National Treasure 2 : American conspiracies for the whole family

Note: I can’t believe I got through that entire movie without realizing that a) it’s a sequel b) it’s a sequel to a film I watched before.

So, on the last day of the year, we watched National Treasure: Book of Secrets. To give a fairly short answer: it takes cliches and tropes to such extremes that it actually wraps around and gets funny again. Don’t expect an action movie (it has Nicholas Cage, for Christ’s sake) but expect a fairly fun time… until you leave the theatre and bemoan the two hours lost.

Here’s the condensed story: archaeologist-slash-tomb-raider Indiana Gates is confronted with evidence that his ancestors were involved in the assassination of Lincoln. Naturally, he is disturbed and seeks to uncover the truth behind this dastardly lie with the help of his brother Bill, a computer genius. On his hop over to Britain and France, he is joined by his “on a break” live-in girlfriend/wife, and his father.

Anyway, their trying to find some proof to Ye Olde Gates’ innocence leads them to trying to find a Lost City made of gold, built by the Native Americans. Somehow this spins off into a conspiracy involving the Masons, and apparently, the titular Book of Secrets, the “President’s Book”, which contains all the nation’s secrets and is maintained only by Presidents. The map to El Dorado is incomplete and the other half is inside said President’s Book, so Jones kidnaps President Dubya Bush Jr and convinces him to divulge national secrets. Which he does.

Oh yeah. This whole time, they were hounded by another family (those damn Southerners) who was also trying to regain some honour after the Civil War was lost. True to form, they use suppressed handguns and chase them around.

Moving on, after snapping pictures of the Book, completing the map and heading to Mt. Rushmore (yes, it was a cover-up) a group consisting of Gates, brother Bill, Big Bad Southerner, Mom and Dad, and the Girlfriend unlocks the mountain and finds El Dorado inside, partially flooded. Big Bad Southerner gets his karmic death, but saves everyone so ends up on the credit list anyway. Everybody hooks back up, family name is honourable again, happily ever after.

This movie has it all, really – unstoppable snarky hackers, really useless security, needless events as the plot dictates, an old couple doing the death-defying rope swing, some odd cleavage moments, Nicholas Cage as a professor-adventurer-archaelogist, and holy shit Nicholas Cage. However, it is a surprisingly fun romp, with quite a bit of humour (generally of the nerdy and slapstick varieties). Despite what I have said, I would say this is a fairly good family film to bring those angry teenagers and desperate parents together. Like Shrek.

Possible alternative subtitle for entry: tomb raiding family lite.

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