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Take "National Treasure" for what it is.
dgrooms724 January 2005
This is a fun movie that most everyone in the family can enjoy. It's rated PG, has some violence, but no nudity and no language. Younger kids will probably not understand the Masonic and Knights Templar references, but they'll probably still enjoy it. The only thing anyone needs to understand about the Masons is the Knights Templar eventually became the Masons, and many of our founding fathers were Masons, so there's a bit of Masonic lore/connection tied into the movie. Other than that, it's easy to follow. Ben Gates is chasing a dream of finding a lost treasure, the map to which is supposedly hidden on the back of the Declaration of Independence. He steals the Declaration, then takes off on his adventure to find the treasure. To put it simply, "National Treasure" will remind you of a cross between the Indiana Jones trilogy (minus the snakes) and "Ocean's 11" (minus the drinking and profanity). You don't have to be a genius to watch it, and you don't have to be a history nut to understand it. No, there isn't really a map on the back of the Declaration of Independence (Is there?), but Indiana Jones didn't actually find the Ark, either. It's a fun, fantasy, what-if, kind of movie. Enjoy it.
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An entertaining movie for the whole family
thegoauld-130 May 2005
Warning: Spoilers
**********SPOILER WARNING************

I had the pleasure of seeing this film twice at the theater. The only shows where I've seen the audience more into a movie were Spider-man 1 & 2, X-MEN 2, and Rocky. The movie is interesting from start to finish.

While all the actors (and actress) do a good job, Sean Bean steals the show. So many times, the villain can make or break the film. Sean Bean was the absolute best choice for this particular villain. The characters arrogance, intelligence, and relentless resolve shine through.

I feel the main drawback to the film was its PG rating. It would have been better as a PG-13. Some obvious violence was toned down. Even people that never use foul language, would have dropped the "F" bomb here and there. But as it stands with its PG rating, everyone can enjoy it.
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Pleasant Surprise!
silly-lil-thing20 December 2004
National Treasure was not on my must-watch list. but it turned out to be a most pleasant surprise. the history behind the show may not be accurate and it also has around it, an air of mystery, but it certainly was a fun filled ride with the face-paced action flicks! I'm NOT a particular Cage fan. nonetheless i had to admit he did a pretty good job as Ben Gates - slightly serious yet very witty! together with Riley, they provided the tickles that brought the audience through the entire film.

with no explicit language and scenes, National Treasure is well-suited for family entertainment! its a light-hearted film good for an evening of chilling out! the subtle love story also adds credit to the film.

well done!
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Better than I had expected
KCwordguy3 April 2005
Warning: Spoilers
"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 on the "kill the sidekick" formula. The film needs him, and it needs him all the way through.

Diane Kruger and Sean Bean do a fine job of portraying two sides of the same coin: Immigrants obsessively chasing the American Dream. The difference is in their interpretation of the dream.

There's one on screen death, not gory. There's little, if any, profanity. Brainpower, not firepower, carries the day. And there's a genuine regard for learning throughout the film (although, admittedly, a few of the facts are off).

And yes, there are moments when you realize that being an old-school film hero means leading a particularly charmed life. After all, given the seasonal changes in the sun's daily position, what are the odds of it making a shadow fall just so -- just when the good guys need it to? But that's the way it is in a good hidden-treasure epic: When truth and right are on your side, someone makes sure you get the breaks.

There's a moral buried in the ending, too, that can be taken either way. Sharing is good -- but is it sharing of physical wealth, or of a political ideal? Given the obvious reverence for the Founding Fathers and their philosophies in "National Treasure," the answer might be "and" rather than "or." All in all, far better than I had expected. Not earth-shatteringly significant, but family-friendly, well-paced and a whole lot of escapist fun.
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Enjoyable but fairly simple adventure
Legend has it that the founding fathers of the United States of America were in possession of an enormous treasure. This treasure has been passed down through the centuries from great civilization to great civilization by conquest and all sorts of other means, but... it is true or just myth? Ben Gates is one person who believes it to be true and pursues the clues where his father before him has given up.

This story is very similar to a Dan Brown novel in its real time development and an interesting mix of historical information into an entertaining plot. While it isn't quite as rich as a book can be, it is still a good clever little adventure. Well paced with some good action scenes that will keep you hooked all the way through.

