National Treasure

National Treasure
Cast: Nicolas Cage, Diane Kruger, Justin Bartha, Sean Bean, Jon Voight, Harvey Keitel, Christopher Plummer
Director: Jon Turteltaub
Genre: Adventure/Action
Rated: PG medium level violence
Running Time: 131 Minutes

The Greatest Adventure History Has Ever Revealed

From the secrets of America's past comes this action packed modern-day treasure hunt. Academy Award© winner Nicolas Cage stars as Benjamin Franklin Gates, who has spent his whole life searching for a fortune few dare to believe exists. This is the legendary Knights Templar Treasure, rumoured to be the most awesome bounty in human history, and hidden somewhere in America. For six generations, the Gates family has chased after clues left behind by America's Founding Fathers and scoured the nation in search of the treasure.

Now the maverick Ben Gates has made a breakthrough. At last, he knows where the ultimate hint to the treasure's location lies: a hidden map on the back of the Declaration of Independence. As knowledge of the map spreads to a ruthless adversary (Sean Bean), Ben is faced with a terrible dilemma. Either Ben must first steal America's most sacred document, one guarded by the most sophisticated security in the world - or let it fall into dangerous hands. And so begins a race against time to save the most sacred document and perhaps find the treasure that may indeed exist.

My Verdict:
Nicolas Cage tries it on in 'National Treasure' as a wannabe Indiana Jones, searching for an elusive American treasure that may or may not exist. The legendary story of the treasures existence has fascinated him since his grandfather (Christopher Plummer) told him as a child of its origin and he never let go of the passion to find it.

We initially meet an older Ben above the Arctic Circle as he tries to find yet another clue to the treasure as he searches for a ship - 'The Charlotte' - with his friend Ian Howe (Sean Bean). When a pipe (the smoking kind) is found aboard the Charlotte and reveals itself to be yet another cryptic clue, Ian disappears with the pipe leaving Ben and his sidekick Riley Poole (Justin Bartha) behind. And so begins a series of mini adventures as Ben and Ian try to stay one step ahead of each other in the race to find the treasure. This involves stealing the Declaration of Independence which is held where Dr. Abigial Chase (Diane Kruger) works and it doesn't take too much ingenuity for Ben to steal it before Ian does. Dragging Abigail along with him, it's a case of reading the secret map on the back, which is when Ben's father (Jon Voight with not enough screen time) is introduced. And so on until the final clue is found, or so they think.

'National Treasure' is a movie that Australians may or may not be able to relate to as there is so much American history mentioned, some of it true, some of it, well, who knows. This is a case of just go along with whatever they say, and don't question the validity, as this movie is after all an entertainment vehicle, not a thorough history lesson. And therein lies one of the biggest flaws with 'National Treasure' - too much time is spent trying hard to create that series of one exciting adventure after another with some of these being too insignificant to care about. Towards the latter stages of the movie it really is a case of "just hurry up and find the treasure because we know you are going to".

Nicolas Cage tries hard as Ben Gates, Sean Bean is as always a great nemesis for the lead character, Diane Kruger is wooden as the token love interest and Justin Bartha has at least some lines that may make you raise a smile. Overall, 'National Treasure' is a try hard blockbuster from Disney Films that does and doesn't make the cut. For pure entertainment it's ok, but for something deep and meaningful, don't bother.

Rating : C

Christina Bruce