Preview by: Jack Foley
NICOLAS Cage is no stranger to Jerry Bruckheimer productions,
having scored massive Box Office successes with The Rock and Con
Air, as well as, to a lesser extent, Gone
In 60 Seconds.
His latest collaboration, National Treasure, is due for a Thanksgiving
release in the States, and unites him with Jon Turteltaub, the
director of Phenomenon.
The film boasts a somewhat unlikely premise, in that it revolves
around Benjamin Franklin Gates (Cage), an eighth generation archaeologist-historian
searching for treasure buried by America's founding fathers.
When he discovers a map leading to the treasure has been hidden,
for 200 years, on the reverse side of the Declaration of Independence,
he is forced to find and steal it, in order to protect it from
villains so desperate to unearth the money they'd destroy the
priceless document to get it.
Needless to say, the map holds clues to an even greater adventure,
as well as the inevitable race-against-time scenario.
National Treasure, while sounding like some sort of modern-day
Indiana Jones adventure, boasts a strong support cast, including
Diane Kruger (Helen, in Troy), Sean
Bean (as Cage’s nemesis), Harvey Keitel, Jon Voight, Christopher
Plummer, Don McManus, Justin Bartha and Mark Pellegrino.
And it will be seen as a film that has the potential to deliver
Disney’s Touchstone Pictures a long sought-after hit, given
the Box Office disappointments it has suffered with the likes
of King Arthur, Hidalgo
and The Alamo this year.
Bruckheimer remains confident, however, extolling the virtues
of his ‘wonderful cast’.
He commented: "It's a treasure-hunt movie. It's Nic Cage,
whose family's been trying to find this treasure for three or
four generations, and Nic takes on the task to find it.
"The answer is on the back of the Declaration of Independence.
So he's not the only person that knows this, and he's got to beat
the Sean Bean character, who wants to steal it before he does.
It's a good plot."
The film is scheduled for a US release on November 19 and advance
word from the trailer suggests it could be fun, in the same way
as previous Cage/Bruckheimer collaborations.
It was designed to be a modern-day adventure caper to rival the
feel-good factor of an Indiana Jones adventure, but the latest
Bruckheimer-Cage collaboration didn't ignite with the critics
as spectacularly as had been hoped.
The San Francisco Chronicle leads the chorus
of indifference by stating that 'it has no ambition, little sense
and false sentiment, but it does have velocity, high spirits and
While Globe and Mail felt that 'National Treasure
is not so much a no-brainer as a brain-stunner, so audaciously
ridiculous you are initially intrigued, then soon irritated by
Worse still was the Detroit News, which wrote
that it is 'a formula-action exercise that's part Indiana Jones,
part Da Vinci Code, part
history trivia lesson and all bluster, Treasure proves quickly
that it's fool's gold at best'.
And the New York Post, which wrote that it is
'interminable and riddled with plot holes you could drive a humvee
On a more positive note, however, was the Washington
Post, which opined that 'the best thing about National
Treasure is how clever it is'.
While the Hollywood Reporter referred to it
as 'an above-average popcorn movie'.
And the Houston Chronicle felt that it is 'a
joyfully convoluted adventure yarn that moves lickety-split through
clichés, plot holes and overall narrative mayhem until
the whole unlikely rig screeches to a halt'.
But on a more negative note, the Los Angeles Times
wrote that it 'has all the soul, wit and originality of a major
And USA Today felt that 'ten minutes into the
picture, you're searching the screen for life-support machines'.
While the Chicago Sun-Times declared that 'National
Treasure is so silly that the Monty Python version could use the
same screenplay, line for line'.
And the New York Times wrote it off by stating:
"With its ludicrous frisson of patriotism and a nod to The
Da Vinci Code, a more cynical grab for Hollywood gold is hard
Ever the optimists, however, we at IndieLondon are still hoping
for an entertaining enough no-brainer, and have decided to conclude
with the Chicago Tribune's verdict, which stated
that it's 'alluringly over-the-top without being overcooked'.
The film opens in UK cinemas on Boxing Day.