National Treasure: Book of Secrets

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National Treasure: Book of Secrets
Book of secrets post.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Jon Turteltaub
Produced by Jon Turteltaub
Jerry Bruckheimer
Screenplay by Cormac Wibberley
Marianne Wibberley
Story by Gregory Poirier
Cormac Wibberley
Marianne Wibberley

Terry Rossio
Ted Elliott
Starring Nicolas Cage
Jon Voight
Harvey Keitel
Ed Harris
Diane Kruger
Justin Bartha
Bruce Greenwood
Helen Mirren
Music by Trevor Rabin
Cinematography John Schwartzman
Amir Mokri
Edited by William Goldenberg
David Rennie
Production
company
Walt Disney Pictures
Jerry Bruckheimer Films
Junction Entertainment
Saturn Films
Distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Release dates
  • December 21, 2007 (2007-12-21)
Running time
124 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $130 million[1]
Box office $457.4 million[2]

National Treasure: Book of Secrets (released on home video as National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets) is a 2007 mystery adventure film directed by Jon Turteltaub and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer. It is a sequel to the 2004 film National Treasure and is the second part of the National Treasure franchise. The film stars Nicolas Cage, Diane Kruger, Justin Bartha, Jon Voight, Harvey Keitel, Ed Harris, Bruce Greenwood, and Helen Mirren.

It was stated in the first film's commentary that there were no plans for a sequel, but due to the first film's impressive box-office performance (earning $347.5 million worldwide), a sequel was given the go-ahead in 2005.

The film premiered in New York City on December 13, 2007, and was released in North America by Walt Disney Pictures on December 21, 2007.

Plot[edit]

Five days after the end of the Civil War, John Wilkes Booth and Michael O'Laughlen, both members of the Knights of the Golden Circle (KGC), enter a tavern and approach Thomas Gates to decode a message. Thomas recognizes the message as using the Playfair cipher and begins to translate it. While he does so, Booth leaves for Ford's Theatre to assassinate President Abraham Lincoln. Thomas solves the puzzle and realizes the men are still loyal to the Confederacy. A fight breaks out, and Thomas rips several pages from the diary and throws them in the fireplace. Thomas is shot, and the gunman retrieves only a page fragment.

Over 140 years later, Ben Gates is telling his great-great-grandfather's story at a Civilian Heroes conference. Black market dealer Mitch Wilkinson shows one of the 18 missing pages of John Wilkes Booth's diary, with Thomas Gates' name on it, convincing everyone that Thomas was not only a conspirator, but the grand architect of the Lincoln assassination. Ben sets out to prove the innocence of Thomas.

Using spectral imaging, Ben discovers a cipher pointing to Édouard Laboulaye hidden on the back of the diary page. He travels to Paris, where he finds a clue engraved on the torch of the scale model of the Statue of Liberty, referring to the two Resolute desks.

Ben then heads to London to look at the desk at Buckingham Palace with the help of his friend Riley Poole and estranged girlfriend Abigail Chase. From the Queen's desk, he obtains an ancient wooden plank.

Meanwhile, Wilkinson broke into Patrick Gates' house and cloned Patrick's cell phone in order to track Ben's whereabouts. Wilkinson eventually obtains the wooden plank, but not before Ben manages to photograph the symbols carved into the plank.

At Ben's insistence, Patrick reluctantly asks his ex-wife and Ben's mother, Dr. Emily Appleton, for help in translating the symbols. She does so, but points out that some of the glyphs are partial, leading Ben to conclude that another plank must be hidden in the other Resolute desk located in the Oval Office.

Ben and Abigail coax Abigail's new love interest, Connor, a curator for the White House, into letting them into the office to see the desk. Ben discovers that the second plank is missing, but he does find a stamp bearing the seal of the Book of Secrets. Riley tells Ben that the Book of Secrets contains documents collected by Presidents for Presidents' eyes only, covering such controversial subjects as the JFK assassination, Watergate, and Area 51.