There are some glaring errors in logic and moments of sappiness that bring down what good have been a good thriller, but seeing that this is a family oriented movie it is forgivable. Also the film is pretty much geared for an American audience, but should be a good evening of light entertainment for most movie watchers. 7/10

Rated PG for mild violence and action
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fun adventure
MLDinTN12 December 2004
This was a fun film, sort of like an Indian Jones movie, but the treasure hunter must figure out clues. I'm sure the reason this was made and released now has a lot to do with the Da Vinci Code. The plot is just like it except instead of involving religious history, the clues center around American history, and namely the founding fathers.

So Nick Cage, plays Ben Gates, the treasure hunter whose family has been looking for the treasure of the knights templer for years. One of his relatives possessed the last remaining clue from a dying Mason. So, the movie starts with Cage finally solving that clue, and the film goes from there. Of course, we have the evil billionaire guy who wants the treasure for himself and the funny sidekick. But, I think the sidekick failed because he wasn't all that funny. The movie could have used some more humor. And of course, Gates hooks up with a beautiful woman along the way to help him solve the clues, which sounds just like Da Vinci.

It is unbelievable that someone could just come up with the answer to these difficult clues after thinking about them for 2 minutes, but we don't have time to let the characters ponder them for a few months. It is meant to be fun, so forget about the plot holes. The whole set beneath the church looked very neat, but I would have to think all those wooden stairs would have been rotten by then and no one could walk on them. But who cares, it's fun.

And the theft of the Declaration of Independence was reminiscent of Ocean's 11. Funny how anyone can steal anything in a film, forget locked down security.

FINAL VERDICT: If you like adventure films, I recommend it. It is not like Tomb Raider, which some have compared it to. Tomb Raider was horrible. This is more like Indiana Jones.
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Security risks
jotix10028 October 2005
"National Treasure" is a thriller that was obviously targeted for young audiences. John Turtletaub, its director, has created a film that will resonate with those audiences because of the great ride and the adventure it depicts. On the other hand, heaven help us, should anyone feel inspired to emulate the hero of the film and attempts to do something similar, which in a way, doesn't say much about the security in guarding the real "natural treasures" of the country.

If we can believe Ben Gates can pull the caper, then there's no problem in enjoying this film, which offers an action packed couple of hours that could have been trimmed a little bit to make it even better.

Not being a Nicolas Cage fan, one was prepared for the worst, but this is one of the films in which Mr. Cage is at his mellowest intensity and it's easy to tolerate his antics. Diane Kreuger is a beautiful addition to the film that pays well. Justin Bartha does what he can being a computer nerd and pulling fantastic stuff to help his friend. Sean Bean, Christopher Plummer and Jon Voight, are seen in supporting roles.

This is a film that will play well with young minds and with adults that will allow for the silliness of the situation at hand.
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Fairly entertaining
grahamsj330 November 2004
I am NOT, repeat, NOT, a Nicolas Cage fan, mainly because he relies too much on action to carry his films (instead of his acting), but this is a pretty decent flick. There is enough action and suspense to keep the viewer's interest and also to maintain the pace of the film. There's actually not very much actual violence (strange for a Cage film!), but the story is so well-written that even Cage can pull it off without any gore. The basic story has been reviewed several times, but it's the continuation of a 200 year old treasure hunt. Cage must solve riddle after riddle to find the ultimate clue to the treasure's whereabouts. The clue is finally determined to be on the back of the Declaration of Independence. How Cage figures the clue that leads him there is pretty far-fetched but its the key to the story. If you buy into that, the rest of the riddles are acceptable. There's also a double cross plot headed by the great Sean Bean that provides a lot of the action. The lovely Diane Kruger portrays the poor lady who gets caught up in the middle of all this intrigue. Overall, except for the figuring out of the clue found in the ship (the viewer just has to assume that he's that far above the rest of us in intelligence), a pretty exciting film with a little something for everyone.
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National Treasure
Illinwek19 June 2005
This is a great and entertaining adventure movie, despite the NY Times critic and others. I think critics write to amuse themselves, not to critique a movie on its main importance "entertainment".

