'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)

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