National Treasure – A review by Film Nerd

Director: John Turteltaub

Cast: Nicolas Cage, Diane Kruger, Sean Bean, Justin Bartha, Jon Voight, Harvey Keitel

Synopsis: Ben Gates (Cage) has grown up dreaming of fulfilling a family legacy… to discover the lost, potentially only mythical,  treasure of the Freemasons, an order that included America’s Founding Father’s.   Starting with a clue given to one of his ancestors, Gates identified where tp find the map to the treasure… on the back of the Declaration of Independence.   This leads to a race against time and less scrupulous treasure hunters to steal the Declaration and find the treasure first.

A review by Film Nerd

I have seen this film a few times now, it being a particular favourite of my Father’s and one of only two movies he owns on Bluray (the other actually being National Treasure 2).   Hence, being Father’s day yesterday, I saw it again last night.   It is not the most dramatic piece of cinema, and perhaps it does suffer by comparison to other great treasure hunting films of the past, the Indiana Jones films in particular.   But when it comes to hunts for mythical treasure, it is actually perhaps the best film of its genre in recent years, with even Indiana Jones being revamped able to really live up to expectations.

I feel that the key to this film is that despite whatever it isn’t, it is a fun film, with a light-hearted tone delightfully maintained throughout.   It is obvious Cage relishes the role, and he throws himself into it.   He runs around like a delighted child, and it is definitely more than just acting.   As a film, it is ready to laugh at its own implausibility, and yet not much suspension of disbelief is required as each new clue is unearthed.   In this way there is the gripping element that was present in the book of The Da Vinci Code, that actually fgelt absent from the film adaptation… the process of discovery.

The character’s are you classic staples for this genre, with Cage the lead adventurer and puzzle solver, Kruger in the role of love interest that is able to match wits with Gates at every stage, Bartha the tech head side kick support and Bean filling the shoes of villain.   The way the characters are scripted is somewhat cardboard cut out style, but the respective actors give enough warmth to their roles to keep you watching.   But in the end you are watching for Cage and Bean (huh, sounds like a Canadian coffee… “Cajun Bean”… I should patent that!    Anyway, both actors are clearly in on the joke, and play it slightly camp, which is the perfect tone for this type of action adventure piece.

National Treasure was never in danger of winning any Oscars, but it was successful enough to warrant a sequel, and is a good brainless way to spend a quiet evening.

3 stars (out of a possible 5)

National Treasure on IMDB

National Treasure on Rotten Tomatoes

Trailer [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5l-6N8Y-Sgg]

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