National Treasure: Book of Secrets
The follow up to the entertaining box-office hit plays to the dim-witted and oblivious to create a laughable film that some how remains watchable and entertaining to an extent.
Checking your mind at the door is a stupid way to appraise a film, but in this case it might be worth it because the film plays to you like you don’t have one. Throughout the film it is almost constant exposition and redundancy as the make point of the blatantly obvious three to four times on a couple of occasions. I.E. Say our adventures came to a pool that had to be filled with an eagle pointing beak down and they give you a cryptic clue like, “If the eagle point’s north the tears will flow,” the film would make the note of, “it means if we point the eagle to the north the water will flow,” then they will narrate what they are doing, “I’m turning the eagle to point to the cardinal north on a compass so the water will flow and fill the pool,” Then after it works, they will again recite what is happening, “look I turned the eagle to point north and the water is filling the pool.” Seriously? You don’t think we don’t get it yet? The script treats you like an infant and you can’t help but laugh at the absurdity of it all. They also dumb the dialogue down as well, and I wouldn’t call what I wrote above eloquent by any means, but that looks like Shakespeare compared to the drool they spoon feed you.
The movie also misses on the comedy over 50% of the time as the jokes fall flat. Now the first film wasn’t a knee slapper but it didn’t have me rolling my eyes every couple minutes they attempted humor. The movie also takes the fun out of figuring out the clues. Much like The Da Vinci Code film, they make all the characters so clever and smart they just figure out the clue in no time with little effort. That is what made the first film fun and entertaining in that you felt like they had to think and work with them to figure things out, all of that fun is gone in this sequel.
So after all of this, how can I say the movie was still entertaining? Well my expectations were not that high, and thankfully the movie doesn’t take itself seriously at all. And the fact that it seems like the cast buys into that this is just a stupid action movie to sit back and kill a couple hours’ makes it a bit more acceptable. Jon Voight is terrible, and Helen Mirren isn’t that great either, and the rest of the returning cast turns in about the same performance as before. Ed Harris plays a dumbed down version of his character from The Rock and is stereotypical from the get go, but in a film like this should we expect anything more?
No this isn’t the best film, but it’s not awful, and definitely watchable. The production level is high, and it is cool to see some historical sites if your a fan of the subject matter, but don’t set your expectations very high. The movie’s finale practically rips off its predecessor, but if you are a fan of that film you will probably feel comfortable knowing that your franchise has no desire to try something new. Just know what you are getting into and you can relax and find some form of entertainment in this weak follow up.