13 January 2008

National Treasure - Book of Secrets

Who is not intrigued by a little conspiracy theory? Besides it is always nice that the good guys win in the end and it is even better that they always find the treasure and get the girls! This is what happens in National Treasure - Book of Secrets...Yet, it seems to be a premise for a franchise that is going to work, and perhaps work even better than its predecessor in Indiana Jones.

The beauty of this film is that it really is an action film that the whole family can enjoy. It is intellectually stimulating from the perspective of plot and will undoubtedly intrigue anyone ever dreaming about a lost city of gold or wanting to improve their abstract historical knowledge for their next 'trivial pursuit' competition with their friends or down the pub on a Friday night. For the kiddies it is action non-stop without the blood, gratuitous violence, and swearing.

The cynics among us might suggest the whole movie (the second in what is destined to be a series) is designed to set up the sequel. The mysterious page 47 seems destined to become the plot for the next installment, but what is on page 47? This is the unanswered question although we do know it to be life-altering. Life altering here is in fact taking on a life of its own in the blogosphere with many people suggesting the next big treasure hunt is going to be the search for the fountain of youth or life (done and re-done in numerous movies including one of the Tomb Raiders films starring Angelina Jolie, which is a good connection seeing her real life father plays the father to Nicholas Cage's character in National Treasure--coincidence or something more?).

Life altering in this movie was unscripted but designed to draw interest form movie goers. It has worked and worked so well that it is likely to spur an industry of its own, at least until there is a sequel come out to quell the suspicions. But with suggestions being that the franchise is to go more international then another mythical long lost treasure is the most likely choice, and possibly something from the age of antiquity. As one pundit stated page 47 seemed to be a good number of pages before the information that Ben Gates was looking for relating to Abraham Lincoln and John Wilkes Booth. This, as the logic goes, rules out some of the more modern treasure stories associated with looted treasures from the world wars.

With the rape and pillage of great civilizations over the many thousands of years of human existence means that the possibilities for the next big treasure hunt for the Gates family are endless.

The search for the mysterious cities of gold, and there are seven of them, has been something that has peaked the interest in many an explorer and treasure hunter, seeing many of them die in the cause or become disillusioned by it. Or the contemplation of support by Queen Victoria for the Confederate cause. Or the fact that there are three Statues of Liberty. These are all interesting tid-bits of historical trivia.

But for me the more interesting facts relate to the idea that there is a book that passes from one president to the next that in essence contains all the nitty gritty details of all the unsolved mysteries that conspiracy buffs live on such as the JFK assassination and the Watergate scandal and the missing Nixon tapes. Maybe its me, or maybe I am more of a conspiracy buff than I imagine...did anyone else find it interesting that there are supposedly 18 pages missing from the JWB diary and there are also 18 minutes (and a little bit) missing from the Nixon tapes? I should add though that there is a suggestion that further analysis by the FBI has stated that there are maybe as many as 52 pages missing from the diary...

All in all the movie is good entertainment and anyone with an interest in historical fact will need to do a little research of their own to separate the fact from the fiction. It is not the nest movie I have ever seen but it is satisfying in the manner in which it sets up the sequel and leaves you wondering and anticipating the next installment and this is what a franchise film must do!

If you have an interest in history, particularly US history, and a thirst for trivia, then this is a movie you must see!

The Book of Secrets appears to have many more secrets to reveal!

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