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A view from the Blu (-ray) on DVDBeaver by Leonard Norwitz

National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets [Blu-ray]


(Jon Turteltaub, 2007)






  Being Re-issued February 8th, 2011:

 National Treasure / National Treasure 2 - Book of Secrets double-pack on Blu-ray







Review by Leonard Norwitz


Studio: Jerry Bruckheimer Films

Blu-ray: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment



Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 2:04:32.465

Disc Size: 48,107,723,935 bytes

Feature Size: 32,016,064,512 bytes

Video Bitrate: 23.24 Mbps

Chapters: 18

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: May 20th, 2008, February 8th, 2011



Aspect ratio: 2.40:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video






Dolby TrueHD Audio English 3614 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3614 kbps / 24-bit (AC3 Embedded: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps)
Dolby Digital Audio French 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio Portuguese 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio Thai 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / Dolby Surround
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB / Dolby Surround
DTS Express English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / 24-bit



English (SDH), French, Indonesian, Korean, Malay, Portuguese, Spanish, Thai, none



• Exclusive to Blu-ray: Book of History: The Fact & Fiction of National Treasure: Book of Secrets

• Exclusive to Blu-ray: 2 Additional Deleted Scenes w/ introductions by the director

• Audio commentary by Director Jon Turteltaub and Actor Jon Voigt

• Deleted Scenes w/ introductions by the director

• Outtakes & Bloopers (5 min.)

• Inside the Library of Congress (9 min.)

• Knights of the Golden Circle (3 min.)

• Secrets of a Sequel (7 min.)

• The Book of Secrets: On Location (10 min.)

• Street Stunts: The London Chase (10 min.)

• Evolution of a Golden City (10 min.)

• Cover Story: Crafting the President's Book (4.5 min.)

• Underground Action (7 min.)



The Film:

Comment: (see also: Review of National Treasure) With a title reminiscent of the Harry Potter series and a replay of some of the set pieces from the original National Treasure (notably the falling through a giant hole in the ground with stairs and ladders and akimbo), Book of Secrets is a harmless enough entertainment. The sequel lacks the freshness and – dare I say it – the credibility – of the original, though I was quite fond of Bruce Greenwood's affable and intelligent President (assuring us, in case we weren't certain by this time, that this was a work make believe) and Jon Voigt lent a certain buoyancy to the whole affair. I suppose the action movie aficionado never tires of car chases, and if one chase was good enough for the first movie, a longer and more complex pursuit was demanded for the second. That aside, the coup de insult comes at the end when the villain of the piece discovers a heart of gold – his own. This turn of events caps off a rapidly devolving series of not-so-narrow escapes, made all the less narrow by a curious lack of imagination as to how to do so.


The Movie : 5
Book of Secrets begins a couple years after the first movie left off. Ben (Nicholas Cage) and Abigail (Diane Kruger) have broken up (she gets the house; he gets the end tables.) Riley (Justin Bartha) has just published his book about finding the treasure from their first adventure, but somehow isn’t getting the credit he desires. Ben and his father (Jon Voigt) are on a speaking tour. Just when the Gates family name is no longer associated with crackpots along comes Mitch Wilkinson (Ed Harris) who has his own issues with who did what to whom. Wilkinson presents evidence that Ben's grandfather's grandfather, contrary to the Gates family story, was actually a co-conspirator in the plot to assassinate Lincoln – an idea that is as ludicrous to us as it is to Gates. But the public seems to like him for the deed, and so Ben and company get cracking to clear the family name once more. No sooner than they begin, that their international search turns up evidence about the lost Native American City of Gold. To find the treasure (which is, of course, Wilkinson's agenda in the first place) and prove the long-deceased Gates innocent, they are eventually led to the even more legendary President's "Book of Secret's," which has been handed down from president to president since Washington, each adding national secrets from Area 51 to who shot J.R.


Image : 9 (8.5~9.5/9)
The score of 9 indicates a relative level of excellence compared to other Blu-ray DVDs. The score in parentheses represents: first, a value on a ten point scale for the image in absolute terms; and, second, how that image compares to what I believe is the current best we can expect in the theatre.

Despite the tendency for the image to black-out in the dark and night scenes, this is a noticeably better looking transfer than the one offered for the original. It has a dimensionality not present in the first movie. I found no worrisome digital defects. The scenes inside the dimly lit cave were absent any noise in the dark air.

















Audio & Music:

Audio & Music : 9/5
Alas, I regret to confess that I'm still waiting for my new surround system, so I will not be of much help in sorting out the differences between the two audio mixes (5.1 Uncompressed for the original movie and Dolby True HD for the sequel), but in the two channel mixdown from the 5.1 DD, there is no question that the sequel's audio is clearer and more dynamic.

I don't know about you, but I've just about had it with Bruckheimer music. Trevor Rabin's score is repetitive and repetitive – did I mention repetitive? - and so derivative, I wasn't sure if I was supposed to be on a submarine, exchanging countermeasures with the Russians, or breaking into Alcatraz.




Operations : 7
Walt Disney Studios Blu-ray DVDs continue their chapter-skipable previews and promos before the endless loading of the feature film begins. As in some other recent Blu-ray DVDs, I found the menu operations to be sensible, listing the length of the various segments along with a brief description. Very easy to read menus.

I wonder if it's just me or: have you ever noticed that once you select a subtitle it's hard to get read of the idea. Sometimes a different language comes up for the titles of books and names of streets but, as was the case here, I couldn't even delete the subs from the menu by clicking on "None." Curiously, the BRD of the sequel sports yello subs, while the first movie uses white.



Extras:  6
Commentaries for the two films compared, I'd give this one with Director Turteltaub and Jon Voigt the edge. Voigt is actually funnier than Bartha without half trying, and the repartee between these two worked better for me. Maybe it's an age thing. I did find the director's obeisance to the Native Indians a case of too much, too late. In any case this movie does nothing to redress our egregious history and, to give the slightest impression that it does, felt to me insulting.

The high def extra feature Book of History: The Fact & Fiction of National Treasure: Book of Secrets can only be accessed by players with BonusView capability, which mine doesn't, but it appears to be a video game that runs concurrently with the feature film.



Bottom line:

Recommendation: 6
Rent it first.

Leonard Norwitz
April 27th, 2008

November 2011






  Being Re-issued February 8th, 2011:

 National Treasure / National Treasure 2 - Book of Secrets double-pack on Blu-ray








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About the Reviewer: I first noticed that some movies were actually "films" back around 1960 when I saw Seven Samurai (in the then popular truncated version), La Strada and The Third Man for the first time. American classics were a later and happy discovery.

My earliest teacher in Aesthetics was Alexander Sesonske, who encouraged the comparison of unlike objects. He opened my mind to the study of art in a broader sense, rather than of technique or the gratification of instantaneous events. My take on video, or audio for that matter – about which I feel more competent – is not particularly technical. Rather it is aesthetic, perceptual, psychological and strongly influenced by temporal considerations in much the same way as music. I hope you will find my musings entertaining and informative, fun, interactive and very much a work in progress.

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