Australian Council on Children and the Media

National Treasure - Book of Secrets

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Not recommended under 10, PG to 13 (Violence).

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for National Treasure - Book of Secrets
  • a review of National Treasure - Book of Secrets completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 20 December 2007.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 10 Not recommended due to the number and nature of violent scenes.
Children aged 10-13 Parental guidance recommended due to violence.
Children over the age of 13 OK for this age group.

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: National Treasure - Book of Secrets
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild action violence
Length 124 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Famed treasure hunter Ben Gates (Nicholas Cage) sets off on a quest to prove his great-grandfather’s innocence. As a result the appearance of a missing page from John Wilkes Booth’s diary, Ben’s relative is implicated in the assassination of President Lincoln. What begins as a righteous crusade quickly becomes a hunt for the greatest treasure of all time.

Ben teams up with his side-kick Riley (Justin Bartha), his former girlfriend Abigail (Diane Kruger), and his estranged parents Patrick Gates (Jon Voight) and Emily Appleton (Helen Mirren). Their search for clues takes them across continents, and into many adventures while trying to stay at least one step ahead of rival treasure seeker Mitch Wilkinson (Ed Harris). Mitch and his gang of thugs will stop at nothing to find the treasure and leave their mark on history.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Putting oneself above the law.

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is some violence in this movie including:

  • Abraham Lincoln is shot in the back of the head.
  • Thomas Gates gets shot in the chest while his young son watches.
  • Patrick Gates is attacked in his home and knocked unconscious.
  • Wilkinson and his men shoot at Ben and his team. There is an ensuing car chase through the streets of London (with lots more shooting) where people are yanked from their vehicles and their cars hijacked, motorcycles and buses are bashed, and people are nearly run down.
  • Wilkinson threatens Emily with a gun and says that Patrick’s life depends on her answer.
  • Wilkinson takes Emily hostage at gun point.
  • Wilkinson holds a knife to Abigail’s throat.
  • Wilkinson drowns while trying to hold flooding waters back.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • There are a few images of partially decayed corpses in the caverns near where the treasure is found. Some are slightly grisly with sacrificial knives still stuck in chest cavities and a number of these images may be frightening for young children.
  • As a child, Ben’s grandfather watches as his own father is shot to death because he won’t betray his country. As the young boy cradles his dying father in his arms, begging him not to leave him, the killer approaches and aims his gun at the child. He doesn’t kill the boy but leaves him crying beside his father’s body, begging for help. The emotional brutality of the scene could disturb some young viewers.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Children in this age group may be disturbed by the above mentioned scenes.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Younger children in this age group may also be disturbed by the above mentioned scenes.

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Children in this age group are unlikely to be disturbed by anything in this film.

Product placement

None of concern.

Sexual references

None of concern.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some nudity and sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • Abigail, while helping Ben sneak into the Oval Office, pretends to lose an earring and bends down to try to look for it. She shows a lot of cleavage and an official enjoys watching her as she searches on hands and knees. To buy more time Abigail gives the official a passionate kiss for helping her find the “lost” earring.

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • Champagne is served at a Presidential Soiree.
  • Abigail has drinks in a bar with Wilkinson.
  • Ben splashes the contents of a pocket flask onto his clothes and skin, as well as taking a swig himself, in order to convince palace guards that he is a roaring drunk.
  • Emily makes numerous references to tequila.

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • Damn

In a nutshell

National Treasure - Book of Secrets is an action adventure which, in many ways, is very similar to its predecessor. It has a predictable plot, but is peppered with clues that keep the viewer guessing. Despite an outlandish ending, older children and adults are likely to enjoy the film.

The main messages from this movie are to trust in what you believe to be right and to have faith in the impossible.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • resourcefulness
  • integrity
  • the value of knowledge and the importance of learning from history.

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as:

  • the possible repercussions of breaking laws or committing minor crimes because you believe something to be right or because you believe that what you are doing is more important than the law.

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