|National Treasure: Book of Secrets|
|Directed by||Jon Turteltaub|
|Screenplay by||Cormac Wibberley|
by Jim Kouf
|Music by||Trevor Rabin|
|Distributed by||Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures|
|Box office||$459.2 million|
National Treasure: Book of Secrets (released on home video as National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets) is a 2007 American action-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 film of the National Treasure film series. The film stars Nicolas Cage, Diane Kruger, Justin Bartha, Jon Voight, Harvey Keitel, Ed Harris, Bruce Greenwood, and Helen Mirren.
The film premiered in New York City on December 13, 2007, and was released in North America by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures on December 21, 2007. Like its predecessor, the film received mixed reviews due to its excessive similarity to the first one, but was a box office success, grossing over $459 million worldwide. A third film is in development.
On April 14, 1865, five days after the end of the American Civil War, John Wilkes Booth and Michael O'Laughlen enter a tavern in Washington, D.C., and approach Thomas Gates to decode a message in Booth's diary. 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 US President Abraham Lincoln. Thomas solves the puzzle and realizes the men are members of the Knights of the Golden Circle and are Confederate sympathizers. A fight breaks out, and Thomas is shot. Thomas rips several pages from the diary and throws them in the fireplace. The gunman retrieves only a page fragment.
Approximately 142 years later, three years after the events of the first film, Thomas's great-great-grandson Ben Gates delivers a lecture on the story at a Civilian Heroes conference. A black market antiquities dealer, Mitch Wilkinson, shows one of the 18 missing pages of John Wilkes Booth's diary, with Thomas Gates's name written on it, convincing everyone that Thomas was not only a conspirator but also the grand architect of the Lincoln assassination. Ben sets out to prove Thomas' innocence by finding a possible treasure that Thomas was searching for.
Using spectral imaging, Ben, his estranged girlfriend Abigail Chase, and his friend Riley Poole, discover a cipher pointing to Édouard Laboulaye hidden on the back of the diary page. Ben and Riley travel to Paris, where they find a clue engraved on the torch of the scale model of the Statue of Liberty, referring to the two Resolute desks. One of the desks is used by the President of the United States at the Oval Office in Washington, and the other is used by the Queen of the United Kingdom in Buckingham Palace in London.
Ben and Riley then head to London to infiltrate the Queen's private living quarters, and Abigail shows up unannounced. From the Queen's desk, Ben obtains an ancient wooden plank. Meanwhile, Wilkinson has broken into Patrick Gates' house and cloned Patrick's cell phone 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-Gates, 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 at the White House.
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 finds a stamp bearing the seal of the "President's Secret Book." Riley tells Ben that the so-called "Book of Secrets" contains documents collected "for presidents, by presidents and for presidents' eyes only" and covers such controversial subjects as the JFK assassination, Watergate, and Area 51. Ben then deduces that the only way to ask the president about the book alone is by kidnapping him.
Ben rigs the president's birthday party to be moved to Mount Vernon, where he crashes the party by showing up uninvited to convince the president to follow him into a secret tunnel under the House, where he asks him about the book. The president, upon learning of Ben's cause, sympathizes, but warns Ben that if he does not find the treasure, he will be charged with a federal offense. Ben convinces the president to reveal the location of the book, which is at the Library of Congress, with the stipulation that he is not to tell anyone else about the information contained in the book.
In the book, Ben finds a picture of the missing plank from the desk and 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 to protect the treasure. However, FBI Agent Sadusky tracks Ben to the Library, and the three narrowly escape capture.
Ben, Riley, Abigail, and Patrick then travel to Mount Rushmore, where they meet Wilkinson, who has kidnapped Emily. Wilkinson helps them find the entrance of a cave containing the legendary Native American city of gold, Cíbola. Once inside, they encounter several booby traps and Ben, Riley, Abigail, and Mitch get separated from Ben's parents. Eventually, they reunite and find the city of solid gold underneath Mount Rushmore and it begins flooding with water. To get out alive, one person must stay behind to hold open the door to the tunnel. After a struggle and Ben's attempt to sacrifice himself, Wilkinson ends up staying behind and asking Ben to give him joint credit for helping them in finding the treasure.
Ben clears his family's name with the discovery and is cleared of all charges when the President, in an attempt to protect Ben, tells everyone that Ben saved his life. Ben also ensures Wilkinson receives joint credit for the find. At the end, the president mentions the favor he asked of Ben when he gave him the location of the book. Riley meets a woman who has read his book and gets his Ferrari back from the president who owes him a favor. Ben and Abigail get back together. Emily leads the excavation of Cíbola and reconciles with Patrick.
Randy Travis makes a cameo appearance, playing himself. Small supporting parts are played by Joel Gretsch and Billy Unger as Gates's 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. In France, Guillaume Gallienne and Scali Delpeyrat appear (uncredited) as the French policemen.
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.
