'National Treasure 2' Opens, Library Gets 10 Minutes of Fame

Image of Nicolas Cage as "Ben Gates" in the Main Reading Room of the Library of Congress from NT2's official Web siteUnless you’ve been living on Mars, you’re probably aware that “National Treasure: Book of Secrets” opened today in theaters. And even then, I suspect that the little green men have also been inundated with “NT2″ ads and media hoopla beamed in their general direction.

I’ve already seen it twice, and although I’ll leave the film criticism to the pros, I really enjoyed it even in spite of my bias. If you (like millions of others) liked the first one, you’ll probably like the sequel.

As I’ve previously blogged (here and here), the Library of Congress has a central role in the movie, a clue to which is found in the film’s title itself. (For the spoiler-conscious, in writing that, I am giving away nothing that hasn’t already been revealed in trailers or written in the reviews that have been issuing forth.) Our time on-screen clocks in at about 10 minutes.

I’ll update this post with links to media that focus on the Library’s role in the film. But so far:

TV Guide Network began running on hour-long special called “Big Movie Premiere” on Dec. 20 that features a couple of segments from inside the Library.

The Washington Convention and Tourism Corp. built a special Web site called “Trails to Treasure” to promote DC locations in NT2 Soon a series of video podcasts, including one focusing on the Library, will go live on the site.

RottenTomatoes.com has an “exclusive featurette” that travels to many of NT2’s locations and includes some beauty shots from the Thomas Jefferson Building. (A soundbite from actor Justin Bartha was taped in the Main Reading Room.)

For good measure, I’ll link again to the April articles from The Washington Post (here and here) about an one insider?s story during the production’s time at the Library of Congress.

Even though the movie is chock-full of fiction, there is also a lot of fact upon which NT2’s globe-trotting treasure hunt is hung which is why the Library agreed to cooperate with the production in the first place. As one critic wrote, a little bit of American history on the silver screen is preferable to none at all. And anything that inspires people, especially young people, to learn about the Library of Congress and all that we have to offer is only a good thing, by our lights.

(Along those lines, one interesting thing to me personally during this time has been the opportunity see some of the movie’s props firsthand, such as the eponymous Book of Secrets and John Wilkes Booth’s dairy.  As we begin to open the doors of this institution even wider to the public in coming months, we hope to put a few of those items on display at least for a brief time to help spark people’s imagination about this wonderful place.)

So have you seen the movie? If so, does it make you more likely to visit or learn more about your nation’s library?

(Image of Nicolas Cage as “Ben Gates” in the Main Reading Room of the Library of Congress from NT2’s official Web site)

29 Comments

  1. Warren Getler
    December 22, 2007 at 9:39 am

    Hi Matt–I’ve enjoyed your posts. My co-authored non-fiction book, Rebel Gold, provides some of the historical backdrop to the movie. My co-author and I are consultants to National Treasure: Book of Secrets. Much of our work and original research into the Knights of the Golden Circle, their links to Booth, etc. was conducted at the LOC and National Archives. The LA Times ran a front page piece Dec. 5th. We acknowledge the LOC in our book (Simon & Schuster, 2005). It would be great if you could pss word on to your readers that the book is out there for those who went to delve into the hidden history. Best, Warren Getler, Washington, D.C. 202 285-9554

  2. Scott
    December 22, 2007 at 7:22 pm

    I have seen the movie and I think it shows the Library in a great light.

    Not sure if it would provide a strong incentive to make me visit, but it certainly would make me wonder just if our nation’s library (UK) is very similar.

  3. Emule
    December 28, 2007 at 12:28 pm

    Amazing, Brazil need this, my country have fantastics “National Treasure”, DISNEY LOOK FOR BRAZIL!!!

    Regards.

  4. atropos
    December 30, 2007 at 6:48 pm

    Shouldn’t it be the other way around, congress getting all the fame, and a movie getting 10 minutes of it?

    Oh what illiterate world are we living in?

  5. annalaura brown
    January 2, 2008 at 6:56 pm

    I have seen the movie and I think it is great. I have already been to the library of Congress once when I was 13. I would love to go again. Since I am a librarian, the movie did not really influence me one way or the other.

  6. Cyndee Haydon
    January 3, 2008 at 4:11 am

    Our family saw the movie and it definitely peaked our interest and would love to vist the Library of Congress and learn more.

    We homeschool our 2 boys and look forward to bringing them for and “edcuational vacation” in the next year or two.