Ben crashes the President's birthday party at Mount Vernon, with the hopes of showing the President a secret map drawn by President Washington of the Mount Vernon House and a secret escape tunnel under it. The President (Bruce Greenwood) is very intrigued by this and says to Ben they should go see it. They get to the secret tunnel under the House where they decipher a code and go in to the tunnel. Once inside, Ben closes the tunnel door and explains his motive of proving his ancestor's innocence. Ben goes on to ask about the "President's Secret Book". The President sympathetically warns Ben that his actions will be interpreted as kidnapping unless Ben can prove the treasure's existence, and reveals the location of the book, in the Library of Congress, "where books are kept". He also gives Ben the book's index code and asks him to look at page 47.

Ben calls Riley and Abigail and has them meet him at the Library of Congress. They make their way to a locked door where Ben uses the second code the President gave him. They are all rushing to find it, and while doing so, they see that it's not there. But as Ben pulls down a book where it should be, he happens to see a secret locked panel. Ben uses the book's index code to unlock it, and there it is - the President's book. They find the page with the information about the missing plank, and Ben reads an entry by President Coolidge, who found the plank in 1924, had it destroyed, and commissioned Gutzon Borglum to carve Mount Rushmore to erase the map's landmarks in order to protect the treasure. While reading, they hear police cars coming. Ben tells Abigail and Riley to go, and he takes a picture of the plank; Ben flips to page 47 and takes a picture of that as well (while never showing what's actually on page 47). Cops and FBI are now flooding the library to find Ben, while Abigail and Riley make their escape. Ben manages to get out and jump into Abigail's fleeing SUV while being chased by cops. Ben then sends the picture of the plank to his dad and tells him he must get it translated by Ben's mom.

Before Patrick can get to Emily's office for the translation, Mitch arrives and tells her that he needs the plank translated. Before she reads it, Mitch gets a call telling him that Patrick is on his way to her office; Mitch orders Emily to lie and get rid of him. Emily translates the plank but lied about the last symbol; after some words are exchanged between Emily and Patrick, Patrick leaves. Mitch walks back in and shows her a letter from the Queen of England to one of his relatives during the Civil War and tells her that the letter is needed along with the planks to actually find the treasure, then burns it. Mitch orders her to get her coat and leave with him.

Ben, Riley, Abigail, and Patrick head to Mount Rushmore where they meet Mitch, who has Ben's mother. Ben knew she was in trouble by the translation Emily gave to Patrick by the last symbol she read to him. Ben tells Mitch they can work together, but his gun and men must stay behind. Mitch agrees, and he helps them find the entrance of a cave from the writings in his family's secret Queen letter. They enter the cave and start looking for clues to find their way to the legendary Native American city of gold, Cíbola. Along the way, they encounter several traps, and Patrick and Emily get separated from the rest. Eventually, they find the city of solid gold beneath Mount Rushmore, and all are reunited. While everyone is looking around at its beauty and wonder, water starts pouring in. In order to escape the water and drowning, one person has to stay behind to hold open the escape hatch. Mitch demands that he leaves while Ben stays to hold it open, otherwise Abigail gets hurt. Ben agrees and Mitch helps him open the hatch once more. While Ben holds it, they all swim out, but before Mitch can go, Ben is thrown from holding it and gets his arm stuck. This forces Mitch to save Ben and sacrifice himself, asking Ben to give him the credit for finding the treasure.