Many scenes of historic locations were filmed on location, including the scenes at Mount Vernon and Mount Rushmore. 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 the Black Hills backdrop. The scene at the beginning of the film in which Riley is signing copies of his book of the Templar Treasure until his Ferrari is confiscated by the IRS took place at the street level Borders Group bookstore of Garfinckel's Department Store.
Main article: National Treasure: Book of Secrets (soundtrack)
The soundtrack to National Treasure: Book of Secrets was released on December 18, 2007.
|1.||"Page 47"||Trevor Rabin||2:39|
|3.||"Spirit of Paris"||Trevor Rabin||2:20|
|4.||"City of Gold"||Trevor Rabin||2:13|
|7.||"Gabby Shuffle"||Trevor Rabin||1:52|
|8.||"Franklin's Tunnel"||Trevor Rabin||4:28|
National Treasure: Book of Secrets grossed $44.8 million in its opening week, placing at #1 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).
The film 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, making it the ninth-highest-grossing film of 2007, and the highest-grossing film in the series. It took 38 days to outgross the first film ($347.5 million).
On Rotten Tomatoes the film holds an approval rating of 36% based on 130 reviews, with an average rating of 4.80/10. 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." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 48 out of 100, based on 26 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A–" on an A+ to F scale.
Roger Ebert gave the film 2 out of 4 stars.
British film critic Peter Bradshaw disputed the implication of British support for the Confederate side in the American Civil War.
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 the 2008 MTV Movie Awards, but lost to Transformers.
National Treasure: Book of Secrets was released on DVD, UMD, and Blu-ray Disc on May 20, 2008 (June 2, 2008 in the UK). 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.
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.
Disney Press published an official novelization of the screenplay titled National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets The Junior Novel on November 6, 2007. 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. However, 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. The second youth novel by Hapka, Midnight Ride: A Gates Family Mystery, was published on March 8, 2008.
The group mentioned in the film as being behind the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and pursuing the city of gold, The Knights of the Golden Circle, had actually disbanded in 1863. It was based in Cincinnati, Ohio, where its founder George W. L. Bickley resided. Though a native of Virginia, Bickley had actually been known for being an adventurer and also bad with finances. His main focus was also not on preserving the Confederate States of America (CSA), but restoring slavery in southern neighboring countries which he wanted to make part of a proposed nation dubbed "Golden Circle." While some members of the group would join the Confederate Army, Bickley was more focused on colonizing parts of northern Mexico as slave states. He would not join the Confederate Army until after his expeditions in Mexico faltered in 1863. Soon afterwards, the organization was exposed and many members were arrested while attempting to steal numerous gold shipments from San Francisco Bay.
Following the outbreak of the American Civil War numerous Golden Circle members were not focused on fighting Union states north of the Mason-Dixon Line like the film suggests, but were pre-occupied with making the Union territory of New Mexico a part of the proposed Golden Circle nation as well. Those who operated in the North mostly aligned with Copperhead politicians who preferred a negotiated end to the war. Bickley, who served the Confederate Army for months as a surgeon to General Braxton Bragg, would be captured in Indiana in July 1863 on charges of being a Confederate spy and remained in house arrest until October 1865. The month before his arrest, Bickley abandoned the Confederate Army after preferring to settle in Tennessee. Former members would also name its successor organization the Order of the Sons of Liberty in 1864, the year before Lincoln's assassination. This successor organization was exposed the same year it was founded and members were arrested and tried for treason.
Both the way Benjamin Gates snuck into the party that the President was attending, by sneaking out of a boat his father used to distract only a few Secret Service men, and the way he held the President hostage, by holding him behind some gates located in a tunnel below the building where the party was held, would have likely also backfired as he would have likely been met by more Secret Service agents. At least 3,200 Secret Service agents are assigned to protect just the President of the United States alone. The film's suggestion that Britain wanted a strong alliance with the Confederate States of America was also highly unlikely. Efforts which were made by Confederate Secretary of State Judah P. Benjamin to persuade Britain to simply recognize the Confederate States of America proved unsuccessful.
In May 2008 Jon Turteltaub confirmed that there would be additional National Treasure movies, but acknowledge that the creative team would take their time on the second sequel. That same year, The Walt Disney Company registered the IP for the domain names for future films.
In October 2013, Turteltaub stated that all individuals involved with the first two movies want to make a third film. He further stated that the delays have been due to working out the script, and that he expected the film to begin production in 2015. By 2014, producer Jerry Bruckheimer announced that a new team of writers were working on the script. In May 2016, Nicolas Cage confirmed that the script was still being sorted out. By September 2017, it was revealed that a script had been finished, but that the executives at Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures were not satisfied with the story. In July 2018, Turtletaub stated that the script was "close", but the studios still weren't going to green-light production yet.
In January 2020, after years of development hell, it was announced that a third film was officially moving forward with a script from Chris Bremner. Jerry Bruckheimer will return as producer and the original cast is expected to return as well.