National Treasure: Book Of Secrets (National Treasure 2)

Featured In Issue 133, July/August 2008

WSR Score3
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
Walt Disney Home Entertainment
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For some violence and action
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Single Side, Dual Layer (BD-50)
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Jon Turteltaub
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Dolby TrueHD 5.1
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When a missing page of John Wilkes Booth's diary emerges implicating treasure-hunter Ben Gates' (Cage) great-great grandfather as a co-conspirator in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, he is determined to debunk the theory. Ben finds he must gain access to a National Treasure known as The Book Of Secrets that is rumored to contain the answers to everything from the mystery surrounding Ben's great-great grandfather to who killed J.F.K. But the book proves as elusive as the truth, when the only man that has access to it—the President of the United States (Greenwood)—refuses to willingly part with the book. (Stacey Pendry)

Special features include commentary by Director John Turteltaub and Actor Jon Voight and previews, five deleted scenes; five minutes of bloopers and outtakes; the following featurettes: Secrets Of A Sequel (seven minutes), The Book Of Secrets On Location (ten minutes), Street Stunts: Creating The London Chase (ten minutes), Underground Action (seven minutes), Evolution Of A Golden City (ten minutes), Knights Of The Golden Circle (three minutes), Cover Story: Crafting The Presidents' Book (five minutes), and Inside The Library Of Congress (nine minutes); a feature trivia track Book Of History: The Fact Or Fiction Of NT2 and an easter egg.

The anamorphically enhanced 2.38:1 DVD shows nicely resolved details, especially in the shadows. The picture can appear somewhat soft at times, but the sense of depth created by the good contrast and nicely rendered near-black detail is palpable. The color scheme is slightly cool, and colors can appear desaturated, but it is obviously a conscious decision made by the filmmakers. Black levels are generally deep, but they are slightly elevated in the darker scenes. Fine film grain doesn't distract, and the subtle edge enhancement is not overly problematic. The H.264 AVC-encoded Blu-ray Disc shows very impressive resolution, with deep black levels and nicely defined shadows, helping create a very realistic-looking picture. Contrast is balanced well, and fleshtones look natural. This is an enjoyable image.(Danny Richelieu)

The Dolby® Digital 5.1-channel soundtrack can be fully engaging, with a good use of the surround channels and the LFE, but there are many scenes that are completely dominated by the center channel. The lack of dimensionality in these scenes is disappointing, because it limits the effectiveness of the soundtrack. Fidelity is impressive, but dynamic range is somewhat constrained, lacking the punch and force of the better soundtracks. Dialogue is articulate, but occasional scenes were obviously produced on a looping stage. The soundfield also feels somewhat boxed in, confined to the physical channel positions. The Blu-ray Disc's Dolby TrueHD encoding features very good fidelity, solid dynamic range, and quick, penetrating bass. (Danny Richelieu)