Most helpful positive review
National Treasure two-every bit as good as the first!
on June 27, 2010
National Treasure Two(released Dec/07)is another wonderful entry in the franchise that,in my opinion, is every bit as good as the first one.Like the first film our central character is very much the Indiana Jones type,very scholarly,a brilliant symbologist and with a big dollop of the adventurer thrown in for good measure.
The story this time around involves(again)our central protagonist Ben Gates(Nicholoaus Cage)and with his family past called to question.His great,great grandfather died trying to save a secret organization from getting it's hands on the legendary City Of Gold built by ancient Amerindians.In fact the day he died is the day this organization headed by John Booth,assassinated President Lincoln.
The scene shifts to present day where Ben and his father Patrick(Jon Voight)are finishing a lecture and a descendant of a member of the secret organization Mitch Wilkinson(Ed Harris),interrupts the proceedings.He claims Ben's great,great grandfather was a traitor and offers up a piece of old parchment to prove it.The story makes headlines and the family becomes disgraced,which of course doesn't sit well with Ben.Ben and his wife Abigail(Diane Kruger) are estranged and he has to approach her,much to his chagrin,for assistance.They examine the Booth page/book closely and find clues.They travel to Paris and then to London.It seems an old British ship the HMS Resolute when salvaged and then scrapped,provided more than enough timber to build two desks with;one in Buckingham Palace and the other in the oval office of the White House.
They find an old partial cuneiform-like tablet in the Queens desk and manage to escape security there....just.They are dogged all the way by Wilkinson who threw up the "traitor" red herring as a ruse so Ben would lead him to the ultimate treasure they all seek.Back in Washington Ben and Abigail get into the oval office and gain access to the desk to find no matching tablet but a clue.This clue tells them the piece of the puzzle they seek is in a secret document called"The President's Secret Book".This book contains a myriad of US secret information,some known or little or not known,passed down president by president for many,many decades.In order to get a hold of this book Ben decides to capture the President himself!
On a trip to a hotel in Mount Vernon,Virginia,Ben infiltrates a party the President is attending there and shows him an old map of the hotel.The original plan drawings show an underground escape passage covered up but never found.A curious President and a very anxious Ben find the tunnel and this is where Ben asks him to see the book.The President obfuscates but in the end,knowing Ben's actual intentions,reveals its' existence and its' location in the Library of Congress.But he is warned that once he gets back he will have no choice but to sick the FBI on him.
Ben gets to the Library and gets his book and the clue.The first clue(from the desk in London) had been translated by his mother Emily(Helen Mirren) and now his father approaches his estranged wife for help again.She translates it and he leaves.Unbeknownst to him his wife had been under duress by Wilkinson,hidden in the back,who threatened harm to both if she revealed his presence.
The new clue leads them all to a lake above and behind Mount Rushmore in South Dakota.From here they enter a system of caves with the requisite number of booby traps.Eventually persistence pays off and they all find the lost City of Gold and its' treasure.There are alot of tense moments and in a big reversal Wilkinson is forced to give his life so the others may escape.The FBI finally get their man and escort Ben and company to a private airplane hangar to meet...the President.He congratulates them and their service to the country as the charges of "kidnapping" are stricken.
The President takes Ben aside asking him if he had a chance to look at page 47 of the Secret Book during its' perusal.Ben replies he did,he could provide assistance there and that it is life altering....and they walk off camera together.
The movie ends with Ben's friend getting his Porsche car back which had been towed earlier in the picture;tax free.But the real ending occurred in that hangar and its' reference to that mysterious page 47-sequel anyone?.Like the first movie the clues of legends combined with half truths and old symbology issue forth like a maniacal popcorn machine,flying at you from all directions.They don't want you stopping to analyze them but to just accept them and let the on screen characters take their plot clues from them and let things move where they will.And move things do as slowly but surely Ben,his friend,he wife,his father and now his mother all become involved in the hunt.It is a solid cast as all the major actors from the first film are back as well,as mentioned,his mother Emily played wonderfully salty by Helen Mirren.Added into the mix is our antagonist Wilkinson also played wonderfully by Ed Harris.
Technically speaking the movie has been transferred wonderfully as the film is crisp and clear.It retains it's widescreen a/r of 2:35:1,however there are NO special features but a commentary by the director and Jon Voight on this single disc edition.You will recall National Treasure One which had a plethora of extras on one disc.Seems Disney "gives" you the first,getting you "hooked" enough where they think you will happily pay the extra dineros for an extra disc this time around.
All in all a very pleasing film up to standards set by the first movie.The cast is 100% solid all the way and thesps Helen Mirren and Ed Harris make the adventure just that much better.Disney loses extra marks here however for their decided cheapness in not including any worthwhile extras this time around;nothing new for them.Enjoy the second National Treasure ride!