Before the screening of National Treasure: Book of Secrets had even started, a dude a few seats away from me announced to no one in particular: “This is like The Da Vinci Code meets Indiana Jones!” Great point, dude! He’s sort of right, though—it is like The Da Vinci Code in that Nicolas Cage is wearing Tom Hanks’s exact terrible hairpiece. And it’s like Indiana Jones in that it’s a shitty rip-off of Indiana Jones. But if it were up to me to construct a pointless, mega-clichéd analogy to sum up this movie, I’d say it’s more like doodoo meets feces meets Goonies meets old people. Meets the Library of Congress. Also, it’s the best movie I’ve ever seen, or I’m not Calvin “Fucking” Coolidge. (Wait, I’m not.)
It all starts in 1865, aka the Year the Racism Died (seriously, we nipped that one in the bud, right?). Nicolas Cage’s mutton-choppy great-great-great grandfather is just kickin’ back with some grog or whatever, when a shadowy Confederate comes in and says, “I hear you’re quite good with puzzles and riddles!” Now, if Mutton Chops had seen National Treasure ONE (I haven’t), he’d know that you should never just decipher a cipher that a random racist throws at you. But he does. Then he gets shot.
Cut to modernity times! Nicolas Cage is a treasure hunter who runs around being awesome with Ben Franklin’s magic spectacles. He’s pretty sure that old-timey cipher of Mutton Chops “will probably lead us to the greatest Native American treasure EVER!” (which we totally deserve, BTW). But first, he has to find the president’s book of secrets: “I’m going to kidnap him. I’m going to kidnap the President of the United States!” After the old Nicolas-Cage-in-the-dumbwaiter trick, they find a bunch of gold in a hole. The end. This movie needs a sequel like I need the McNary-Haugen Farm Relief Bill of 1926. Am I right, Calvin Coolidge!?