National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets (2007) [Blu-Ray]

Genre(s): Action / Adventure / Fantasy
Disney || PG - 125 minutes - $34.99 || May 20, 2008
Reviewer: Brad Lowenberg || Posted On: 2008-05-21


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

B L U - R A Y
.:: EXCLUSIVES ::.

Blu-ray Exclusives

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Jon Turteltaub
Writer(s): Jim Kouf and Oren Aviv & Charles Segars (characters), Gregory Poirier and The Wibberleys & Ted Elliott & Terry Rossio (story), The Wibberleys (screenplay)
Cast: Nicolas Cage, Jon Voight, Harvey Keitel, Ed Harris, Diane Kruger, Justin Bartha, Helen Mirren


Theatrical Release Date: December 21, 2007


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Director and Co-Star Commentary
  • Book of History: Fact and Fiction of National Treasure (Blu-Ray Exclusive)
  • Deleted Scenes w/ Director Intros
  • Secrets of a Sequel Documentary


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (2.35)
  • English (Dolby TrueHD 5.1), English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

IMAGE

National Treasure 2 is the follow-up to the incredibly successful 2004 film.

The film once again stars Nicholas Cage as Benjamin Gates along with his geeky sidekick Riley (Justin Bartha), his father Patrick (John Voight) and his now ex-girlfriend Abigail Chase (Diane Kruger) on a mission to clear his great grandfathers name of being a co-conspirator in the assassination of one of our nationís greatest Presidents, Abraham Lincoln. This time around the treasure at stake is the Aztec City of Gold, which is something the villain, Mitch Wilkinson (Ed Harris) wants to claim as his own.

If you read my review for National Treasure on Blu-ray you already know I enjoyed the film immensely. After writing my review I quickly popped in National Treasure 2 gearing myself up to spend some time watching the latest adventures of Benjamin Gates. What followed for the next 2 hours appeared to be almost a carbon copy of National Treasure, with some adjustments in characters and plot. Now, that's not necessarily a bad thing. National Treasure was a great film that I enjoyed, but I kept thinking to myself "Didn't we do something just like this before"? To me it seemed like they took the outline for National Treasure, changed a few characters around, and then bam, we got a sequel.

Following the outline of the first movie we have the villain who is always one step behind Benjamin, but wants him to continue with what he is doing in hopes of finding the treasure at the same time. Once again, after Benjamin finds location of the treasure, the villain forces Benjamin to team up or he will cause great harm to his family and friends. I suppose there is no reason to mess with success, but I was hoping for a plot that was a bit more complex.

While National Treasure 2 does have its faults, itís still an excellent film. Ed Harris is definitely a better villain then Sean Bean and the addition of Helen Mirren as Benjamin's mom was an excellent casting choice. All the suspense from the first film is still present and the historical facts are still here, just a bit more embellished.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

All features are presented in HD.
Audio Commentary with Director John Turteltaub and actor John Voight - This is definitely a much better track then the one from the first film with Justin Bartha (Riley). Bartha was a bit to annoying for my tastes. This track is a bit more technical and gives a better insight to the film.

Book of History: Fact and Fiction of National Treasure (PS3, Bonus View or BD-Live players only) - A very unique little Java game where, when activated, you watch the movie and icons pop-up with little featurettes. Throughout this questions will also pop-up and if you answer enough correctly, you win some sort of prize at the end. Itís actually pretty fun and entertaining. Luckily there is an option to save you're progress so you don't have to finish it in one sitting. This is probably the best example of a studio using Blu-rays Java for something useful. I have yet to "win" so I'm not sure what the prize is. Recommended Play Ė Blu-Ray Exclusive

"Secrets of a Sequel" Documentary (~60:00) - A fairly long documentary that is split into 8 different featurettes. I watched all of them and was a bit let down. Much like the 1st film, all of the featurettes that seemed really interesting were too short. The only one I would recommend to watch would be the incredibly short "Knights of the Golden Circle".

The Treasure Reel (5:02) - A short collection of bloopers. I still wonder if people actually watch these.

Deleted Scenes (20:26) - A selection of 7 deleted scenes (2 of which are Blu-Ray Exclusives) all with or without introductions by Director Jon Turteltaub. While I enjoyed two of them -- oddly enough the ones not Blu-ray exclusive --, they were not essential to the already bloated running time.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

IMAGE

Disney presents National Treasure 2 in 1080p (AVC/MPEG-4) 2.35:1 on a 50GB disc. Right off the bat I felt this film looked a lot better than its predecessor in both colors and presentation. Blacks looked great and scenes just seemed more vivid. The opening scene looks amazing and the City of Gold was spectacular. If you're looking for a demo disc for that brand new Blu-ray player you just bought this would be it.

Changing pace from National Treasure, Disney has opted to include an English Dolby TrueHD track instead of PCM. Seems odd considering both movies came out on the same day on the same size disc. Regardless the movie sounds fantastic. Dialog was crystal clear and anytime the characters were outdoors you could hear tiny little effects in the rear speakers. There is one scene in the movie where sirens are going of...and itís VERY loud. Be warned.



.::OVERALL::.

While I enjoyed National Treasure 2, I still think the first film was just a little bit better. The plot of this film is just a little bit too farfetched for me with Benjamin kidnapping the President, but hey, itís a popcorn flick, its suppose to be a little daring, right?

The picture and sound quality coupled with the extra features on this film (especially since they are all in HD) and the bonus Java game make this an excellent release. If you enjoyed the first film then you need to see this one. Once again itís a film the entire family can enjoy regardless of age.