Tag Archive: national treasure


The entertainment industry is an incredibly fickle one; one bad movie can see you go from the top of your game to the discard pile as quick as a flash. So it takes incredible determination, talent and motivation to continue on acting for so many years. 65 is usually the age of retirement over here in Britain but here are a few actors who show no signs of slowing down as they get older, just continuing to get better with age.

Robert De Niro – Born: August 17, 1943 – 69 years old.

This man really does need very little introduction. He’s been acting since the 1960’s but really made his name in the 70s with performances in The Godfather trilogy and of course his iconic performance as Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver. He’s become associated largely with gangster films but in the last decade or two he’s been slightly less picky with his roles and has taken fun roles rather than the intense ones he used to, as witnessed in Stardust and Meet the Parents. Five releases are slated for this year with more coming in 2014.

Sir Ben Kingsley – Born: 31st December, 1943 – 69 years old.

It’s actually unbelievable that Sir Ben Kingsley was once in English soap opera Coronation Street. Kingsley is often forgotten by mainstream audiences but he is clearly one of the best actors that England have ever produced. He won an Oscar for his role in Ghandi and continues to show his versatility with recent roles in Hugo, Shutter Island and Sexy Beast. Kingsley can now be seen playing Mandarin in Iron Man 3.

Sir Ian McKellen – Born: 25th May, 1939 – 73 years old.

McKellen is a true thespian. It took until the late 80s/early 90s really until McKellen became a certified film star and his career continues to thrive; really, since the turn of the century McKellen has become an actor that all different types of audiences want to see. He has shown off his talents in two iconic roles in particular, Magneto in X-Men and Gandalf in Lord of the Rings (a role he has reprised for The Hobbit trilogy), while at the same time continuing to do short films and television work as well.

Jack Nicholson – Born: 22nd April, 1937 – 75 years old.

What is there left to say about Jack Nicholson that hasn’t been said before? He is undoubtedly one of the best actors that has ever worked. That’s just a simple fact of life. He’s been acting since the 1950s and although he is taking longer breaks between work at the minute that doesn’t mean he is getting any worse. Over the years Nicholson has won three (THREE!) Oscars for his work and turned out great performances in the likes of The Shining, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Batman and The Departed. That’s a career well spent.

Morgan Freeman – Born: 1st June, 1937 – 75 years old.

He’s probably the only man in the world that people could just listen to every single day and never get bored. Has Morgan Freeman really ever been young? A lot of Freeman’s work up until the 90s was largely television work but what a decade the 90s became for him: Unforgiven, The Shawshank Redemption and Se7en saw Freeman in quite an incredible rise to fame. One that continues thanks to his role in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight trilogy.

Robert Redford – Born: 18th August, 1936 – 76 years old.

Redford has slowed down in recent years but he is not only an acclaimed actor but also has been nominated for Oscars for his directing as well (and won). This is a man who starred in some of the most famous films of all time: The Sting, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. He’s made something of a return to acting in the last couple of years with The Company You Keep (2012), All is Lost (2013) and he is set to appear in Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014).

Sir Michael Caine – Born: 14th March, 1933 – 80 years old.

This year, the great actor turned eighty years old. Unbelievable considering the energy and the emotion that he still brings to all of his characters. Michael Caine has a filmography to rival anybody, he really has reached the top of his game and been there for decades as well now! The Italian Job, Zulu, Alfie, Get Carter, Hannah and Her Sisters and of course more recently he has become a regular collaborator with Christopher Nolan: The Dark Knight trilogy, The Prestige and Inception. A true legend of the acting world.

Christopher Plummer – Born: 13th December, 1929 – 83 years old.

Remember The Sound of Music? One of the most iconic films of all time? Released in 1965? Well Christopher Plummer was in that. And his career is one that seems to have really got better with age and has, in fact, flourished since the beginning of the 21st century. He has recently had roles in A Beautiful Mind, Nicholas Nickleby, National Treasure, Syriana, Up, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus and finally won an Oscar in 2012 for his role in Beginners.

These actors are true legends of their profession.

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When Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy took the world by storm between 2001 and 2003 it looked certain that the group of heroes known as ‘The Fellowship of the Ring’ would become massive stars in the world of films. Relatively unknown to mainstream audiences, most of the Fellowship had stayed away from Hollywood and seem to have done the same since. With a couple of characters set to return to Middle Earth in the upcoming Hobbit trilogy I decided to see what had become of everyone else who took part in one of the most loved, most successful and simply best trilogies of all time!

Elijah Wood – Frodo Baggins

Peter Jackson plucked Elijah Wood from near obscurity to helm this enormous series. Has so much pressure and weight ever been felt before by an actor? I’m not sure. The star of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Wood looked like he would have a huge career of success and with roles immediately after this trilogy in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Sin City it looked as though a career at the highest level was attainable for the young actor. However, recent years have seen the majority of Wood’s work come in voicing video games and going to television series. Although, this move to television cannot be complained about as he stars in the hilarious series Wilfred. You can’t help but feel like he could have had it so different though. Wood has done voice work in films such as 9 and Happy Feet but nothing that big or that successful has come his way in the floods that he may have been expecting. Elijah Wood will be taking on the role of Frodo Baggins once more in The Hobbit trilogy.

