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National Treasure: Book of Secrets

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It wasn't bad, but pales in comparison to the original. I know the plot was supposed to be absurd, but it jumped a little too far off the diving board. I mean, an Aztec city of gold in South Dakota? I thought it jumped into the main plot too quickly...there wasn't any warm-up. I also missed the cheesy patriotism of the first. There wasn't as much...the first one might as well have been called "U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!" If you're going to see a movie this weekend, you're better off with I Am Legend.

Having said all that, I still plan to get it when it comes out on DVD.

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I was rather bored with it on the whole. Having seen the first one, I found many of the moments to be overly predictable. For example, as soon as Gates

kidnapped the President, it took me about two seconds to recall how the last movie ended and figure out that he would end up being exonerated.

I'm with Moose on it being over the top. Many scenes simply strained the imagination. I do not require that a movie be completely "realistic," i.e. that it could happen in today's world. I can enjoy over the top, but other things have to come into play for me to like it. Consider the most recent Die Hard film. The scene toward the end in which John

tries to escape the helicopter in that truck, and in the process somehow manages to dodge all that gets thrown at him on those ramps,

is really over the top. But that movie had something going for it that NT didn't--huge action scenes. If your action scenes are stretches, at least make them really cool.

There's another scene I remember that bugged me.

They spend most of the movie making us think Wilkinson is a jerk for trashing Gates' family name with lies. And then they throw that away in what I thought was a very weak moment. It felt to me like Wilkinson was just casually making conversation, like "Oh by the way, I was just kidding about your family. Sorry. When's tea?" I'm not saying don't make parts of the story turn out to be incorrect. Not at all. That's part of the excitement. What I am saying is that the Gates family history was a major plot point and I didn't get that sense from how it was treated at the end.

I was also disappointed with Ed Harris's performance. I don't know whether it was his fault or the writers', but I've seen him be a much better villain, such as he was in The Rock.

There were a couple good moments, such as when

Gates asked that Wilkinson also receive credit for the find. I remember the first movie ending with some nonsense about the treasure belonging to everyone, and I was expecting similar tripe from this one. I was pleasantly surprised to hear Gates request credit for Harris' guy for the simple, beautiful reason that it was true.

And don't get me wrong, I'm not saying it had a horrible message and was the worst movie I've ever seen. I'm only saying it didn't excite me and I wouldn't have any real inclination to see it again were it not for the fact that my cousin was an extra in the classroom scene at the University of Maryland and she was supposedly visible on screen but I couldn't see it so now I'll have to rent the video and get some pause button exercise.

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I haven't seen the second one, but I agree that the first one was excessively mediocre, and I *do* demand that films set in the real world be realistic. This may actually be *because* I am a fantasy buff. I prefer either total fantasy or total realism, NOT BOTH AT ONCE WHILE TRYING TO PRETEND THAT YOU'RE ONLY DOING ONE.

Plus, secret-society-conspiracy-secret-masters stuff annoys the crap out of me, it's worse than UFO nuts. How the heck did they hide that gigantic tomb in the first one? Did they kill every single person that worked on it or saw the construction? Give me a break. I heard the words "President's Book of Secrets" and almost laughed myself out of my chair.

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Oh come on...the first one was a freakin' great movie. Yeah, it was cheesy and a little over-the-top with its patriotism, but that's how it was supposed to be and that's what made it good. My favorite part is where Nicholas Cage is reading from the Declaration of Independence almost like he's reading a love poem to the woman of his dreams.

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