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National Treasure: Book of Secrets

National Treasure: Book of Secrets

Released: December 21, 2007

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Song Credits

"Familiar Places II"
written by barry devorzon, richard hazard
courtesy of apm music


"I've Got A Lovely Bunch of Cocoanuts"
written by fred heatherton


"Is It Still Over"
written by kenneth bell, larry henley
performed by randy travis
courtesy of warner bros. records inc.
by arrangement with warner music group film & tv licensing


"Better Class of Losers"
written by randy travis, alan jackson
performed by randy travis
courtesy of warner bros. records inc.
by arrangement with warner music group film & tv licensing

Movie Review: National Treasure: Book of Secrets (2-Disc DVD and Blu-ray Disc)

by Dan Goldwasser
on May 26th, 2008
[4 / 5] printable

2005's National Treasure was an enjoyable and successful (if not slightly implausable) film that took the audience through various locales related to the birth of the United States as Ben Gates (Nicholas Cage) and his cohorts went on a treasure hunt looking for the infamous treasure of the Templar Knights. In last winter's National Treasure: Book of Secrets, Ben and his team return, and they're on hunt for redemption, as new evidence brought forth by Mitch Wilkinson (Ed Harris) shows that Gates's great-grandfather might have been the mastermind behind Lincoln's assassination. Seeking to clear his family's name, Gates and his right-hand man Riley Poole (Justin Bartha), along with his estranged girlfriend Abigail (Diane Kruger) and his father Patrick (Jon Voight) begin a hunt to find the fabled City of Gold, and in doing so, prove that his ancestor was decoding a treasure map, and not plotting the presidential assassination. The hunt will take them to various locations across America (and even to the other side of the Atlantic), and require Ben to commit treason, kidnap the President of the United States, and even worse, involve his mother Emily (Helen Mirren), who hasn't spoken with Patrick for decades after a falling out over Patrick's treasure hunting proclivities.

Directed by Jon Turteltaub and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, the film is an entertaining one, never taking itself too seriously, and it provides plenty of thrills and enjoyable action sequences. But there are some nice dramatic moments as well, allowing some character depth, particularly involving the relationships between Ben and Abigail, and Patrick and his ex-wife Emily. The chase scenes are tight and never too convoluted, and the climactic sequence has a nice pacing to it. The accuracy of the historical events portrayed and explored are certainly questionable, but it definitely piques the curiosity, and more than likely, plenty of viewers will pop online to do some research about the actual events.

Released on DVD and Blu-Ray Disc, National Treasure: Book of Secrets boasts a very solid visual transfer, befitting that of modern films. The post-production tweaking of the imagery gives the film a slightly hyper-realistic look, with the deep saturations and high contrastthat are typically found in Bruckheimer productions. The audio on the disc is presented in Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Surround (as well as French, Spanish, Portuguese and - what I think is Thai - Dolby Digital 5.1). The audio tracks are good - there aren't as many action scenes as you might think, so it's a pretty front-heavy track, but dialogue is clear and when the action does kick in, the whole soundscape is used (including Trevor Rabin's score tracks coming nicely from the sides and rears), but it's not much of an immersive track overall. There are more subtitle options than you can shake a stick at, including Chinese, Thai, Korean, Malaysian and more. D-BOX code is included for those few out there who have the rumble boxes installed in their home theater.

There are plenty of extras presented (on the 2-disc DVD and Blu-ray) on here. First up is a commentary track with director Jon Turteltaub and actor Jon Voight. It's a slightly rambling commentary track, with Turteltaub and Voight discussing various aspects of the production, with the former focusing more on the technical aspects of the filmmaking, and the latter keeping the former back on track. There are a few funny moments in there, including a running gag where Turteltaub explains what Page 47 is - but a technical glitch makes it unintelligible. Overall it's a decent commentary, and subtitles are provided for it too - so you can just watch the movie with the subtitles and that might be a better way to do it.

A few deleted scenes (totaling 20 minutes) are presented, with introductions by director Turteltaub. Five are on the DVD, and then two more are exclusive to the Blu-ray disc release. You can see why they were deleted, but they are certainly interesting and give a little more insight into the storyline and characters. One major sequence "Pursuit at Rushmore: The Unseen Chapter" shows how a major sequence can be dropped and explained away with literally a few shots of dialogue.

