National Treasure

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National Treasure : Starring Nicolas Cage , Diane Kruger , and Sean Bean

Nov 22, 2004
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:great story, well acted, very interesting premise

Cons:none

The Bottom Line: I highly recommend this movie as something that not only tells a good story, but can captivate the audience.


From the production team of Jerry Bruckheimer (Pearl Harbor, Top Gun, Crimson Tide), National Treasure is a movie produced with the intent to appeal to the masses. Normally when a movie is made with that intent though, it ends up lacking the core of what makes a movie great. While Bruckheimer movies are always very watchable, some people have been turned away by his constant need to blow up his movie sets. It is almost as if he has a grudge against the people that build them, and in order to get back at them, he finds a way to destroy each set in his script. That being said, it was a good bet, that going into this movie, we would need to expect the same type of action sequences. Instead though, we are treated to some well though out plot turns, and a story that keeps the viewers attention throughout the picture.

The main plot of this film is that a treasure exists that is beyond anything in existence. The forefathers of our country hid this treasure from the British, with the intent that it would some day help the country. They felt that it was too vast for one man to control, so they hid it. In doing so, they left clues that would reveal its location, and the secret was buried with history. The treasure was forgotten, absolved into nothingness, and soon faded from myth to fantasy. That is except for one family that believed the story to be true, and generation after generation seeks out the treasure to no avail. Years and years have passed since the treasure went "missing", and the film gives us a quick synopsis of what it would entail if it were still intact now. The back-story to the treasure is very intriguing and it drew me into the story right from the start.

For the 4th time (The Rock, Con Air, Gone in 60 Seconds), Nicolas Cage has been cast as the main character in a Bruckheimer film. He stars as Benjamin Franklin Gates, whose family has been holding on to this secret for 180 years. He has carried on the obsession that his family has had with finding the treasure, and the story jumps right into his quest. The character that Cage plays here is very likable, and at times can be compared to the average man. He does have an uncanny ability to unravel riddles though, and it is fun trying to think along with him as he goes about doing just that. At times the movie slows down a little bit for us to play along, but it does not detract from everything else going on. Cage shines in this role, sort of the same character he played as Stanley Goodspeed in "The Rock." Again he is that likable, often times aloof guy, who is just out to get the job done. We find out just enough about his character to believe his story, and are still left with the ability to think of him as we will.

Other roles in the film are played by Sean Bean, Jon Voight, Diane Kruger, and Harvey Keitel. Bean plays his partner who seems to be the "money" of the operation, and is there to help Gates find the treasure for his own reasons. This was a great role for Bean, who most recently became famous in the Lord of The Rings Trilogy. In this film, he is able to show a little more depth of character, and is also cast as someone quite intelligent in this quest. Voight plays Gates' father, who seems to be the only one of the family who did not devote his life to finding this lost treasure. He sees it as a wasted of time, and does not share the same passion for it as Ben. This leads to some great interactions between Voight and Cage, and brought a lot of believability to the movie. For the female lead, we have Diane Kruger (who also starred as Helen in Troy) who plays the resident skeptic of films like these, and must suspend her disbelief of the story if she intends to play an important role in the film. In a great performance, Keitel plays an FBI agent, who always has the right thing to say at the right time. He brings his normal presence to this film, and as always shines.

All of the main characters of the film are very believable in their roles, and at no time is the audience left wondering why this person was in this role. They all do well with their lines, and none of them out-shine the story. Cage is back to doing what made him a star in the first place, by letting the character do the work, and not over-acting the lines that he is given. He again shows why he was given so much praise for his role in Leaving Las Vegas. He still has that screen presence that makes you believe anything the character says, and in this case it comes out as brilliant acting on his part. The character also brings a lot of "fun" to this film, because he seems to know the most obscure things about American History. So, not only are we enjoying a film as the audience, but we are able to pick up a few nuggets of knowledge along the way. As his intellect kicks into high gear, we are transported from one scene to another, and I found myself trying to stay one step ahead of him to figure out what could possibly come next. In short, Cage has never been better, and brings great charm to the film.

In a break from his norm, Bruckheimer does not destroy every set that he has to play with in National Treasure. Instead his Director, Jon Turteltaub, takes us on a thrill-ride of the mind, through our History, in the hopes of providing a film that makes us think. Be warned that this is a film that could make you think, and at times some of the riddles to clues are quite complex, but I found that to be a huge plus for the film. Instead of "dumbing down" to an audience, it instead tries to keep us at arms length until the characters lead us down the next road. The is definitely a film in the same likes as Indiana Jones, but thrust into the 21st century, and devoid of Nazi's. I find myself highly recommending this film to all ages, because while it provides the action necessary for some viewers, it is able to do so without extensive violence or language. This was a movie that kept my attention so well, that I did not even notice I had worked my way through a large popcorn till the end of the film. With all of the films coming upon us this holiday season, I think that National Treasure is one of those films that you should not miss.




Recommend this product? Yes

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