National Treasure (2004) -

The Conspirators

Benjamin Franklin Gates: Nicolas Cage
Sadusky: Harvey Keitel
Patrick Gates: Jon Voight
Abigail Chase: Diane Kruger
Ian Howe: Sean Bean
Riley Poole: Justin Bartha
Shaw: David Dayan Fisher
John Adams Gates: Christopher Plummer

The Mastermind

Directed By: Jon Turteltaub
Written By: Jim Kouf, Cormac Wibberley, and Marianne Wibberley

Running Time: 100 Minutes. Rated PG (for action violence and some scary images)

See the movie trailer


"Here's to treason." Rating: 2 UFOs

Matt DeReno Staff Writer

(Feb. 10, 2007)


National Treasure stars Nicholas Cage, as get this, Benjamin Franklin Gates, creative huh? This movie is quintessential B-fare: campy, fast-paced, and quick on its feet and short on facts but alas, something that young and old alike might get a kick out of. This is not to say it is an awful movie but it is to say it is nothing special for sure. It falls so short of a serious thriller that the PG ratting is greatly justified, though when the movie was crafted it was intended for the more lucrative PG-13.

There are no overly violent scenes, no curse words and gratuitous sex. In some sense, the movie is not meant to be taken seriously and we mean more so than most thrillers. If you approach it with that mindset, it doesn't play as bad and serves well as a family pop corn cruncher. If you are expecting to see a Harrison Ford Patriot Games type movie, well, this is not even close.

On a more critical note I give it credit for getting off cheaply. The main "baton" was a rolled up piece of parchment, something the National Archives called the Declaration of Independence. Finally, we get to see our famous document in action. It had invisible ink on the back and maps and stuff, which could be read by lemon juice and a hair dryer. Don't remember that in History class but it was cool.

It was fun watching the document being flipped about a busy street too. You just thought a car would run it over but during a red light, the bad guy, played by Sean Bean, walked over to it, picked it up off the ground and smiled at the good guys clutching a nation's history in his hands.

Speaking of Sean Bean playing the bad guy; this was probably the nicest bad guy in any thriller movie I recall seeing. I don't think he actually killed anybody and let every one go nearly every chance he got. He was also pretty dumb.

The plot by the way is a rip off of the movie and record-setting book The Da Vinci Code, which it clearly tried to beat to the punch cinematically. Replace the Holly Grail with the Declaration of Independence and voila you have National Treasure but it is so cartoonish it is hard to really care.

In terms of production values it is more than adequate. There are no incredible special effects but there is enough of what we come to expect in this type of run-of-the-mill thriller. Standard chase scenes on foot, on car, collapsing scaffolds in underground caverns, creepy tombs it pretty much has all the formulaic contrivances necessary for such an outrageous plot.

The trip up to the North Pole seemed like a great reason to go to the North Pole and nothing more. Amazing how they found a sunken boat frozen in ice and what appeared to be a short time later had the thing neatly removed from the permafrost all with the effort of three guys and their picks. The historical montage at the beginning was brief and did not allude to any additional great fighting reenactments later in the movie.

Harvey Keitel as the FBI Agent in charge was good as usual. Cage was okay and did his thing well. I did like how Cage had somewhat of a Patriotic fervor to him as well. It was more about "Declaration" then the Treasure. He was always polite and considerate of everyone that found themselves in harm's way, which was everyone he met. The movie kind of had an A-Team like feel to it. Mr. T. would have been a good addition to it now that I think of it. But, he was probably busy doing commercials or staring in his own reality based TV show. A joking sidekick played by Justin Bartha was entertaining and was a great reminder to smile with the movie and not take it seriously.

Some interesting trivia pointed out on Good guys in the movie use the Google search engine, while the bad guys use Yahoo. Take that Yahoo. Smart movie goers use either search engine to find a better movie to watch but if it happens to be in your Netflix que, don't despair, it's watchable. But, don't expect much either. Remember: it is your Constitutional right to watch what you want. That is all spelled out in the Bill of Rights, if it hasn't been stolen by now that is!












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