Conspiracy theorists rejoice; National Treasure: Book of Secrets is the perfect fix for adventure-seekers as well as the whole family thanks to a PG rating. Bringing back our favorite team of historical junkies, Ben Gate, Abigail Chase and Riley Poole, this latest quest for treasure begins with a turn of events, historical events that is.
Open movie on a scene in a mid-19th century pub, 1865 to be exact, five days after the Civil War ended, and the fateful day when John Wilkes Booth murdered then President Abraham Lincoln. With excruciatingly dramatic music that is just plain irresistibly exciting, Thomas Gate and son are visited at the tavern by KGC members. We later find out that this group acronym stands for the Knights of the Golden Circle, a Southern extremist group.
The movie twists and turns as Ben Gate, played by Nicholas Cage, and father Patrick Gate, played by the lovably na¯ve Jon Voight, try to clear the name of their ancestor accused by Ed Harris’ character, Mitch Wilkinson, of being involved in the conspiracy to assassinate Lincoln.
In the first five minutes of the movie interest is piqued as the historical subplots unfold. Something interesting that affects the life of the main character is the first clue passed down from grandfather Gate, to Patrick and now Ben, "The debt that all men must pay." But to find out what that debt is one must watch the movie.
Traveling from Washington D.C to Paris and onto London, Ben and Riley are in hot pursuit of uncovering the secrets pages of a diary while Abigail is being fancied by an enemy to uncover secrets and reach the newest treasure, the City of Gold, first.
Sidekick and adorable nerd Riley Poole, played by Justin Barth, always provides great comedic relief, especially during those instances when doom looms ever close and the audience begins to feel the weighty concerns of lead historical fanatic Ben. The highlight of Cage’s acting as Ben is when he pretends to be a drunken scene-causer at Buckingham Palace. He mocks British security using an English accent bringing audiences many laughs.
One of the best surprise appearances is of Ben’s mother and Patrick’s estranged wife, now a professor at the University of Maryland, Emily Applegate, played perfectly as a frustrated and brilliant Native American language expert, Helen Mirren. Yes, the one and same "The Queen" star. She creates tension, drama and comedy all at the same time while providing an ever so convenient extensive knowledge of Cibola’s lost city of gold that everyone is in hot pursuit of.
The most intriguing aspect of the movie has to be its namesake, the elusive Book of Secrets hidden ever so cleverly in where else, but the Library of Congress. The book is important since page 47 leaves a clear set up for a third National Treasure film. While Ben makes friends with the president of the United States to get it, his failed relationship with Abigail, played by Diane Kruger, is tested as they purse the treasure.
From Chinese puzzle boxes, to the resolute desks situated respectively in Buckingham Palace and the White House, the film takes audiences on an adventure outside of the United States and behind conventional social lines. Directed by Jon Turtletaub and written by Cormac and Marianne Wibberley, the script is witty, quick and appealing. Now in theaters nationwide, National Treasure is a great film for everyone.