Tuesday, December 25, 2007

National Treasure Book of Secrets

Main Stars: Benjamin Gates: Nicolas Cage Riley Poole: Justin Bartha Abigail Chase: Diane Kruger Patrick Gates: Jon Voight

Not bad. Not bad at all. Not good either. I don't care about the farfetchedness. I just care about how the story is laid out. It is confusing, really. There are dozens of clues that lead to even more clues and more and more. I thought the first one was a lot but this is the story of number one times two. You're in for a lot of cramming in those two hours. Time went fast though because regardless of how utterly ridiculous the whole thing is, it is a thrill ride. A cinematic thrill ride.

The first one was great. I don't know why I liked it so much but for some reason it hit the spot. It was extremely far-fetched but almost ingenious in a way. It kept my attention throughout the whole thing. This one did too. But with not as much interest in the plot and how it would all resolve. The resolution for number one was good. However, I was not satisfied with how this one ended. Don't ask me why. Maybe it's a psychological thing.

Anyway, this film's plot is one that can't be described in words, actions, writing, customs or any other form of communication because it is the most convoluted plot since the third 'Pirates' installment. Remember how much difficulty I had with describing that plot? It'll be the same for this. That's why I'm not going to tell you anything but what the previews implied and a few other summaries, etc. etc. Nevertheless, it's the opinion that counts.

What is a good way to summarize the entire convoluted two hour film? Benjamin Gates (Nicolas Cage) is on yet another mission. He's a history nut so he's perfect for the job. The mission is to find out secrets about the assassination of President Lincoln. Things like: Who was involved in the assassination? What lead to it? Why did they choose to cooperate in the plan? But how is that going to happen? About fifteen convoluted clues later, we end up with an unsatisfactory ending that doesn't really prove much except for the main thing in Ben Gates' mind. Was Ben Gates' great-great grandfather Thomas Gates involved in President Lincoln's assassination? Perhaps. Perhaps not. Even after seeing the film I might still have both thoughts. That's what I didn't like. None of the clues really led to anything except more clues and no final result. All that happened just to be lead with another question. Perhaps they did that on purpose. However, the first one ended with not another clue but actually ended well. It was summed up pretty clearly, I think. Plus, it was much more entertaining and not too many plot points were put in to make it more and more confusing.

The movie is still entertaining though. I'll give it that. It takes a LOT of effort to make a feature length film and one that still keeps your attention is worth a positive rating. And I think the way I rated this film was fair. It's right in the middle of average to good. The characters in the film can assist to that. Cage, Voight (playing Patrick Gates, Ben's father), Bartha (the clueless friend Riley), and Kruger (playing the brains of the pack and the woman) are all well-written and entertaining characters. That's another positive note. Helen Mirren (playing Ben's mother) was OK. So was Ed Harris (playing the villain that wants the treasure just as much as Gates). I have a feeling all the writers involved in this film know how ridiculous the premise is. We all do. But they write for fun. They want it to be fun. They want it to be mindless entertainment. But, when you think about it the entertainment is not mindless. You do have to know at least some of what's going on. Otherwise, there's no point in watching the movie.

But I still won't call the film good. It's ridiculous; it's exhausting; it's entertaining; it's convoluted. And they most likely used some formula.

All that comes out to about what my rating is. It's hard to rate a film like this. Because, again, you're not looking for any plausibility at all in a film like this. And if you are you must have been born yesterday or even today.

But the fact that even at the end of the film you don't really feel satisfied but instead feel confused and none of your questions really seemed to be answered.

I felt that way. It's almost like I didn't really see a film. I saw what was more like an idea or tons of ideas plopped into one package. The film is a book of secrets and a book of confusion.

Did you find my review disorganized and convoluted? If you did I'm perfectly fine with that because I know I'm not alone.

Movie directed by Jon Turteltaub.

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