National Treasure (2004)

For all those who have been itching for the next great Indiana Jones style adventure...keep looking, because Indiana Jones is an unmatchable film franchise. However, National Treasure is a very entertaining gold rush that is certain to provide you with enough whimsy to cure that itch. Nicolas Cage plays Benjamin Franklin Gates, an astute treasure hunter who's family has been tracking the Templar treasure for generations. Along with his snarky sidekick Riley Poole (Justin Bartha), Gates follows clues left behind from early American history to try and discover the largest treasure that was ever amassed by man. After discovering another clue with partner Ian (Sean Bean), the treasure hunters are re-routed to the next clue in the never ending quest: an invisible map on the back of the Declaration of Independence. Naturally one would assume that this is ridiculous, but it's a Jerry Bruckheimer film, so don't worry about it. Following a deception by Ian, Ben must do whatever he can to protect a piece of American history. Even after he pleads his case to several government officials, one being Abigail Chase (Diane Krueger), nobody believes it is possible to break into a government facility and walk out with a highly regarded document such as the Declaration of Independence. Didn't they realize this was a Jerry Bruckheimer film? Anyway, Ben is now forced to use every ounce of his cunning intellect and take action to prevent his two faced partner from stealing the Declaration of stealing the Declaration of Independence.
The writers of National Treasure are either impaired beyond recognition, or absolutely brilliant. Even though they bring us through implausible situation to implausible situation, we still feel as though it all makes sense. As I watched Ben concoct his ludicrous scheme to steal the Declaration, part of me was saying, "What?", but the other part was saying, "'s genius". I was actually tricked into thinking it would work. If you are like me and are able to look past this movies blatant flaws and just take it, you will enjoy the ride.
Nicolas Cage does a pretty good job playing Ben Gates, as it was his performance that made me believe such outrageous events were possible. Cage was definitely the right man for this part, and he seemed very in his element playing the action hero explorer that always manages to find a way to get out of those sticky situations. But he ain't no Harrison Ford. Justin Bartha is very entertaining as quirky sidekick Riley, and actually provides the movie with a comedic undertone that lets you know that, hey, it's just a movie. As you could've guessed, that government official played by Diane Krueger turns out to be the love interest for Ben in the movie, because I believe the 3rd law of cliche action hero movies is "A cliche action hero must have a love interest that at one point or another faces the dangers of peril. I believe it's right after "An action hero must blow AT LEAST 1 large thing up in order to be considered an action hero". As far as her performance goes, meh. Sean Bean is moderately believable as the villain of the movie, because just as Cage's character follows the cliche action hero laws, Bean's character follows the cliche action villain laws. Bean's evil henchmen don't do much, although I believe evil henchmen number 2 was especially evil. Harvey Keitel and Jon Voight also show up eventually as an FBI agent and Ben's father, respectively. Keitel provides very little to the film, but Voight actually provides a good foil for Ben's adventurous nature.
Jon Turteltaub takes very few risks in the direction of this film, as he didn't really stray away from the technique of just filming what's put in front of the screen. Still, there were a lot of moments that really stuck out and certainly resonated with me. National Treasure is over 2 hours, but there is lots of mindless fun to keep you occupied for the entire film. It is also a lot of fun to learn actual historical tid bits that you may not have known before. Just don't think too much while you watch National Treasure, that would basically ruin the entire experience. My rating (7/10)

1 comment:

  1. this movie would have been so much better if helen mirren was in it.

    and sean bean is the man in everything


Movies given a 10/10

  • Milk
  • In Bruges
  • Slumdog Millionaire
  • The Dark Knight
  • Iron Man
  • No Country For Old Men
  • The Shining
  • A Clockwork Orange