Starring Nicolas Cage, Diane Kruger, Justin Bartha, Sean Bean, Jon Voight, Harvey Keitel, Christopher Plummer
Written By: Cormac Wibberley
Directed By: Jon Turteltaub
Disney strikes gold – and it’s about time! With their recent track record of pathetic releases, of course not including anything Pixar related, they needed a home run. National Treasure hits one out of the park thanks to John Turteltaub sitting in the Director’s chair and Jerry Bruckheimer producing.
The story revolves around a third-generation treasure hunter. Benjamin Franklin Gates (Nicholas Cage) has seemingly devoted his life to finding the treasure supposedly hidden by America’s founding fathers after America proclaimed it’s independence. The treasure contains the world’s most profound and coveted relics which were collected through the ages and different wars, dynasties, etc. No one actually believes the treasure exists but the Gates family, including the elder Gates played by John Voight, has found so many clues that they are obsessed with the hunt.
Through a series of clues and somewhat predictable adventures, the Gates’ race towards the grand prize with some help from supporting characters like Dr. Abigail Chase played by Diane Kruger. She gets involved with Gate’s while he plans to steal the Declaration of Independence – one of the movie’s important historical documents that may lead to the treasure. Other leading actors include Harvey Keitel, the omniscient FBI guy. Sean Bean as the adversarial bad guy who offers a nice departure from his other villainous roles (Lord of the Rings and that Bond flick Goldeneye).
Then there’s Justin Bartha. This comic relief really makes the movie. Provides some great one-liners and keeps you interested during the few slower parts. Keep an eye on this guy. He survived Gigli. He should get an award for that alone. Nicolas Cage isn’t the next Indiana Jones by any means but did make a pretty good heroic central figure. Some parts were a bit predictable and there really isn’t anything new as far as creative death traps. We’ve seen everything they had to endure either in a previous movie or in a video game somewhere. But, wrap them around a good plot, decent actors and you have something worthwhile. The writing and casting were excellent and there were a lot of historical references based on fact that gave it a sense of believability.
The score was well integrated and fit the scenes. Not sure where some of the music came from but it did its job like it’s supposed to. Effects were good – nothing evolutionary but held up well. Not too many effects since most of the excitement was in the cool props and scenery. Although I still can’t figure out how torches, buried underground for hundreds of years, still light up like Lysol sprayed onto a lit Zippo.
Favorite Scenes: Historical facts and actual places made it believable in my head.
Running Time: 126 minutes