An ancient treasure is hidden for centuries. A capable professor frantically searches for clues before the enemy can find it. A sharp blonde gets involved. Hold that thought; this is not "Indiana Jones." This is National Treasure: Book of Secrets. Like the first National Treasure, this film is about Ben Gates, (Nicolas Cage) Riley Poole (Justin Bartha) and Abigail Chase (Diane Kruger). Using American history, they must solve clues to find a huge American treasure before the bad guys can get to it.
The thrill of treasure hunting is over, and Riley and Ben have fallen on hard times. Riley has just been audited, and Ben has just been dumped by Abigail. To make matters worse, Ben's ancestor has been accused of taking part in the assassination of President Lincoln. To prove his family's innocence, Ben must find the legendary "City of Gold" that was built by the ancient Americans. The quest is full of fun characters, such as Ben's separated parents, Patrick Gates (Jon Voight) and Emily Appleton, (Helen Mirren) and the memorable Riley and Abigail. Their journeys include trips to Paris, Buckingham Palace, the Oval Office, and Mount Rushmore. They will stretch their knowledge of American history even further than before. Clues will range from the Statue of Liberty to the secret President's Book.
More than the first National Treasure, the "Book of Secrets" focuses on the characters themselves. The arguments, side insults, break-ups, and back-togethers become a little distracting. All of the acting is excellent, but often takes too much focus. The plot line is also more complicated than the first movie. The viewer wonders why some of the actions are necessary, although the plans are always absorbing and interesting to watch. The film is not mislabeled an adventure, as proved by a chase scene that nearly destroys historic London.
Those who enjoy a good clean adventure based on history (like the first National Treasure) will enjoy this movie. The plot of "Book of Secrets" is not quite as believable as the first National Treasure, and so a certain charm is lost. The movie may not inspire historical debate, but it is a fun, well-filmed, and interesting hour and a half for the whole family to enjoy.