“National Treasure,” review by Susan Granger

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This sequel to the immensely popular “National Treasure” finds Ben Gates (Nicolas Cage) and his father Patrick (Jon Voight) on another archeological quest to unearth hidden history when a missing page from the diary of John Wilkes Booth implicates Ben’s great-great grandfather, Thomas Gates, in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.

Determined to prove his ancestor’s innocence, Ben embarks on a treasure hunt that leads him to Paris (inspecting a second Statue of Liberty near the Eiffel Tower), London (infiltrating the Queen’s Study in Buckingham Palace) and back to Washington, D.C. (exploring the Oval Office for clues), where he kidnaps the President (Bruce Greenwood) during a White House dinner at Mt. Vernon to plead for a peek at the appropriately named Book of Secrets. That’s when he discovers that somewhere in the Black Hills of South Dakota, near Mount Rushmore, is the entrance to the fabled Cibola, a pre-Columbian City of Gold.

Joining Ben and his dad are his estranged girlfriend, archivist Abigail Chase (Diane Kruger), and his scholarly mother, Emily (Helen Mirren), an expert in archaic languages who broke up with his dad 32 years ago, plus their techno-nerd sidekick, Riley (Justin Bartha). Their adversary is Confederate sympathizer Mitch Wilkinson (Ed Harris), who has problems with his own family legacy. Plus, there’s a suspiciously well-informed FBI man (Harvey Keitel) on their trail.

Written by Cormac and Marianne Wibberley, directed by Jon Turtletaub and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, it continues the whodunit/where-is-it/what-does-it mean formula. It’s a picturesque, minor-league Indiana Jones romp, filled with arcane information – and adding spunky Helen Mirren to re-kindle an old flame is a humorous touch. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “National Treasure: Book of Secrets” is a fun-filled 7, chock-full-of-historical trivia.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.