I got the chance to watch National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets this week. What fun! I really enjoyed the first National Treasure movie, but I wasn't too excited when the second one came out because I thought, "How can they top the awesome treasure they found in the first movie?" And they didn't really, but the formula for the movie - treasure hunting, history, and action - still works.
In this movie, Ben Gates (Nicholas Cage), now a respected scholar, is making a presentation about his great-great-grandfather's role in trying to stop the assassination of President Lincoln. Out of the audience comes Mitch Wilkinson (Ed Harris), who counters that perhaps Thomas Gates was the mastermind of the entire assassination. Wilkinson produces a page from the diary of John Wilkes Booth as evidence of his theory.
In an effort to clear his ancestor's name, Ben starts investigating. What he learns is that the Confederate movement was searching for a legendary treasure - The City of Gold - to bolster and fund their resistance efforts, and that Thomas Gates refused to help them. We soon discover Wilkinson's ulterior motive for maligning Thomas Gates - to get Ben in on the hunt for the treasure. Pretty soon, all of the old gang - Riley Poole (Justin Bartha - so cute!), Abigail Chase (Diane Krueger), and Patrick Gates (Jon Voight), with the addition of Ben's mom (a wonderful performance by Helen Mirren) - are following the clues and putting the puzzle pieces together.
Along the way, Ben kidnaps the President of the United States (for about 20 minutes), sneaks a look at the President's Book of Secrets, and re-connects with Abigail.
I thought this movie was fun and entertaining. I like Nicholas Cage as Ben Gates more than any role he's played in recent memory, and Mirren added a classy touch to the cast. And though I usually hate blatant set-ups for future sequels in the franchise, this movie's reference to "page 47" in the Book of Secrets was actually intiguing. Let's hope that the next movie focuses less on finding an EVEN MORE SUPER-FABULOUS treasure and more on some other aspect of the adventure.