Friday, March 14, 2008

National Treasure: Book of Secrets

The Movie Snob sounds off

National Treasure: Book of Secrets (C). On the plus side, this is a perfectly nice adventure story with no strong violence or profanity that I can recall. It's like Indiana Jones-lite. I would guess that 11- and 12-year olds might really like it (if you can pry them away from their video games long enough). And the cast is remarkable, including Jon Voight (Midnight Cowboy), Helen Mirren (The Queen), Ed Harris (Apollo 13), and Harvey Keitel (Pulp Fiction), in addition to star Nicolas Cage (Valley Girl). I cannot resist quoting Roger Ebert, "You could start with a cast like that and make one of the greatest movies of all time, which is not what happened here." I beg to differ as to N. Cage, whom I have never liked, and who looks increasingly bizarre as he ages. Diane Kruger (Troy) is pretty but insubstantial, and she and Cage generate about as much heat as two passing icebergs. The "couple's" final words are a striking commentary on what passes for romance three decades after the sexual revolution: having survived some hair-raising adventures (in which Cage's character willingly risks death to save Kruger's life) and having discovered a fabulous mythical artifact--she invites him to move (back) in with her. And you thought Gone With the Wind and Casablanca were romantic! I would feel guilty giving it worse than a C, because it was somewhat entertaining in its ridiculousness, and because there is something to be said for a movie that delivers exactly what you expect. Still, a little more would have been nice.

I liked her better as Helen of Troy.


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