Review by: Jack Foley | Rating:
DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: 'National Treasure' On Location.
Opening Scene Animatic. Alternate Ending. Deleted Scenes. Treasure
Hunters Uncovered. The Knights Templar. Riley's Decode This. Roadblock
FROM its ridiculous premise alone, you could be forgiven for
thinking that National Treasure is a discovery not worth making.
But if you suspend belief entirely, this contemporary Indiana
Jones is an enjoyable romp that provides some decent, old-fashioned
Nicolas Cage stars as Benjamin Franklin Gates, the latest in
a family of treasure hunters, who believes that the nation's Founding
Fathers discovered the legendary treasure of the Knights Templar
and subsequently hid the clues to its location all over the world.
One such clue lies on the back of The Declaration of Independence
and it is up to Gates and co - including Diane Kruger's unwitting
government archives conservator, and Justin Bartha's computer
nerd - to steal it before it falls into the hands of Sean Bean's
rival treasure seeker.
The ensuing quest for the treasure takes viewers from the deepest
depths of the Arctic, to underground New York, and Independence
Hall, in Philadelphia, while keeping its tongue firmly in cheek
and tossing in plenty of problems to solve along the way (not
to mention the obligatory romantic entanglement between Cage and
And it's a competent mix of history and energy that has enough
going for it to keep audiences enthralled every step of the way.
National Treasure marks the fourth
collaboration between Cage and producer, Jerry Bruckheimer, after
The Rock, Con Air and Gone in 60 Seconds, and it's safe to say
that the combination is still working.
While not quite as exciting or innovative as Spielberg's Indiana
Jones movies, or classic thrillers such as To Catch A Thief and
Charade (which it blatantly references), the film is a guilty
pleasure for anyone willing to give in to its charms.
The rivalry between Cage and Bean is nicely played (as the two
also share a begrudging respect for each other), while the chemistry
between Cage, Kruger and Bartha is extremely endearing, making
it easy to spend time in their company.
And while the set pieces have certainly been toned down by director,
Jon Turteltaub, to cater for a younger audience, they still possess
enough panache to get the pulse racing.
The theft of the actual Declaration of Independence, for instance,
is extremely well-handled, as are several of the chase sequences
which litter proceedings (including a rooftop pursuit through
And the presence of a strong support cast, including veterans
Christopher Plummer, Jon Voight and Harvey Keitel, also serves
to lend the film much more credibility and gravitas than it probably
On the down side, the film is a tad too long and would most certainly
have benefited from some pruning, making it one to avoid for anyone
with really young children, but it's a small price to pay for
the overall enjoyment it provides.
National Treasure, as we have come to expect from a Bruckheimer
movie, is a slick, pacy and harmless affair which, while not as
golden as some of his best efforts, certainly glistens brightly