This movie has been called preposterous and unlikely. Hmmm? I don't suppose the critics liked "Raiders of the Lost Ark" or "The Bourne Identity" or "Independence Day" or "The Sum of All Fears" or for that matter, "Titanic " ! This treasure hunter story, backed up by allusion to national history is fun to watch and fun to think about. The acting is just enough off edge and the dialog and commentary is just right so that it appeals to both adults and children. Disney got it right again.

GO SEE IT ! Or rent or buy the DVD, its a keeper for when you can't find something decent to watch. Put it alongside "Pirates of the Caribbean"........also preposterous but great fun ! We loved it and feel sorry for critics who think movies have to be of great social significance or import to be "great entertainment".

Joe Turner Illini News Service
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Excellent movie vastly underrated by critics
peter010515 December 2004
I went to see four movies this week (Birth, Incredible, Bridget, and this one, National Treasure).

I went to see National Treasure last because it got the worst rating by critics.

It turned out to be the best of four.

An excellent movie, packed with suspense, good acting, plot, from beginning to end.

Two thumbs down for critics. They missed this one just like they did for Riddick.

I heartedly recommend it to anyone.
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Indiana Jones minus the gore
owlglass11 January 2005
This one gets my vote for the most enjoyable flick of 2004 (together with The Indredibles). You'd think it's just for kiddies, but any adult capable of just going to the cinema to enjoy themselves should be able to sit back, gobble the popcorn, suck the straw, nibble on the ice- cream and just have a couple of hours of unproblematic mania—with good and bad guys, daring thefts, lost treasures, romance, chases, near escapes, disasters and rescues and everything you'd expect in this kind of Bruckheimer production.

The whole thing is paced just right, the villains are just bad enough, and the goodies are nobles with a roguish streak. The cheesy bits are mellowed with a dash of wry humor, and those that aren't: well, just take them, don't cringe and, again, have fun!

I came out of this movie smiling, as did my wife and elder daughter (that would make all of us into definite 'adults'). Since a smile was what we all wanted that day, we got exactly what we asked for.
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A Surprisingly Stunning Gem.
tfrizzell26 November 2004
A descendant (Nicolas Cage) of a family of fortune hunters looks for a treasure chest that was hidden by the Founding Fathers of the new United States after the Revolutionary War. After being double-crossed by European Sean Bean and his men while obtaining another clue in the Arctic, Cage and sidekick Justin Bertha (who nearly steals the show with his quick-witted one-liners) travel to D.C. to obtain the Declaration of Independence. It is believed that there is an invisible map on the back of that historic document. A daring cat and mouse game continues between Cage and Bean as the ultra-hot Diane Kruger (who made almost no impression in the disappointing "Troy") gets involved as well. Jon Voight (Cage's skeptical father) also gets thrown in the mix as the movie progresses and he does some of the best work of his career in an endearing and quietly comical role. A brilliant scavenger hunt for clues along the major cities of the East Coast will leave you on the edge of your seat. "National Treasure" is a fun trip to the movies. The setup (told by Cage's grandfather, Christopher Plummer) is a bit uneven and I was worried that this was going to be a disaster, but I am glad it was not. The characters are all smart and intelligent and the pace is fast and furious. Wonderful entertainment for the entire family. Surprisingly one of the finer pictures of 2004. 4 stars out of 5.
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Hide and seek begins with our Founding Fathers.
michaelRokeefe4 June 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Director Jon Turtelaub and the usually entertaining Nicolas Cage make a good combination and a darn good movie. Cage plays Ben Gates, an archaeologist-historian on a present-day quest for an ancient treasure of the Knights Templar. This treasure has been kept secret for what seems forever by a long line of Freemasons dating back to the Declaration of Independence. According to generations of folklore, there is a clue on the back of the Declaration that will sustain the procession of clues leading to the treasure. Thus the Icon of all historical documents, the Declaration of Independence , must be borrowed/stolen. Now Gates must out race his former employer Ian Howe(Sean Bean)to the mythical treasure. Gates has the aid of one of his believers Riley Poole(Justin Bartha)and new convert Dr. Abigail Chase(Diane Kruger), who happens to be an employee of the Smithsonian Museum.