Once out, Ben calls Agent Sadusky and tells him they found the treasure. Ben, Abigail, and Riley are escorted to see the President. The President tells the secret service that Ben didn't kidnap him and that he helped him get out of the tunnel. The President shows Ben the next day's newspaper and that it clears his family's name. Ben also ensures that Mitch receives joint credit for the find. The President asks Ben about his previous request, looking at page 47 of the Secret Book; he replies that what was written on the page is "life altering". Meanwhile, Emily is overseeing the treasure and relic removal with Patrick by her side. While Riley is asked by a pretty fan of his book for his autograph, Ben and Abigail decide to move back in together. Then back in Washington, Riley is walking down his street and sees a new red Ferrari. As he goes to look, he sees an envelope with his name on it; he opens it and finds the keys with a note from the President that says: "tax free". He jumps in and starts his new car up. While listening to it purr, he says "I love this car", and puts it in drive and hits the gas; while really being in reverse and flies back into a parked car.

Cast[edit]

Randy Travis makes a cameo appearance, playing himself. Small supporting parts are played by Joel Gretsch and Billy Unger as Gates' ancestors Thomas Gates and Charles Carroll Gates; Christian Camargo as John Wilkes Booth; and Zachary Gordon as a boy who gets into a heated argument with Gates over a Lincoln conspiracy.

Reception[edit]

Critical response[edit]

National Treasure: Book of Secrets received mixed reviews from critics. Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a rating of 35%, based on 125 reviews, with an average rating of 4.8/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "A talented cast goes to waste in the improbable National Treasure: Book of Secrets, which is eerily similar to the first film."[3] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 48 out of 100, based on 26 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[4]

British film critics disputed the implication of British support for the Confederate side in the American Civil War.[5] The film earned two Razzie Award nominations including Worst Actor for Nicolas Cage (also for Ghost Rider and Next) and Worst Supporting Actor for Jon Voight (also for Bratz: The Movie, September Dawn and Transformers), but lost both categories to Eddie Murphy for Norbit.

The film was nominated for Best Movie at 2008 MTV Movie Awards, but lost to Transformers.

Box office[edit]

National Treasure: Book of Secrets grossed $220 million in North America and $237.4 million in other territories for a total gross of $457.4 million, against a budget of $130 million.[6] It took 38 days to outgross the first film ($347.5 million).

In its opening weekend, the film grossed $44.8 million, finishing in first at the box office. It remained in first at the box office for two more weeks, grossing $35.7 million and $20.1 million, respectively, until it was dethroned by The Bucket List ($19.4 million).

Novelizations[edit]

Disney Press published an official novelization of the screenplay titled National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets The Junior Novel on November 6, 2007.[7] Parts of the story in the novel version differ slightly from what was actually filmed, owing to changes being made in the screenplay prior to and during production. For example, in the novel, Ben and Abigail photograph the wooden plank found hidden in the Queen's desk and leave it behind, with the car chase following. But in the movie, they take the plank with them on the chase.

Also published on the same day as the official novelization was a companion youth novel Changing Tides: A Gates Family Mystery by Catherine Hapka. Its story is set in England in the year 1612 and is the first in a series of planned historical novels about the Gates family. The epilogue from Changing Tides is included at the back of the National Treasure book.[8] The second youth novel by Hapka, Midnight Ride: A Gates Family Mystery, was published on March 8, 2008.[9]

Home video[edit]

National Treasure: Book of Secrets was released on DVD, UMD, and Blu-ray Disc on May 20, 2008[10] (June 2, 2008 in the UK).[11] In the opening weekend, 3,178,631 DVD units were sold, bringing in $50,826,310 in revenue. As of August 2009, 5,873,640 DVD units have been sold, generating revenue of $93,132,076. This does not include Blu-ray Disc sales or DVD rentals.[12]

The film has been retitled National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets for all three releases. The film's official website has also been changed accordingly.

A special edition, called the "National Treasure Presidential Edition", contains National Treasure and National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets inside a letter book which is a replica of the Presidents' secret book from National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets.[13]

Soundtrack[edit]

The soundtrack to National Treasure: Book of Secrets was released on December 18, 2007.

