National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets: Collector's Edition (2007)

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Released 4-Jun-2008

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Adventure Menu Animation & Audio
Audio Commentary
Deleted Scenes
Outtakes
Featurette-Making Of
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Various
Easter Egg-4
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2007
Running Time 119:30
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (57:32)
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Jon Turteltaub
Studio
Distributor
Disney
Walt Disney Studios Home Ent.
Starring Nicolas Cage
Justin Bartha
Diane Kruger
Jon Voight
Helen Mirren
Ed Harris
Case ?
RPI ? Music Trevor Rabin


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Czech Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Hungarian Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Turkish Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 1.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Czech
Hungarian
Turkish
Hebrew
Slovak
Serbian
Croatian
Slovenian
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement Yes
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Right, now let's get a few things out of the way before we start. This film is not an historical accurate representation of US history, it is not a documentary, it is not great art, it does not necessarily make complete sense and it is not overburdened with great performances. However, what it is sets out to achieve it does resoundingly well. This is an excellent example of what I like to refer to as 'entertainment'. It is a thoroughly enjoyable action/adventure romp which entertains for its entire running time, features some excellent action scenes (including one of the best car chases I have seen since Ronin) and has a rollicking story which combines influences from Indiana Jones and The Da Vinci Code. On top of those things, it is suitable for most members of the family as it is not overly violent. It is meant to be a fun and entertaining film and on that score is succeeds. Despite all the things you could say about Jerry Bruckheimer, he knows how to produce a big action film.

    The story follows on from the original film and features the return of every major character. This time Ben Gates (Nicolas Cage) and his father Patrick (Jon Voight) are doing a presentation about their ancestor's role in the civil war when a descendant of one of the men accused of plotting to kill President Lincoln. Mitch Wilkinson (played by Ed Harris), accuses their forefather of being involved in the plot. He produces a page from John Wilkes Booth's diary to prove his case. This leads to a cipher which needs to be decoded and Ben thinks this will help to exonerate their ancestor. In order to do so they will need to get clues from the Library of Congress, the Statue of Liberty, Paris, Buckingham Palace and Mount Rushmore. New characters for this film include Emily Appleton (Helen Mirren) - Ben's mother and Patrick's ex-wife - and Bruce Greenwood as the President. Justin Bartha, Diane Kruger and Harvey Keitel reprise their roles from the first film.

    Technically, this is a well put-together film with good direction and editing keeping up the pace of the film. In some ways it is probably superior to the first film with less of the occasional lulls in pace which can be found in the original film. It is not worth trying to put the 'puzzle' of the film together or think about it too much. It is really just there as an enabler to the action and adventure. It is fun to see Helen Mirren in an action film, however no-one else is overly impressive. Both Nicolas Cage and Jon Voight received Razzie nominations for this and other films they made last year. Is it just me or is Nicolas Cage looking really strange these days? His hair and skin just don't look natural to me.

    If you are in the mood for a well made action/adventure that will entertain you for a couple of hours, this movie can be highly recommended. If you are looking for great cinematic art, you have come to the wrong place.

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Transfer Quality

Video

   The video quality is excellent as I have come to expect from Walt Disney Home Entertainment.

    The feature is presented in a 2.40:1 aspect ratio 16x9 enhanced which is very close to the original aspect ratio of 2.35:1.

    The picture was very clear and sharp (about as good as you can get in SD) with no evidence of low level noise. Shadow detail was excellent.

    The colour was excellent. No colour artefacts were noted.

    I did not notice any other artefacts.

    There are subtitles on this disc in English and English for the Hearing Impaired along with many European Languages (see above for details). They are clear and easy to read. Subtitles are also available for the commentary in all languages available for the film.

    The layer change occurs at 57:32 and was not noticeable on my equipment.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

   The audio quality is excellent.

    This DVD contains an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack encoded at 448 Kb/s plus an English Audio Descriptive soundtrack encoded in Dolby Digital 2.0 surround at 192 Kb/s, Czech, Hungarian and Turkish tracks in Dolby Digital 5.1 at 384 Kb/s and the commentary which is encoded in Dolby Digital 1.0 at 192 Kb/s.

