characters to keep its appeal. That said, it's more or less the exact same movie over again - and it's not like the first one was all that great to begin with. Sure, treasure hunts are fun, but with so little unchanged, the only reason to see this one over the first one might be if you particularly like Helen Mirren or Ed Harris and/or particularly don't like Sean Bean (in which case there would be something wrong with you).

The film stretches the bounds of unbelievability at any and all opportunities. If ever you've felt like something was impossible, Ben Gates and his wily bunch of sidekicks are here to let you know that you're totally wrong. Any potential obstacle to their goal is not only solved, but done so with mere moments of thought and planning. Need to get the President of the United States alone? Piece of cake! Ben and his dad (the now bumbling Jon Voight) know just the ideal place. Need a photo of a precious artifact but don't have a working cellphone camera? No problem - Ben will just run a red light, have the photo radar take a picture, then have Riley, his now borderline retarded/autistic savant sidekick, hack into the system (of whatever city they were in - London, I think), retrieve the picture and (magically) "enhance" it so that it's readable.

Okay, my brain hurts. The bottom line: it's a dumb, dumb movie. But you knew that going in - and if you're willing and able to turn off that voice in your head that keeps telling you that (I can do that with marginal success), you just might enjoy this movie. Unless you saw the first one and don't feel like seeing the same movie over again.

Damnit, there I go again...

Fletch's Film Rating:

"Whatever."


13 people have chosen wisely: on "Fletch's Film Review: National Treasure: Book of Secrets"

WampaOne said...

Dude, you passed on AVP-R for Nicolas Cage? fo_shame...Happy 2008 Fletch, MTFBWY!

soundtrackgeek said...

I am going to see this and I am going to be disappointed. How do I know that? Because it can't improve on the soundtrack by Trevor Rabin. It was amazing and I expect a movie in equal quality. See what I did here? It's like reading the book before watching the movie, disappointment...

Janna said...

Nice Review buddy. I tried to watch this movie gets my curiosity.

Desmond said...

Fletch saw a Nic Cage movie? That's blasphemy, brotha!

DCMovieGirl said...

Hate Nic Cage??!!

Not even in sold-his-cred-to-the-box-office mode could I ever hate that man.

He forever has my love for taking the name of a black comicbook hero and Raising Arizona.

Plus, he's self-deprecating on screen, about his own hype.

I can tell Nic is just having fun, hairplugged dome and all.

Luv' that weirdass man. :D

James said...

When I see Nick Cage, all I can think about is that I'm watching Nick Cage. I have a hard time seeing his characters. Except in Matchstick Men, that was the only movie where I thought he played a fascinating character.

I saw this movie yesterday and you're right about it being dumb and a repeat of the first one.

I do like, Justin Bartha and Ed Harris (who was brilliant in Pollock, one of my fav movies).

Fletch said...

I don't hate Nic Cage. I feel sorry for him. He may be rolling in money, and may even be capable of being a good actor, but he's butt ugly and as you said, sold his credibility (and dignity) long ago. Not. Worth. It.

The last movie I enjoyed him in was Adaptation. Then again, I didn't get to see Ghost Rider or Next or... (damn)

Nick said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nick said...

I liked 'Next', but I like basically any movie based off a Philip K. Dick story (except A Scanner Darkly. That movie was just too trippy/weird).

Granted, I've never read a Philip K. Dick story (I swear I'll get around to it)... but I know when a movie based off his work is coming out. And I usually always enjoy it.

Fletch said...

Ha! You're almost JUST like me. I've never read a PKD story, either, but I generally love the movies based off his material. But I really liked A Scanner Darkly and probably won't ever see Next (though I did do a fake review for it when it came out. That was fun.).

Nick said...

Fletch: I just read this article... I thought you might like it :P :

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/12/20/AR2007122000786.html

Fletch said...

Excellent - thanks, Nick.

If pressed, I would at least give props to him for the fact that this series does have some redeeming value (just like Indy Jones, they're guys who beat others with brains and not guns).

But he's still a hack. :)