The Blu-ray exclusive feature, "Book of History: The Fact or Fiction of NT2" lets you play a trivia game as the movie plays, and the more answers you get correct, the more points you get to unlock extras at the end. It also serves as an informative trivia track, with picture-in-picture videos that give context to the scenes. It's actually pretty in-depth, and makes it worth going through the film to see what you can learn. You can save your progress so you don't have to it all at one shot, but unfortunately like the Enchanted Blu-ray's trivia game, there's no way to just skip to the end and see the extras.

There are eight featurettes (totaling about an hour) that looks at the making of the film. "Secrets of a Sequel" talks about how the sequel got started; "The Book of Secrets: On Location" looks at the film's various locales; "Street Stunts: Creating the London Chase" looks at the challenges posed with filming a chance scene in London; "Inside the Library of Congress" shows how the production filmed in the actual library, and gives us a glimpse of the inner workings of the building and its phenomenal architecture and history; "Underground Action" looks at the sets and stunts in the underground chambers leading up to the film's climax; "Cover Story: Crafting the Presidents' Book" looks at the artistry in creating an incredibly detailed prop for the film; "Evolution of a Golden City" shows how the massive set for the finale of the film was created, and extended and enhanced using visual effects; finally, "Knights of the Golden Circle" gives us a quick glimpse at the real history behind the conspiratorial group behind Lincoln's assassination. All of these extras are presented in HD and look great.

Four Easter Eggs are hidden on the disc, looking at a quick visual effect to put the White House into the Easter Egg roll (appropriately), the top-driving stunt mechanism for the London chase scene that allows the actors to appear to be driving the cars, a tough time with an idol rolling onto the balancing platform from the climax of the film, and a little exploration of Turteltaub and Cage's friendship from when they went to high school together.

No trailers for National Treasure: Book of Secrets are presented, unfortunately. There's not as much on the visual effects or post-production aspects on this disc as I would have liked to see, and there is nothing on the music at all. (In fact, the only mention of the score comes during the commentary track.) But this is still a pretty in-depth special edition, and the extras make it a hearty package. With good audio and video transfers, as well as an impressive trivia section (on the Blu-ray only), the film is worth picking up - especially if you were a fan of the movie in theaters, or enjoy carefree adventures that might pique your interest in American history.

Movie Review: National Treasure: Book of Secrets

by Dan Goldwasser
on December 17th, 2007
[3 / 5] printable

In 2005, National Treasure hit theaters, and gave audiences an enjoyable - if not slightly implausible - romp through our nation's history as Ben Gates (Nicholas Cage) and his cohorts went on a treasure hunt looking for the infamous treasure of the Templar Knights. Now they're back, and on the hunt for redemption, as new evidence brought forth by Mitch Wilkinson (Ed Harris) shows that Gates's great-grandfather might have been the mastermind behind Lincoln's assassination. Seeking to clear his family's name, Gates and his right-hand man Riley Poole (Justin Bartha), along with his estranged girlfriend Abigail (Diane Kruger) and his father Patrick (Jon Voight) to find the fabled City of Gold, and in doing so, prove that his ancestor was decoding a treasure map, and not plotting the presidential assassination. The hunt will take them to various locations across America (and even to the other side of the Atlantic), and require Ben to commit treason, kidnap the President of the United States, and even worse, involve his mother Emily (Helen Mirren), who hasn't spoken with Patrick for decades after a falling out over Patrick's treasure hunting proclivities.

Directed by Jon Turtletaub and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, the film is a entertaining one, never taking itself too seriously, and it provides plenty of thrills and enjoyable action sequences. But there are some nice dramatic moments as well, allowing some character depth, particularly involving the relationships between Ben and Abigail, and Patrick and his ex-wife Emily. The chase scenes are tight and never too convoluted, and the climactic sequence has a nice pacing to it. The accuracy of the historical events portrayed and explored are certainly questionable, but it definitely piques the curiosity, and more than likely, plenty of viewers will pop online to do some research about the actual events.

The music was composed by Trevor Rabin, who scored the first film, and it's perfectly fine music, with lots of rhythmic action, and a strong Americana theme which he uses from the first film. The visual effects are pretty good - and when combined with the production design, do a very good job at putting the film in locations that were more than likely difficult to shoot in. (The Buckingham Palace and Library of Congress sequences come to mind.) National Treasure: Book of Secrets is escapist entertainment that will be fun for the whole family, and is likely to spark interest in American history.



Trailer Music

The trailers for National Treasure: Book of Secrets featured music by Corner Stone Cues, X-Ray Dog, Pfiefer Broz. Music, audiomachine, and Two Steps From Hell.

View the complete list of trailer music...

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