    Do you have to make special arrangement to be able to tour the Library of Congress?

  7. chad c
    January 5, 2008 at 7:27 pm

    I am going to see it tonight, i can’t wait!

  8. Mike
    January 7, 2008 at 1:41 am

    It seems that National Treasure 3 is on the way. Again, the movie left the audience with certain questions unanswered.

  9. PPC
    January 7, 2008 at 4:31 pm

    I cant wait to watch this movie when it arrives in the UK.

  10. moldova
    January 9, 2008 at 7:31 am

    National Treasure 2 is the greatest movie of 2007.

  11. JOHNNY Mulder
    January 12, 2008 at 11:13 pm

    OUR ENTIRE FAMILY LOVED THE MOVIE!

  12. D’Tanga Small
    January 13, 2008 at 4:34 pm

    I haven’t seen the movie yet but I plan on watching it very soon. The reviews look outstanding!

  13. tvsm22
    January 15, 2008 at 3:44 pm

    This movie really makes me wanna go to museum or read a book about history of the United States

  14. TB
    January 17, 2008 at 12:52 am

    We all went as a family outing to see “national treasure 2″ as we had enjoyed the first one. The buildings are beautiful. It made me look for a book to view more, and I have since had a look at “The most beautiful libraries in the world” by Bosser, J. & Laubier, G. Visit is impossible at the moment as we are in outback Western Australia. Cheers

  15. TB
    January 17, 2008 at 12:56 am

    PS. I still want to know what is on Page 42…is it the answer to ‘Life the Universe and everything’? [smile]

  16. Lisa
    January 17, 2008 at 3:56 pm

    I saw the movie, and enjoyed it a lot. It was fun and funny, and the treasure hunt made history seem relevant to the present. And it was great to see LOC on the big screen. I’ve never been inside, and would love to visit.

  17. Hamilton
    January 20, 2008 at 1:46 pm

    The movie was great! The history is fascinating and the views of all the landmarks in Washington were spectacular! Thanks for the link to the ‘Trails to Treasure’.

    So, what is on page 47?

  18. jonathon
    January 25, 2008 at 2:20 pm

    so what is the answer to Life the Universe and everything or do i have to watch nick cage kill a new film.

  19. Ivonson
    February 21, 2008 at 6:39 pm

    Great movie. It makes my daughter wanting to read history more. She even ask me about the movie if it’s true. What do you all think? So what is on page 47?

  20. TK
    March 4, 2008 at 1:40 pm

    I too enjoyed the movie. I have never visited the Library but would be anxious to try and re-trace some of Nick Cage’s steps.

  21. Discount
    March 27, 2008 at 2:54 am

    This film is extremly good, I think it’s as good as National Treasure 1

  22. Colabook
    May 21, 2008 at 11:28 am

    Waiting for National Treasure 3~~

  23. Sarah
    June 18, 2008 at 4:50 pm

    I must say this review was quite interesting. I watched the movie just last weekend and loved it. And yes, it did make me want to come and learn about our great nation’s historic library. As a matter of fact I was there just this past afternoon and loved every living moment in there. It was also quite awesome that you could think to yourself, ‘Wow! Imagine how many famous and important people have been in this very room experiencing what I am now!’ Now let’s just see what National Treasure 3 comes up with!

  24. ikwee
    August 2, 2008 at 1:32 am

    Truely awesome story. Just make you wonder what else is out there. Anyone know what is on page 47, or is it area 47?.

  25. Kayleigh
    August 25, 2008 at 11:21 pm

    THANK YOU Sir!!! You are the first person who said anything at all nice about Nic and his acting in this movie and how good it really was. people have been saying that “it was the worst movie i have ever seen…” and all kinds of mean things like that, as if this world needs anymore people who say things about actors like that. Thanks again for your kind words.

  26. vitor booker
    August 23, 2009 at 3:34 pm

    I have found a copy of the declaration. can you tell me if it is real or not. I will send you a photo of it if you would send a email address. Thank You

  27. Kenneth Cole
    February 24, 2010 at 12:17 pm

    your post was entertaining! Yeah! I agree with u! the movie was so full of fictions. But i liked it though..

  28. GaughpapUnpab
    December 4, 2010 at 12:13 am

    Good gradually.

  29. james stockman
    April 25, 2014 at 7:55 pm

    The movie was a bit sub par really, but the history is fascinating.

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