National Treasure: Book of Secrets
The National Treasure movies serve as a benign vehicle to acclimatize audiences with Masonic hidden symbols in the guise of a rip-roaring adventure story. (Disney even decided Book of Secrets' first run should open with a one-reel cartoon of Goofy, you know . . . for kids.) Reprising Jerry Bruckheimer hero Ben Gates, an Indiana Jones/MacGyver amalgam, Nicolas Cage recites one plot point after another to keep the forward motion going from America to Europe and back again, each stop with its own inevitable set piece. Whenever NT: BOS's dialogue gets dense, Cage reveals his extra-white teeth like a supermodel trying to avoid a deep conversation, although he isn't dashing enough to disguise the clunky plotting; while jam-packed with Masonic references, expository dialogue hasn't been this terrible since Lady in the Water. In the '80s, Harrison Ford knew what his role was as the "hero;" when the movies turned silly, he pulled out a smirk. He knew he wasn't Errol Flynn. Nowadays, we're left with the self-serious Cage--at least there's a new Indy sequel to look forward to.