 

Ian McKellen – Gandalf

Probably the most famous of all the actors in Lord of the Rings and one of the best actors that England has ever produced, Sir Ian McKellen is now synonymous with Middle Earth as he portrayed the magnificent wizard and good friend to Frodo Baggins, Gandalf. McKellen has had an interesting career since Lord of the Rings; he finished off the X-Men trilogy, had a brief stint in British television soap Coronation Street and leant his voice to the fantastical feature Stardust. He also starred in an unsuccessful remake of cult television hit The Prisoner alongside Jim Caviezel. His work this decade has mainly consisted of short films but McKellen will be returning to Middle Earth for The Hobbit trilogy and will play an important part in getting the story going!

Viggo Mortensen  РAragorn

Aragorn was one of the fan favourite characters in the Lord of the Rings films and for good reason. He was a very honest, strong, caring soldier and took his duties as a protector of the hobbits very seriously. Since the end of the trilogy, Mortensen has not been as prolific as some other cast members but when he has made a film it has received critical acclaim: A History of Violence, Eastern Promises (which got Viggo Mortensen a Oscar nomination for Best Actor in a Leading Role), The Road and A Dangerous Method. These all cemented Mortensen as one of the best actors from the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

 

Sean Astin – Samwise Gamgee

He is the best friend that everybody wants! Astin’s career probably speaks for itself when you take into consideration that if you remove the Lord of the Rings from his career his most famous film is still The Goonies. Since the conclusion of Return of the King, Astin has not appeared in too many films and has been limited to small guest roles in television series’ including Alphas and Franklin & Bash. Astin, like his on screen best friend Elijah Wood, has also done a lot of voice work starring in animated television shows such as Special Agent Oso and the recently rebooted Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles alongside Jason Biggs.

 

Orlando Bloom – Legolas

Commonly nicknamed ‘Orlando Bland’, Bloom is arguably (although this wouldn’t be a very long argument and I challenge anyone to prove me wrong) the WORST actor among the Fellowship. Yet despite this Bloom has tasted success in Hollywood in the Pirates of the Caribbean series. Aside from this, Bloom has starred in the distinctly average Troy and Kingdom of Heaven as well as the ultimate flops The Three Musketeers and The Calcium Kid. The latter being a comedy mockumentary about a milkman turned boxer who ends up fighting the world champion in his hometown; having seen too much of The Calcium Kid than I would have liked it is amazing that anyone actually thought it would be a good idea. Orlando Bloom should not act anymore. Unfortunately, Legolas has been written in to The Hobbit. Jesus Christ.

John Rhys-Davies – Gimli

It’s hard to believe that the man who played short tempered dwarf Gimli is almost eighty years old! And Rhys-Davies boasts a back catalogue of projects dating all the way back to 1964! It is both ridiculously astonishing and incredibly commendable just how much work Rhys-Davies does and he is clearly a man that loves his trade. Before Lord of the Rings, he had already tasted success in a trilogy after appearing in the Indiana Jones films. Unfortunately, since the ending of the trilogy Rhys-Davies has slowed down in his acting and has not done anything of the same success and popularity.

 

Dominic Monaghan – ‘Merry’ Brandybuck

Dominic Monaghan is a very wonderful little English actor, despite being born in Germany. After his journeys in Middle Earth ended Monaghan said that he was inundated with fantasy roles but he wanted to try something else and that something else came in what would become the biggest show on television: LOST. In LOST, Monaghan played one of my favourite characters, drug addicted wannabe rock star Charlie Pace. After leaving LOST Monaghan starred in FlashForward which was unfortunately short lived and he also starred in Goodnight Burbank which didn’t go down too well.

Billy Boyd – ‘Pippin’ Took

Branded a ‘fool of a Took’ by Gandalf, along with Merry Pippin provided some much needed comic relief to a trilogy that otherwise focussed on such a serious story and dark themes. If you asked everyone who the actors were that portrayed the Fellowship on screen then Billy Boyd would probably be the one that least people thought of. This is unfortunate but I can’t imagine Boyd would be too concerned as he has not done too much acting work since Lord of the Rings.

 

Sean Bean – Boromir

Although his motives were unclear throughout The Fellowship of the Ring Boromir won the hearts of audiences the world over as he played his part in possibly the greatest death scene ever to be shot as he lost his life attempting to save Merry and Pippin. Sean Bean was already a very famous actor in England after playing Major Richard Sharpe in ITV’s television movies’. Since his Middle Earth demise Bean has continued to have a huge film and television career appearing in National Treasure, Silent Hill, Outlaw and Percy Jackson & The Lightning Thief. On television Bean has starred in hit shows such as Red Riding and Game of Thrones. In it for the shortest time but arguably having the best of careers out of the Lord of the Rings alumni.