This contrived tale is infectious as Cage's determination to be a hero among mortal men. This caper is held together with shards of comedy and a healthy helping of adventure. Bean seems flawless as the crafty villain. Rounding out the cast are: Jon Voight, Harvey Keitel, Mark Pellegrino and Christopher Plummer. This poor man's Indiana Jones romp proves harmless fun for all ages.
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Realistic Action is Refreshing
kgrettum-112 March 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Not realistic, in thinking that the Declaration of Independence can be accessed (in 2 ways in 5 minutes which is unbelievable); but in how the action parts are plausible, disregarding that a shotup van in Washington would have a relatively easy getaway. No sickening KillBill or ruthless Gladiator. This movie had a great plot, wonderful casting and amazing research. The directing got 100% from its actors, and even though the fiction rates up their with Indiana Jones, it matches those epics with glory. Give credit to it as did its cast and producer. Also refreshing is the subject of history with a bit of romance. Maybe Men are from Mars and Woman from Venus. History brings romance with substance. Although Maid in Manhattan is a fine Chick Flick with character, I now have another gem that rates up their with Kate and Leopold; National Treasure. 9 popcorns out of 10.
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Did The Illuminati Fund This Movie To Further Mask Their Nefarious Schemes?
hokeybutt12 December 2004
NATIONAL TREASURE (3 outta 5 stars) After hearing some of the initial reviews I was expecting something of a train wreck here. Actually, the movie is not bad at all... in a cheesy kind of Saturday afternoon time-killing way. Some of the actions of the characters strain credibility at times... but if you just sit back and let the plot play out it's all quite entertaining. A pair of eccentric treasure hunters pick up a female ally along the way as they try to beat a rich bad man at finding the greatest cache of treasure of all time. Nicolas Cage gives an effortlessly engaging lead performance. His male and female sidekicks (Diane Kruger and Justin Bartha) play off him quite well. The main villain (Sean Bean) is a more low-key bad guy than we tend to see in movies these days... he doesn't go on and on ranting and raving and screaming to prove how bad he is... he just proves it quite matter-of-factly through his actions. Jon Voigt and Harvey Keitel do alright in a couple of minor roles that don't do much for their acting cred but probably gave their bank accounts a boost. It didn't even strike me until the very end that this was indeed a Disney MOVIE... one very much like the adventure movies they used to put out in the 50s. I was also pleasantly surprised that there were less dumb action stunts than I expected. The two major stunt scenes in the film (a car chase and a stairway cave-in) were pretty un-inspired... the movie wisely concentrates more on plot and dialogue.
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Good Popcorn Movie
dbborroughs21 November 2004
Completely unbelievable but fun romp around the world looking for won't win any awards but its a good two hours at the movies.

The plot to trying to find a lost treasure a clue to which is on the back of the Declaration of Independence is so beyond belief that its best to simply begin by throwing up your hands and accepting it for what it is. Certainly the cast has thrown reality to the wind and appears to be having a grand time.

My only complaint, and its what keeps me from saying you you should see this in a theater instead of renting it, is that the pacing is off. It needs a zipper pace to get us from A to B. Certainly it moves well, but there were times when I just wanted to to move a bit faster. Its a minor fault, but one that prevented me from really loving this.

7 out of 10. Definitely worth seeing, preferably for less than what they charge for a full price movie admission these days.
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A Complete Entertainer!
namashi_128 March 2012
Jon Turteltaub's 'National Treasure' is A Complete Entertainer! A Great Adventure Flick, that entertains from start to end.

'National Treasure' Synopsis: A treasure hunter is in hot pursuit of a mythical treasure that has been passed down for centuries, while his employer turned enemy is onto the same path that he's on.

'National Treasure' is damn entertaining. There's hardly a moment when the pace dips, in fact, each & every sequence is absorbing & adventurous. Jim Kouf, Ted Elliott, Terry Rossio, Cormac Wibberley & Marianne Wibberley's Screenplay is damn good! Jon Turteltaub's is excellent. Cinematography, Editing & Art Design, are top-notch!