No. Title Artist Length
1. "Page 47"   Trevor Rabin 2:39
2. "Cibola"   Trevor Rabin 5:16
3. "Spirit of Paris"   Trevor Rabin 2:20
4. "City of Gold"   Trevor Rabin 2:13
5. "So!"   Trevor Rabin 1:46
6. "Bunnies"   Trevor Rabin 2:03
7. "Gabby Shuffle"   Trevor Rabin 1:52
8. "Franklin's Tunnel"   Trevor Rabin 4:28
Total length:
22:37[14]

Production[edit]

Shooting of the film in London

Many scenes of historic locations were filmed on location, including the scenes at Mount Vernon and Mount Rushmore.[15][16] Filming at Mount Rushmore took longer than initially scheduled, due to inclement weather and the decision to change the setting of additional scenes to the area around Mount Rushmore to take advantage of Black Hills backdrop.[16]

Sequel[edit]

Director Jon Turteltaub said that the team will take their time on a second National Treasure sequel,[17] but Disney has already registered the domains for NationalTreasure3DVD.com and NationalTreasure4DVD.com.[18] Though the second film ended with the question about page 47 of the President's book of secrets, Turteltaub responded in a press interview that the idea was not set in stone as the basis for National Treasure 3.

In October 2013, filmmaker Jon Turteltaub confirmed to Collider that the studio, himself, producer Jerry Bruckheimer and the actors all want to do the third film: "We want to do the movie, Disney wants to do the movie. We're just having the damnedest time writing it. I'll bet that within two years, we'll be shooting that movie. I'd say we're about half-way there. It's not only writing a great historical mystery, but we've gotta write something that has nothing to do with anything we've done before. The goal is to always have an original sequel, as silly as that sounds. We really want to make sure that the third one doesn’t just feel like a repeat of the first one, or one too many".[19]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "National Treasure: Book of Secrets". Already seen. 2007. Retrieved 2008-04-18. 
  2. ^ "National Treasure: Books of Secrets (2007)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2008-01-11. 
  3. ^ "National Treasure: Book of Secrets". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2008-01-19. 
  4. ^ "National Treasure: Book of Secrets (2007): Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 2007-12-28. 
  5. ^ Bradshaw, Peter (8 February 2008). "National Treasure: Book of Secrets". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 January 2011. 
  6. ^ "National Treasure: Book of Secrets (2007)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2007-12-28. 
  7. ^ "National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets, The Junior Novel". Amazon. Retrieved 2007-11-27. 
  8. ^ "Changing Tides (National Treasure)". Amazon. Retrieved 2007-11-28. 
  9. ^ "Midnight Ride (Gates Family Mystery)". Amazon. Retrieved 2008-07-15. 
  10. ^ Lai, Marcus. "National Treasure Blu-ray orders spike at Amazon". Punch jump. Retrieved 2008-04-16. 
  11. ^ "National Treasure 2 – Book of Secrets". Amazon. Retrieved 2008-07-15. 
  12. ^ "National Treasure: The Book of Secrets – DVD Sales", The Numbers, 2007 
  13. ^ "Disney's National Treasure Limited Leather 5-Disc Set DVD (National Treasure, National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets)". Amazon.com. Retrieved 24 March 2012. 
  14. ^ National Treasure: Book of Secrets Soundtrack TheOST. Retrieved January 13, 2014
  15. ^ "The National Treasure Tour at Mount Vernon". Mount Vernon Ladies' Association. Retrieved 12 June 2011. 
  16. ^ a b "'National Treasure 2' Shooting Update". Worst Previews. Retrieved 12 June 2011. 
  17. ^ Kirkland, Bruce (2008-05-30). "'National Treasure 3' in works". Jam!. CA: Canoe. 
  18. ^ Sciretta, Peter (2008-02-01). "Disney Plans For National Treasure 3 & 4". SlashFilm. 
  19. ^ Franklin, Garth (22 October 2013). "A "National Treasure 3" Is On The Way?". Dark Horizons. 

External links[edit]