Spoiler Points for National Treasure: Book of Secrets

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Spoiler Points for National Treasure: Book of Secrets (2007) [PG] 124 minutes
WIP™ Scale: $11.75
DVD Release Date: 20 May 2008 (click date to purchase or pre-order)
Film's Official WebsiteFilm's Trailer
Click to read the non-spoiler review

Click to see photos from the Premiere of National Treasure: Book of Secrets

Spoiler Points:
• There's a goofy "Goofy" cartoon before the film that's about as funny as watching someone hook up stereo equipment, literally.
• Watch the trailer (link above), most of the plot points are spoiled in it.

Still want more? Ok…
• Mitch Wilkinson (Ed Harris) shows up at a lecture by Ben (Nicholas Cage) and Patrick Gates (Jon Voight) about the brilliance of their ancestor Thomas Gates in helping to prevent Confederate infiltrators from getting a hold of funds that could have helped the South win the war by burning a paper that held clues to a hidden treasure. He claims the page proves that Thomas Gates was the architect of the Lincoln assassination.
• But, really, Mitch is baiting Ben into finding the long lost City of Gold which he believes Ben can do if given the clues and the impetus to lead him right to the treasure.
• After a confusing set of events that one would have to write down while watching the film directly to chart out, Ben comes across most of the clues to the treasure including two hidden in the twin resolute desks of the Queen of England and the President of the USA. Fortunately, his mother, Emily Appleton (Helen Mirren) is an expert in translating ancient indigenous languages of the Americas and deciphers the clues that lead them to the Black Hills of South Dakota, specifically the area around Mt. Rushmore.
• Mitch has memorized clues from a letter his family has, for some reason, possessed for three generations, written by Queen Victoria to a Confederate General indicating some clues she's obtained that along with the other clues will guide them to the entrance of hidden city.
• The clues lead Ben to figure out they need to pour water on the rocks to reveal an eagle which Abigail Chase (Diane Kruger) finds above a crevice. Ben reaches in and pulls a lever that causes rocks to tumble down across a chasm of some distance away. They enter the opening revealed when the rocks cave in only to be then enclosed when a big rolling circle rock closes to seal them in.
• Shortly, thereafter, Abigail, Riley Poole (Justin Bartha), Ben, and Mitch end up on this giant balancing platform right out of the minds of the "Survivor" challenge creators, that they must balance on or plummet several stories to their death below.
• Emily and Patrick dig through a different tunnel trying to meet back up with the rest of their group and end up having to swing across a deep chasm to another tunnel.
• Abigail notices a rope ladder they can use to escape if they balance the table correctly to climb up to it, which forces Mitch's hand. He wants to go first.
• Egos aside, they all escape and end up in a big cavern with waterfalls. They crank a big wheel that dams the water and allows them access to the entrance to the Lost City of Gold, which, sadly, doesn't really look that spectacular or golden. The lighting is not majestic enough or something. Oh, and Emily and Ben show up just at the right time to join them in being nearly all drowned as the dam burst and re-floods the chamber. Mitch sacrifices his life for the group to be saved hoping they will mention him in the discovery which is all he really wants in life.
• They get out just in time to meet up with federal agents hoping to arrest Ben for kidnapping the President, but when the President learns that Ben has been successful in finding the city, he makes it all good, publishes a story in the newspaper about what a hero Thomas Gates is, gives Justin back his Ferrari confiscated due to failure to pay taxes on his previous earnings, and Emily gets put in charge of the preservation efforts to bring the Lost City to the world. Oh, and Ben and Abigail get back together!