With The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey out in December it looks set to launch the huge careers of Martin Freeman and Richard Armitage as well as many more!

 

Well you don’t really need to look hard to find the big news of this week and when the announcement came yesterday I think it took everybody by surprise! Not content with already owning Pixar, without a doubt the best animation company in the world, back in 2010 Disney paid $4.2billion to take over Marvel Entertainment. And now on top of all that Disney have forked out around $4billion once again to purchase LucasFilm meaning that Disney now owns Star Wars. News which will no doubt be seen as both positive and negative among fans.

Disney have announced that with the rights going to them they are planning to release a new Star Wars film in 2015, with the next instalments coming every other year. These would effectively be Chapters 7, 8 and 9. With the horrible reception that the Episodes 1, 2 and 3 received you can see why fans would not want any more damage done to their cherished sci-fi western series, yet Disney do seem to get everything right; just look at what they’ve achieved with Marvel! There is no shortage of stories and characters in the Star Wars canon and new stories in such a wide and real world can be easily thought of for those with that ability. With a release date set for 2015 you have to imagine that something is already in the works and a director could soon be announced with only three years to work on the project. It is unknown as of yet if any previously seen characters will return and in what form.

Another piece of information from this deal is the fact that George Lucas will not be directing. This will be well received from fans, no doubt, who perhaps feel that in recent years Lucas has done more harm than good to the series and is using it basically to just milk the name for as much as is humanly possible. With science fiction doing so well right now with all the superhero movies being released and the reinvention of Star Trek Disney obviously feel that they can bring something new to the table with Star Wars and that news can only be good.

The deal struck here also concerns the ownership of Industrial Light & Magic, the special effects company will also be traded into Disney’s hands, along with the rights of other LucasFilm productions such as Indiana Jones although Disney have said that Star Wars is the only series they plan to continue at this time. And with Disney having produced Pirates of the Caribbean and National Treasure recently you can see why they don’t want to be seen to be doing too much of the same sort of style by throwing out Indy too.

So that’s the real big news of the week.

But there has been some other big news that may have escaped many people’s notice thanks to all of this Star Wars stuff. Not so long ago, Matthew Vaughn stepped down as director of X-men: Days of Future Past and speculation was rife as to who would replace him. Thankfully, his replacement has been found in the form of Bryan Singer(!), the man behind the camera of X-men and X2 which will no doubt please fans! This can only spur rumours on of cast members returning from the original trilogy but anyhow, it is great to see Singer back with the X-men.

National Treasure: Book of Secrets is the sequel to Disney’s commercially successful original National Treasure film of 2004. When released back in 2007 Book of Secrets claimed the number one spot at the American box office and became a commercial success worldwide, and yes, plans for a third film are in place. So is this sequel actually any good?

Book of Secrets is an adventure mystery film that once again follows treasure hunter Benjamin Franklin Gates. This time, Gates looks to discover the truth behind the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, by uncovering the mystery within the missing 18 pages from the diary of assassin John Wilkes Booth.

Justin Bartha injects some fantastic comedy into the film.

Disney pulled together a fantastic cast for the National Treasure franchise, particularly in Book of Secrets. A supporting cast of Justin Bartha, Diane Kruger, Ed Harris, Harvey Keitel, Jon Voight, Helen Mirren and Bruce Greenwood are led by the inconsistent, for want of a better word, Nicolas Cage who plays the smart adventurer Benjamin Franklin Gates. In my opinion Jutin Bartha as Riley Poole, Gates’ colleague and friend steals the show with a fantastic performance; he provides great comic relief and offers up plenty of laughs for the audience, a great shift from Bartha.

Book of Secrets is a family friendly film, aimed at children primarily but there is plenty there for the older viewers to enjoy as well. We follow Nicolas Cage on a journey that stretches across Europe and America connecting clues to solve their mystery. Whilst there is a lot to enjoy and keep the audience’s attention I do think that Book of Secrets lacks in story depth and character development which is pretty disappointing. It is very clearly defined which characters are good and which are evil but they are given no time to develop and instead the emphasis is on moving the action forward, which of course is not always a bad thing, but the loose strings holding the action together are sometimes too ridiculous to believe even for this film.

The action scenes are really enjoyable though and there will be things that you will laugh at, whatever your sense of humour may be suited to. The final action scene taking place inside Mount Rushmore is a very good climatic scene and to be honest, parts of the film show real intelligence in film making and writing. Something I did actually hate though, were the horrible cockney accents we were subjected during the Buckingham Palace scene.

As Book of Secrets was a hit it should come as no surprise that there is a sequel being planned at the minute. And the ending of the film leaves it open with the mystery surrounding ‘Page 47’ being mentioned. I would welcome a third film of the franchise. National Treasure: Book of Secrets lacks depth but it excels in fun and is a great film to watch when you just want to be entertained.

My Rating: 6/10