'National Treasure 2 - Book of Secrets: SE'
(Nicolas Cage, Justin Bartha, et al / 2-Disc DVD / PG / (2007) 2008 / BVHE)
Overview: Join Nicolas Cage on a heart-pounding adventure that will have you on the edge of your seat in a race to find the Lost City of Gold. Grounded in history imbued with myth and mystery Disney's NATIONAL TREASURE 2: BOOK OF SECRETS takes you on a globe-trotting quest full of adrenaline-pumping twists and turns -- all leading to the final clue in a mysterious and highly guarded book containing centuries of secrets. But there's only one way to find it -- Ben Gates must kidnap the President.
DVD Verdict: Our kids were never good at history and were this-close to flunking out of the top private schools that we had found them places in. History was like poison to them. For right or wrong their generation doesn't believe in anything that took place before, say, French situationalism. Ask them about the Beatles, they'll look absolutely blankly at you. When the headmaster called me four years ago, threatening to dropkick my oldest son Brandon right out of school if his history grades did not improve, I was at the door of despair. Then happily Nicolas Cage saved the day by releasing NATIONAL TREASURE part one, and my kids got hooked on history. They don't know who Nicolas Cage is, in fact I don't think they believe he is an actor, they think he is Ben Gates the "history guy."
They also like his father, played by Jon Voight, and now they have a new hero, Helen Mirren's Egyptologist character who proves just as brave and plucky as her son and estranged husband. Before Part Two I had no idea that there was an actual Book of Secrets that all American Presidents are forced to read and hide! But I have since been assured that all of it is true.
It is funny that Hollywood producers, who would as we all know sell out their own grandmothers, have now made two pictures in a row in which "family honor" is the prime motivating factor. Not only do the Gates family feel stung when it is "proven" that their ancestor helped assassinate Lincoln, but Ed Harris is similarly suffering from the disgrace of bad blood. It's not exactly convincing, and the actors don't really play it out very well, but hey, it got my kids interested in Lincoln and in Dr, Samuel Mudd, the man after whom, as Nicolas Cage explains, we got the common expression, "His Name Is Mudd." Long ago, director John Ford shot the excellent biopic "The Prisoner of Shark Island" about this very same case, and my kids seem to love it. They have recently asked me if they could become members of the American Cinematheque and get seasons tickets to the Cinematheque's current program of screening every one of John Ford's films.
I liked seeing Jon Voight and Helen Mirren play off of each other like the Nick and Nora of history. In actuality, both Voight and Mirren had something in common, each had made a seminal film with the British auteur John Boorman, DELIVERANCE for Voight and EXCALIBUR for Mirren. Something of Boorman's shadowy, erratic glow hovers over all the Voight-Mirren sequences in the film, far outclassing the Cage-Kruger affair, for which I did not care a whit, though Brandon has recently left Princeton to try to track down Diane Kruger and ask her about how to become a topnotch expert in forensics analysis, as he believes her to be. Finally, the real-life Book of Secrets, now owned by President Bush, tells the whole story about Area 51 and how Eisenhower was brought there in a secret plane and shook hands and played cards with two dying aliens before they died, and other stories we thought were tall tales were true, just like the legendary city of gold under Mount Rushmore! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
Audio Commentary by John Turteltaub (Director) and Jon Voight (Actor)
THE TREASURE REEL - Bloopers & Outtakes
Deleted Scenes - With Introductions by Jon Turteltaub
1. SECRETS OF A SEQUEL
2. THE BOOK OF SECRETS: ON LOCATION
3. STREET STUNTS: CREATING THE LONDON CHASE
4. INSIDE THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS
5. UNDERGROUND ACTION
6. COVER STORY: CRAFTING THE PRESIDENTS' BOOK
7. EVOLUTION OF A GOLDEN CITY