Performance-Wise: Nicolas Cage shines in the lead role. Justin Bartha is superb & his comic timing is just perfect. Diane Kruger looks gorgeous, as always, & delivers a nice performance. The Amazing Jon Voight stands out. Sean Bean is fantastic as the antagonist. Harvey Keitel is stylish, while Christopher Plummer does his bit well.

On the whole, 'National Treasure' is A Winner All The Way.
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Nearly impossible to swallow, but very entertaining.
The_Angry_Critic14 May 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 hidden treasure map. The map itself is only half of the problems, as if/when it's discovered still needs to be deciphered. As implausible and unrealistic as the story, plot and Da Vince Code-like clues are, they are still pretty interesting and creative and keep the story going, leaving very few dry spots. As mentioned before it's more of a "Goonie" race between Gates and Bean, in which Gates is really trying to protect the certain historical landmarks, but both are actually gunning for the treasure with Bean using more "aggressive" tactics.

Cage, who usually get a little excited when he muddles through his cue cards, actually toned it downed a little bit making the film much more enjoyable. The writing is also pretty good that scarcely emits one-liners, but still adds a few comedic moments without distracting from the plot. The ending is also chewable that should alleviate any possible sequels and wraps everything up nicely.

Yes, this movie is practically inaccurate historically and contains more outrageous clues then "Tomb Raider" and "The Mummy" series combined, but take that with a grain of salt and just sit back an enjoy the film for it's creativity and overall satisfaction.
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I strongly recommend all doubters to give the film a fair chance.
adam-jonsson12 March 2005
Well, what can I say. I'm amazed. This isn't my type of film at all and I had serious doubts about even going along with my friends and watch the film. I'm glad I did. Nicholas Cage earns all credit he can get and the director must have known that it would turn out to a success after talking him into doing the movie. They jump into action already in the first minute. There are some sequences when it's challenging not to get goose bumps. The fact that the second clue is written on the back of the Declaration of Independence is hair rising. Aside of all spectacular happenings, they manage to squeeze in a love story. The cooperation of Cage and his friend is also brilliantly done. In conclusion, the audio sounds real good and there are also many natural sceneries. (This wasn't a very astute synopsis but I am just trying to influence you to consider seeing it)
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Decent Entertainment
thechosen122 December 2004
First thing's first... the main reason I went to see this movie was because of Sean Bean... he's one of my all time favourite actors. I just made it a point that whether or not this movie was actually good, I would force myself to like it because he was in it. I actually genuinely enjoyed the movie. :) I though it was great. I walked out of there quite entertained. I wasn't really concerned with it's similarities to The DaVinci Code or whether or not some of the historical information was accurate... I just had a good time watching the story unravel on screen. The performances were pretty decent. Nicolas Cage, as usual, does a pretty good job with the lead role, Diane Kruger looks great and Justin Bartha was very likable... the guy has perfect comic timing. Sean Bean, of course, in my humble opinion, was brilliant as the greedy, deceitful villain. A great thing about him is that he never overplays his characters. He sets exactly the right tone needed for a specific situation.

This film was well worth 2 hours of my time. ****/*****
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for kids yes; for adults no
toddinvestor15 December 2004
Warning: Spoilers
"National Treasure" is a suspenseful, gripping, action packed, fast moving treasure hunt that holds your attention from beginning to end. That is, if you are ten years old. My ten year old nephew was leaning forward making the odd comment of awe throughout the film. I can say "National Treasure" is a fine family film for older children to enjoy with their parents. But from an adults point of view, much of this movie is plain silly. I won't provide spoilers, but within 15 minutes into "National Treasure" you will know what I mean. I agree with other viewers that this movie is an Indiana Jones wanna be. It is not "Raiders". Nicolas Cage, for whatever reason, provides a rather flat performance falling well short of Harrison Ford. The clues are also really far-reaching and formulaic. Connect the dots. Yet, "National Treasure" has redeeming value. It is family friendly, moves along at a brisk pace and has some excellent visuals. for kids: 8/10 for adults: 6/10
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Cage's best white-knuckled actioneer since "Con-Air"
zardoz-1318 March 2005
Warning: Spoilers
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-up go-getters. "National Treasure" ranks as Cage's best white-knuckled actioneer since "Con-Air." Anybody looking for ideal Thanksgiving Day fare will find few faults with the kid-friendly, PG-rated "National Treasure," unless you think about what you watch while you watch it. Sure, "National Treasure" is hopelessly unrealistic, overwhelmingly unconvincing, and predictable from start to finish, but the chemistry conjured up between cast members, especially Cage and leading lady Diane Kruger as well as Jon Voight as his quarrelsome father, make this tongue-in-cheek tale downright fun to watch. At times, "National Treasure" acts like a 1930's screwball comedy masquerading as a sophisticated heist caper. Best of all, director John Turteltaub of "Instinct" and "Phenomenon" keeps this 100-minute melodrama moving at a whiplash pace with hyperbolic heroics occurring in every other scene. Okay, its credibility strained to the breaking point, "National Treasure" huffs and puffs through its last quarter hour to deliver its inevitable happy ending, with a chance for a sequel.

