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National Treasure (2004)


8/10: Cage's best white-knuckled actioneer since "Con-Air
Friday, March 18, 2005

The only characters missing from director John Turteltaub's "National Treasure" (*** out of ****) are Scooby Doo and Casper, the Friendly Ghost. Otherwise, this lightweight but entertaining 'live-action' Walt Disney-produced adventure opus about an invisible treasure map on the flip-side of the Declaration of Independence lands somewhere between an Indiana Jones cliff-hanger and an bloodless "A-Team" TV episode. The people who made "National Treasure" have recycled every cliché in the 'quest-for-buried-treasure genre' and borrowed ideas from bestsellers ranging from "Raise The Titanic" to "The Da Vinci Code" to make this harmless hokum about the exploits of the Knights Templar and the Free Masons. After suffering through a string of box office losers, including "Windtalkers," "Matchstick Men," and "Adaptation," actor Nicolas Cage finally has another hit under his belt, thanks largely to "Pirates of the Caribbean" producer Jerry Bruckheimer. "National Treasure" amounts to an anthology of Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew stories with grown...

5/10: National Treasure
Monday, January 9, 2012

I had heard about this film from Disney a number of times, knowing the leading actor and some of the premise, but I had missed it a few times, so I finally got my hands on it and watched it with interest, from director Jon Turteltaub (Cool Runnings, While You Were Sleeping, Phenomenon). Basically historian and amateur cryptologist Benjamin 'Ben' Franklin Gates (Nicolas Cage) is part of a long running family of treasure hunters, he was inspired at a young age by his grandfather John Adams Gates (Christopher Plummer), and he is now on the hunt for the treasure still not recovered. He and Ian Howe (Sean Bean) found the legendary ship called the Charlotte in the Arctic, and it is there that they find a vital clue, after many others as well, that is a direction as to where to find the next one. They conclude from the riddle that the clue they need next is located somewhere on...

5/10: Polished Indiana Jones copy, sanitised for the kids
Thursday, September 1, 2016

This is a film very much in the spirit of THE DA VINCI CODE – except it came out before the film version of that bestseller, and it's also a lot better, although that isn't saying much. It's a straightforward mystery/detective/crime/adventure film, reminiscent on plenty of movies that have come before (MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE and INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE spring particularly to mind here). It's fair to say that NATIONAL TREASURE doesn't add anything new to the genre, and it doesn't have a lot to say about anything, ever. It's a Walt Disney-produced film, so is geared squarely at children, and it's inoffensive, light, and not too head-scratching.The cast is something of a mixed bag. There are former luminaries like a slightly embarrassed Jon Voight and a barely-in-it Harvey Keitel hanging around the edges and reminding us of who they are, while total idiots...

7/10: Nearly impossible to swallow, but very entertaining
Saturday, May 14, 2005

National Treasure is an underrated, implausible, yet very entertaining action/adventure flick that really relies on the plot and intrigue rather than explosion filled action sequences.Nicolas Cage stars as Ben Gates, a historian enthusiast in search for a mythical treasure dating back to the Crusades which has alleged switch locations overtime leaving several extensive clues to follow. The movie starts you off in the middle of Gate's quest in the Artic Circle, where he is double-crossed by one of his companions, Ian Howe (predictably played by Sean Bean who usually plays these shady, back-stabbing characters in "Goldeneye", "Troy", "Ronin" and "Don't Say a Word"), which ensues a race across America looking for the treasure and preserving history.This movie has been deemed another "Indiana Jones" without the whip, leather hat and stereotypical Nazis. Instead, the movie really focuses on the implausible, puzzling clues that were left by our forefathers to guide future hunters to a...

8/10: Better than I had expected
Sunday, April 3, 2005

National Treasure" seemed the most innocuous of the offerings at the discount house, and one of the kids had been agitating to see it for a month or so. I gave in.I'm glad I did."National Treasure" is a welcome throwback of a film. The hero's a little scuffed around the edges, but clearly one of the good guys. The reluctant (at first) heroine is spunky, smart and beautiful. The baddie is wealthy, charming and accented. And the sidekick's a scream.Nicolas Cage does well in that he doesn't try to play Benjamin Gates like Harrison Ford playing Indiana Jones. There's a bit of the geek buried none too deep in Cage's performance, and the only time he gets rough with a bad guy, he hurts his hand.Justin Bartha's overgrown-kid persona provides plenty of comic relief -- and it's a relief in itself that "National Treasure" doesn't fall back...

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