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National Treasure (2004)

DVD Cover (Walt Disney Studios)
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5.5
 / 10
15 votes
Movie Connections:
National Treasure
> National Treasure (2004)
> National Treasure: Book Of... (2007)
Genres:
Action Thriller, Adventure, Caper
Director:
Jon Turteltaub Jon Turteltaub
Starring:
Nicolas Cage Nicolas Cage
Diane Kruger Diane Kruger
Justin Bartha Justin Bartha
Sean Bean Sean Bean
Jon Voight Jon Voight
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Review by Chad
Added: May 06, 2005
In our opening scene, we rewind to the year 1972 and watch as a young Benjamin Franklin Gates (Nicolas Cage) listens to his grandfather tell a story about a hidden treasure. The grandfather goes on to explain that this treasure was passed back and forth between various people, with many wars being fought over it... until, that is, it wound up in the hands of the Freemasons (members of which included George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin). Of course, the Freemasons didn't want the British to find it since they were kind of at war with them at the time, so they hid the treasure and left clues as to its location in various historical landmarks. The only clue that anyone has to begin the movie is a single word - "Charlotte." Who Charlotte is or what it means is anyones guess, and six generations of the Gates family have spent their lives trying to figure it out.

We then fast-forward to present time, where an adult Benjamin has almost found out what the Charlotte clue meant... it was the name of a ship that was lost at sea, and Benjamin believes it to be buried under the Arctic ice and snow. To make a long story short, Benjamin and his crew consisting of Riley Poole (Justin Bartha) and Ian Howe (Sean Bean) find the ship, and inside, find the next clue. The clue comes in the form of a riddle, which Benjamin believes to refer to a map being hidden on the back of the Declaration of Independence. Ian says that they should steal the Declaration, but Benjamin will have none of that. This leads to a war of words between the men, and eventually, that war turns into a gun-battle. Now, Benjamin and Ian must get to the Declaration before Ian does, find the map, and hopefully, find the treasure. With the help of Dr. Abigail Chase (Diane Kruger), an expert in ancient documents, and his father Patrick Henry Gates (Jon Voight), things are looking good for our hero... that is, until F.B.I. agent Sadusky (Harvey Keitel) comes after Benjamin for the theft of a national treasure and Ian catches up on the clues that Benjamin has discovered thus far.

Sure, the storyline is pretty far-fetched, and yes, you really need put reality aside in order to go along with the events that unfold in this two-hour movie. However, if you can do that, you'll find that this is a pretty entertaining (though probably not very memorable) movie. The storyline, as far-fetched as it is, is what made this movie rise above the low expectations I had going in. Instead of just being a string of explosions and action sequences as Hollywood seems to enjoy putting out in recent years, there's actually an interesting story going on to bring everything together. The story serves as more than just a bridge between action sequences, and the end result is a movie that is entertaining and easy to become immersed in. Bits and pieces of the storyline did remind me of certain other films in the genre, but not so much as to call it out as being a rip-off as some other reviews have done.

While I did have a few minor gripes about the acting here, it's pretty solid for the most part. Nicolas Cage is perfect for these types of action / adventure movies, and this one was more of the same for the guy. If you've enjoyed his other films, then you'll also enjoy him here... if you hated him in those other films, this performance really won't do much to change your mind. Personally, I think he's quite good at what he does. His movies may not be memorable or award-winning, but they certainly do a great job at passing time on a rainy Thursday evening. Then, we have his bumbling sidekick in the film, played by Justin Bartha. In the beginning of the film, Justin served as a pretty important part of the storyline... but after that first twenty minutes, he's reduced down to nothing more than comedic relief. He did a good enough job in the acting department, but it would have been nice if his performance had consisted of more than dropping one-liners and setting up jokes for the other cast members to play off of. Diane Kruger plays Nick's love interest in the film (c'mon, you knew there had to be one), and does an acceptable job with the role. There's some over-acting to be found in her performance, and it was nowhere near cream-of-the-crop acting, but it was acceptable for a film such as this. Take away the over-acting part, and much the same could be said of Sean Bean's role as the film villain. To sum it all up, the performances given by this cast are adequate, but don't go in expecting any sort of breath-taking moments or anything similar.

Worth a rental if you're a fan of these types of movies. The storyline is far-fetched, the acting is average, and there are some slow spots in the film while the plot develops... but in the end, the movie was entertaining, and really, isn't that all that matters? 6/10.
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National Treasure: Book Of Secrets The 6th Day Taken Lost: Season 1 The Hunted Tomcat Angels Kill Bill: Vol. 2 Pirates Of The Caribbean: The Curse Of The Black Pearl
mebclowd09 #1: mebclowd09 - added 12/21/2005, 02:29 AM
it would've been better if it weren't so long!
BuryMeAlive #2: BuryMeAlive - added 01/14/2007, 03:14 PM
See it or skip it, it is either horribly bad or good. 4/10
Lucid Dreams #3: Lucid Dreams - added 05/30/2010, 10:34 PM
It's a rental like Chad said. Nothing special about this really, but it's a good popcorn flick. 6/10
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