Nicolas Cage plays good guy Benjamin Franklin Gates, a discredited historian as well as ex-Navy diver, who believes that America's Founding Fathers concealed a cache of loot amassed from other countries that constitutes our version of the Holy Grail. This high-concept premise would have been perfect for a Depression-era romantic comedy back in the 193Os. Anyway, Turteltaub and writers Jim Kouf of "Rush Hour" & "Operation Dumbo Drop" and Cormac & Marianne Wibberley of "I Spy," "The 6th Day," and "Bad Boys 2" lay out all the necessary exposition that audiences need to know in the first 15 minutes. Exposition is the information that the characters already know, but they have to discuss openly among themselves, so that audiences will understand what's happening. Once they've established their improbable premise, Turteltaub and company never look back. "National Treasure" barrels along like an old-fashioned Republic serial with its heroes and adversaries lunging intrepidly through one flaming hoop after another. As it turns out, our stalwart hero's crusade to uncover the hoard behind the Declaration of Independence has been something of an obsession to the Gates Clan. In the beginning, an adolescent Benjamin learns about the fabulous fortune from his grandfather (Christopher Plummer of "Dracula 2000") while his father Patrick (Jon Voight of "Ali") stands by and scoffs at the fable. Patrick Gates belittles the family quest as a pointless hunt that turns up nothing more than a trail of clues. Initially, the story takes Cage to the Arctic. Fellow treasure hunter Ian Howe (Sean Bean of "GoldenEye") and he discover an ancient ornate meerschaum pipe in a frozen-over, 19th century wooden sailing vessel. At this point, Howe double-crosses Gates and leaves our protagonist to perish in the icy, inhospitable wasteland. Naturally, our hero and his wise-cracking computer-whiz kid sidekick Riley Poole (Justin Bartha of "Gigli") escape death just by the hair of their chins. When our heroes learn that the Declaration of Independence contains a treasure map, Gates realizes that Howe, an unscrupulously wealthy Brit, will inevitably steal the document. (The anti-British sentiment in "National Treasure" may be the film's only lapse in political correctness.) Meanwhile, Riley and he alert the FBI and Washington conservator Dr. Abigail Chase (sexy Diane Kruger of "Troy"), but neither believe them anymore than anybody believed the old man when he cried 'wolf!' At this point, Gates decides to purloin the Declaration to protect it from Howe. The message here clearly is that the ends sometimes justify the means.

"National Treasure" ought to have been called "National Treasures." The adrenaline-laced action transpires at the National Archives, the Lincoln Memorial, Philadelphia's Independence Hall, New York's Wall Street Trinity Church, and the Old North Church in Boston. No sooner does our hero swipe the Declaration than he contends with not only the greedy Howe and his gun-toting minions, but also the National Archives conservator who refuses to let the document out of her sight. Gates, Chase, and Riley manage to stay one breathless step ahead of Howe's henchmen and the FBI headed up by Sadusky (Harvey Keitel of "Reservoir Dogs") until the last half of the movie when Howe gains the upper hand. Harvey Keitel appears to be channeling his Winston Wolfe character from "Pulp Fiction," with make-up designed to recall Johnny Depp from "Pirates of the Caribbean." Overall, Turteltaub confines violence to the absolute minimum, dispenses almost entirely with profanity, and shows nothing of an overtly sexual nature, typically the bread-and-butter of this type of pulse-pounding potboiler.