But, there are some 'problems' …
• Someone needs to unravel the entire Queen Victoria / President Coolidge desk map letter thing.
• Someone needs to explain why Thomas Gates's name was in JWB's diary. Was this a note to himself that the needed to have Gates look at the page to figure out the cipher? That's the assumption, it seems we're to come to, but they never actually say in the film despite it being the sole reason for the existence of the film's story.
• Someone needs to explain why Ben didn't figure out after the London encounter with Mitch's baddies that they must have clones his father's cell phone. He never does figure this out and goes so far as to email the picture from the President's Book of Secrets of the map from the desk to his father's cell phone. Which, had he even stopped to think about how Mitch knew he'd be in London, he could have figured out the cell phone was compromised, and he never would have sent the map picture to his father in this manner. Also, is there any cell phone camera on earth good enough to capture a picture of a picture of an object as big as a pocket-sized book that would then allow someone to read and translate one a 2 inch by 2.5 inch screen ancient symbols? This seems a bit fishy.
• Can anyone explain why if the President at the time found the piece in his desk, why a photograph of it would be place in the Book of Secrets and the original destroyed? Why not keep it?
• Why does Mitch feel the need to burn Queen Victoria's letter? Does he think that Emily is going to overpower him and swipe it from him? Why do all these treasure hunters in the films seem to think destroying artifacts (tossing them into the river, setting them on fire, etc.) is just okay?
• Ok, so Mt. Rushmore was built to hide the Lost City? Can someone elaborate on this?
• Finally, and this is a big one, but…
•• Ben, Abigail, and Riley are allowed to see the Book of Secrets. The President asks about page 47. Oh, they could find out all about all this other stuff, but they only have time to get what they came for, and that's the picture of the wooden map piece. It probably would have been smarter plot-wise, by the way, to have the translation of the map done once the pieces were both in hand, because who can now correctly recall which piece had what info? Anyway, why would the President let them look into the book? If he really thought this was a good idea? Why does he trust them? This is the most important book in all of history, and he trusts they won't just steal it or make a photocopy? Or read stuff that then could be spilled to the world? Did this part make any sense to anyone? Meanwhile, at the end, the President and Gates discuss Page 47—"It's life changing." Is this a set-up for National Treasure 3: Page 47 Deciphered? If not, why didn't they just tell us what it was about? Or something more? And, did the President plan to move the book? Or did he plan to leave it's location and the code in the hands of these three and just trust them?

Well, have fun discussing these and other questions that occur to people in relation to the film and a possible third installment (should there be one or not) in this moderated forum.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

How did the discovery of the city clear great grandpa gates' name? Why couldn't the president look at page 47 himself? It's his book.

Greggy said...

My understanding was the premise that in order to prove the Gates family was telling the truth, they had to prove that the page was torn from grandpa gates' book to protect what was on the page from the KGC. The KGC (or the confederates) were opposers of Lincoln and wanted to find the treasure to have enough money to essentially fund whatever movement they wanted so they could take over. In that sense. That is implied when Gates was speaking with the President, saying his grandpa died for his country protecting us from allowing the confederacy to get the treasure, making them stronger. It was also referred to when they were talking about the letter the Queen had written to the KGC, giving them the clues to the treasure in hopes that they would find it, weakening the United states position by funding the opposition with the treasure money.
the second half of your question doesnt have as much rambling (sorry). The president asked Gates about page 47 not to find out what was on it, but to get help understanding it and figuring out a solution and/or what it meant.

I believe I am right but of course I only saw the movie once. thanks

Greggy said...

The first half of your question is a long drawn out answer but in response to your second half, The president did look at page 47. He needed Gates' help deciphering what it meant and/or helping him create a solution. Thus leading to the next Nat'l treasure which by the look of box office numbers is going to happen.

Anonymous said...

Just saw the film...lots of fun! Biggest mistake I saw was that the ship wreck survivor cured an indian chief in Florida and was taken to the golden city as a reward. About 2000 miles away? That was in another nation! Not all indians got along. And I don't get why the president didn't just say that he was NOT kidnapped in the first place!

The Dude said...

"Meanwhile, at the end, the President and Gates discuss Page 47—"It's life changing." Is this a set-up for National Treasure 3: Page 47 Deciphered?"

Bingo! At least the "National Treasure 3" part is correct. When a property makes over 200 million per picture, you milk the goose as long as you can.

But I hope they don't split up Benjamin Franklin Gates and Abigail Adams Chase (OK, I made up the Adams part, but doesn't it sound Americana-esque for this party?) this time around. That had to be the lamest plot device, aside from Riley losing millions of dollars, despite the ability to electronically control the entire Internet, access the planetery satellite integration system, and probably start World War III with his Play Station console.

I predict the proof that aliens existed next time around. JFK assassination is too lame, Jimmy Hoffa is probably a footnote ho-hum explanation, and anything else we can think of that's outrageous.

Anonymous said...

Why didn't the Queen just send a coded message that was more direct about how to get to the city of gold... unless she only had the clues that were collected over time... and then why did she put the wooden symbol things in to different desks in such hard to reach places... and why give the desk to the President of the United States of all people?

Did anyone else notice how much easier it was for Ben Gate's parents to get through the tunnel to the inner city?

I noticed that mistake about the salior saving the cheif too... Mt. Rushmore is about as far from the ocean as you can get.