The men who drafted the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and various other documents back in the 18th century are often called the "founding fathers" of the United States of America. But it has also been argued that the United States did not really come into its own as a country until the 19th century, when it endured the horrors of the Civil War; it was this conflict, rather than the Revolution, which was dubbed "The Birth of a Nation" by legendary silent film director D.W. Griffith.
A similar view is expressed early on by Nicolas Cage's character, Benjamin Gates, in National Treasure: Book of Secrets, the sequel to the most successful movie Cage has ever made. And it makes sense that this budding series should leap from a story about George Washington and all his friends to a brand new mystery that takes the assassination of Abraham Lincoln as its starting point. Washington led thirteen colonies in breaking away from the British homeland, whereas Lincoln held on to those states that tried to break away from the resulting republic—and these films, in which our heroes are always breaking into places and stealing things but generally doing so for the good of the country, capture something of that fine balancing act between subverting authority and respecting it at the same time.
The motives of Benjamin Gates are not so pure this time, though. In the first film, he was a treasure hunter who was motivated as much by patriotism—the need to protect national relics—as by the need to prove that the crazy story handed down to him by his grandfather was true. This time, however, the outrageous things he does are primarily motivated by a desire to defend the honor of his great-great-grandfather—and ...1
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National Treasure: Book of Secrets
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