    Dialogue was very clear and easy to understand and there was no problem with audio sync.

    The score by Trevor Rabin works quite well for the film but is pretty generic action film music otherwise.

    The surround speakers are in constant use during the film especially for the climactic cave scenes but also before that during the car chase and for general street atmospherics, sirens and so on. Excellent stuff.

    The subwoofer was also in pretty constant use adding tension, thumps, thuds and crashes.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    This two disc DVD edition has a large quantity of extras some of which are quite worthwhile. All are 16x9 enhanced and most include 5.1 sound.

Menu

    The menu design on Disc 1 is excellent with music, motion and a nice motif. On the other hand, Disc 2 contains one of the worst menus I have ever seen. The writing is nearly the same colour as the background and is in a really undecipherable font. I had to actually walk over to the television to work out what the menu items were. It might look a bit better on a projector but I am sure it would still be a challenge. And if that is not enough it has a badly designed intro which drags on for 1:22 before deigning to take you to the menu.

Disc 1

Audio Commentary - Director Jon Turteltaub and Actor Jon Voight

    This is one of 'those' commentaries which can be found on big budget studio movies from the US. It is very self-congratulatory and incudes much forced jocularity and false modesty. There is some interesting information to be had but I don't think it is worth bothering with personally. Your mileage may differ.

Disc 2

Deleted Scenes (7:03, 1:17, 2:39, 2:32, 0:14)

    A good collection of deleted scenes which include introductions to each scene by the director (0:49, 1:01, 0:23, 0:38, 0:28, 0:21). The first one is a completely extra sequence at Mount Rushmore which actually adds some sense to the story, other scenes includes much more of Harvey Keitel and he final one is a fun scene between Voight and Mirren. Good stuff.

The Treasure Reel (5:03)

    A collection of outtakes and gags.

Secrets of a Sequel (6:52)

    Jon Turteltaub and Jerry Bruckheimer discuss how they went about making this film including casting, development process and getting the puzzle to work. Okay.

The Book of Secrets : On Location (9:46)

    Featurette about the locations which were used including London, Paris and Washington DC. Features lots of behind the scenes footage.

Street Stunts : Creating the London Chase (9:42)

    One of the better production featurettes which shows how they rehearsed the exact car chase at an airport before actually doing it in the middle of London.

Underground Action (6:48)

    One of the better production featurettes which covers the sets and special effects equipment created for the cave-based scenes. Features discussion of the technology along with behind the scenes footage of the actors (and/or their doubles) doing stunts.

Evolution of a Golden City (10:20)

    Reasonably interesting featurette about how they constructed the large underground city set and how they combined real water and CGI effects.

Knights of the Golden Circle (2:40)

    Potentially the most interesting subject matter for a featurette is also the shortest. Discusses the Masonic organisation which existed during and after the civil war.

Cover Story : Crafting the President's Book (4:32)

    How they made the prop used in the film.

Inside the Library of Congress (8:41)

    An interesting featurette about the Library of Congress, both the building and the collection.

Easter Eggs (1:12, 0:54, 0:15, 2:09)

    The disc contains four easter eggs which are all short featurettes. They can be found by (SPOILER ALERT: highlight with mouse to read) 1) on the first page of the "Bonus Features" highlight "The Book Of Secrets On Location". Press the right arrow button, then the up arrow button twice 2) on the first page of the "Bonus Features" highlight "Street Stunts: Creating the London Chase". Press the left arrow button and then the up arrow button to highlight the lion's eyes. 3) go to the second page of the "Bonus Features" and highlight "Evolution of a Golden City". Press the left arrow button on the remote twice 4) On the Deleted Scenes menu, highlight "Pursuit at Rushmore: The Unseen Chapter" and hit left and then down.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    When compared to the Region 1, the Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;

    The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;

    On this basis you may as well call this a draw unless you need specific language tracks.

Summary

 

    A fun and entertaining family-friendly action/adventure.

    The video quality is excellent.

    The audio quality is excellent.

    The 2 disc set has a good selection of extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV667A DVD-V DVD-A SACD, using Component output
DisplaySony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Sony SAW2500M Subwoofer

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