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    Summer break is the perfect opportunity to get back into reading. Adam Silvera’s (2017) novel, They Both Die at the End, can serve as a stepping stone into the realm of reading. The pace is fast, action-packed, and develops loveable characters. Also, Silvera switches point of view each chapter where narration mainly focuses on the protagonists, […]
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    If there’s one book that I believe everyone should read once in their life, it’s my favorite book – Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi. From my course, Queer Literature under Dr. Bill Albertini, I discovered Emezi’s Freshwater (2018). Once more, my course, Creative Writing Thesis Workshop under Professor Amorak Huey, was instructed to present our favorite […]

National Treasure: Book of Secrets

It must have all started when Steven Spielberg created the adventurous world of Indiana Jones. Treasure hunting took on a whole new form when Harrison Ford donned the legendary whip and fedora. Today, that world has changed again and it may be for the worse. Combined with rapid pace storytelling and complete disregard for believability, the most recent sequel to a chain of movies to carry on the treasure hunting themes seems to have lost sense of what made it so intriguing in the first place. National Treasure: Book of Secrets has doubled upon all the elements that gave minor problems to the otherwise acceptable predecessor, National Treasure.

With these now major problems, the National Treasure series has done what most sequels tend to do. By misinterpreting great entertainment for spectacle action sequences, the globe-trotting escapades of Ben Gates (Nicholas Cage) have now become even more improbable. The story takes off when a mysterious man named Tom Wilkinson (Ed Harris) approaches the Gates family with historical evidence from the diary of John Wilkes Booth that seems to prove Ben’s great grandfather as a conspirator in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. To prove his great grandfather’s innocence, Gates sets out on a quest that takes him to Buckingham Palace, the White House and Mount Rushmore.

By naming these places, one might think what all of this has to do with an assassination of one of our country’s greatest presidents. In fact, they have about next to nothing in common. From beginning to end, the original movie was always about seeking out an ancient treasure. This sequel lays out all the plans for a deep conspiracy trail, but unnecessarily morphs into a treasure hunt. With so many things going on in this film and so many of them being more silly than the next, this movie becomes nothing more than a mindless popcorn blockbuster.

For being an extremely dumb movie about intelligent people its hard to understand how its characters could have been just as ridiculous as the story. There are three Academy Award winners in this movie. These are the actors that are awarded for their understanding of a character and the relationships that affect them. For how preposterous the relationships are in this movie, it becomes obvious this movie falls victim to unintelligible scriptwriting.

All of this isn’t meant to say that the popcorn elements in National Treasure: Book of Secrets are not entertaining or well designed. With car chases, conspiracy secrets, and tidbits of humor mostly spawning from Gates’ sidekick named Riley, the escapism is enough to make the movie enjoyable for the whole family. Still, it takes much more than eye candy to warrant a grand experience. Let’s hope next year’s long awaited sequel to the Indiana Jones trilogy hasn’t lost sight of what makes a worthy epic adventure.

One and a half stars out of four

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