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Movie Reviews from a Christian Family Friendly Entertainment

Exciting Book of Secrets Great for Family Moviegoing

  • Lisa Rice Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
  • 2007 12 Dec
  • COMMENTS
Exciting <i>Book of Secrets</i> Great for Family Moviegoing

DVD Release Date:  May 20, 2008
Theatrical Release Date:  December 21, 2007
Rating:  PG (for some violence and action)
Genre:  Action/Adventure/Sequel
Run Time:  123 minutes
Director:  Jon Turteltaub
Actors:  Nicolas Cage, Ed Harris, Justin Bartha, Diane Kruger, Jon Voight, and Helen Mirren.

There’s nothing quite as fun as an action movie that teaches a little history and raises questions about possible secrets and conspiracies that groups like Native Americans, our forefathers, and even our presidents are carrying—some of whose unfolding might lead to vast treasure. 

Even more thrilling is when the search for treasures and national secrets is accompanied by a ticking clock, evil bad guys and a harrowing FBI manhunt.  Such is the exciting and entertaining new movie, National Treasure:  Book of Secrets.

It’s often tough for sequels to rival their originals, but this Nicolas Cage adventure film manages it beautifully.  The production value is high, with many scenes looking and feeling like Raiders of the Lost Ark—and better.  There’s humor, romance and some clever plot points in the writing.  After all, how would you kidnap the president of the United Sates and get away with it?  The story works well and entertains adults without being too complicated for sharp middle-schoolers.

Here’s the story:  Benjamin Gates (Nicolas Cage) is lecturing on the probable existence of the fabled “City of Gold” that Native Americans used to talk about, when he’s suddenly interrupted by Mitch Wilkinson (Ed Harris), who purports that Ben is wrong about some important things.  He produces a missing page of John Wilkes Booth’s diary, which, he says, proves that Gates’ great grandfather was actually involved in the conspiracy to kill Abraham Lincoln.  The media goes crazy with the news, and suddenly Ben and his family become the object of suspicion and disrespect.

Bent on proving the innocence of his relative and restoring the family name, Ben follows a centuries-old string of clues that takes him to Europe and finally back to our nation’s capital.  Along the way, Ben and his high-tech brainiac sidekick, Riley Poole (Justin Bartha) uncover some of the nation’s most treasured and guarded secrets.

Ben must work hard to win back the favor of his old girlfriend, Abigail Chase (Diane Kruger), and reluctantly, she helps in the pursuit of truth.  Ben also enlists the help of his estranged parents, Patrick (Jon Voight) and Emily (Helen Mirren), whose expertise in matters of history and treasure-hunting will prove to be crucial.

As various shocking truths unfold, Ben and his cronies realize that, in order to clear their family name, they will have to find the fabled City of Gold, and to get there, they’ll have to make their way into several heavily-guarded, inaccessible places.  Ben even realizes that he’ll need to kidnap the president in order to work a deal and get some crucial information about a mysterious book.  Though his friends are horrified, they eventually decide to join him in his plan, and the group finds themselves on the adventure of their lives.

Facing terrible odds, relationship challenges, a chase by Wilkinson and the FBI, the crumbling construction of ancient ruins, and even a surprising, terrifying twist of nature, the treasure hunters will have to work together as never before if they’re going to clear the Gates name—and give the world another amazing wonder.

National Treasure:  Book of Secrets is an exciting, well-made film that families will want to support.  According to some friends in the industry, it is terribly difficult to make a family-friendly movie that’s not schmaltzy, that’s full of action, adventure, history and romance.  It’s no small order; but when filmmakers accomplish this, we need to support these kinds of movies and send a message to Hollywood that we want many more of these great movies.

This film is also a great platform from which to engage the family in good conversation.  Families can talk about the team and their motives, the bad guys and their motives and how God feels about greed and the right and wrong kind of quest for treasure.  Proverbs is filled with insights about gaining true treasure.

Overall, National Treasure:  Book of Secrets makes a terrific moviegoing experience for the family this holiday season.

CAUTIONS:

  • Drugs/Alcohol:  None.
  • Language/Profanity:  None noted.
  • Sex/Nudity:  None.
  • Violence:  Car chases, FBI chases, guns, shootouts, fights, etc.  Also acts of nature:  flooding caves, etc. 
  • Worldview:  Mixed, with some going for treasure out of good motives, and others for wrong motives.  The good choices are commendable in the end.