"National Treasure" doesn't hold up well to close scrutiny, but the characters are so charismatic and the storytelling so snappy that this popcorn thriller will have you cheering from the edge of your seat even though you know there's a happy ending in sight.
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My favorite movie of 2004
Moonhawk197510 April 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I loved this movie. It may be far-fetched, but the characters have such conviction in what they are doing and director Jon Turteltaub has filmed it in such an exciting fashion that it succeeds in being a fanciful entertainment and my favorite film of 2004.

Nicolas Cage stars as Ben Gates, the latest in a long line of treasure hunters, who believes in a mythical treasure hidden by the founders of our country. Despite everyone believing him to be a joke, he continues his quest for the gold and is even able to secure financial backing to do so. In the movie's least convincing sequence (I can only suspend disbelief so far), he finds a clue in a Revolution-era war ship—located in the middle of the Arctic! And only buried a few feet from the surface!! The screenplay explains that the ice sometimes pushes objects to the surface, but come on! That said, he discovers the map to the treasure is hidden on the back of the Declaration of Independence and his former financiers (led by Sean Bean) are out to steal it for themselves. This sets up the rest of the movie, full of action scenes that may not be original but are imaginative and well-executed. It's been a long while since a movie entertained me in such a way that I was not concerned about how long until it was over. I was actually disappointed to see this one end.

The acting is about what one would expect from a film of this kind. Cage is passable as the hero of the movie; he tends to reflect how good a movie is. He's good in good movies, fair in OK movies and horrible in bad movies. I liked his performance here; he lends a quiet shyness to the character that is entirely fitting. When he is thrust into action, he seems to do so only for the sake of preserving history. Bean makes for a perfect villain; deceptively friendly when he needs to be and perfectly menacing when the script demands it.

The action pieces are highly entertaining; I was surprised given that previously Turteltaub was better known for lightweight comedies or mid-level dramas. It looks as though he has found his calling. The stealing of the historic document that is the center of the movie is thrilling. But, the most fun sequences are the race to find a clue hidden in the buildings of Philadelphia that can only be found at a certain time of day due to the position of the sun; and the deep, hidden catacombs that hold the treasure.

The central mystery is purely fiction, but I am unsure of the facts that are used to propel the story. I imagine they are as well. The movie made me want to pop open a history book and find out.
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Full-blown adventures and emotion played by an excellent Nicolas Cage
ma-cortes20 June 2006
The picture focuses on Benjamin Franklin Gates(Nicolas Cage),he is descendant from a long line familiar(Christopher Plummer,Jon Voight) whose mission is to guard a hidden national treasure after of Independence War by Founders Fathers.The treasure is somewhere in the country and are left a clues its whereabout which led to the Declaration of Independence.Ben along with his friend(Justin Bertha)and helped by an archives clerk(Diane Kruger)will confront numerous adventures,dangers,risks and taking on an astute enemy(Sean Bean). But besides an Inspector(Harvey Keitel)is also to the hunting.

The film packs lots of action,suspense,tension,pursuits and is pretty entertained.It's a crossover of Indiana Jones adventures and intrigue and mystery Da Vinci Code.In the movie there are rip roaring,derring-do, daring escapes and especial effects galore, is a cinematic roller coaster extremely funny with numerous scenes have you on the edge of your seat.It's a run a mill action picture because from the beginning to the ending, the fast movement and the unstopped action are continuous.Exciting and moving final confrontation is truly stirring.Enjoyable and colorful cinematography by Caleb Deschanel(Passion Christ by Gibson).Lively and spectacular music by Trevor Ravin.Dazzling action set pieces are stunningly mounted by director Jon Turteltaub.Nowadays similar equipment(Cage and Turteltaub) are shooting the second part. Rating : Better than average.It's a must see for the adventures fans and is indispensable and essential watching.
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Propaganda film for the brainless
hmurphy20001 January 2005
Warning: Spoilers
After sitting through this pile of dung, my husband and I wondered whether it was actually the product of an experiment to see whether a computer program could produce a movie. It was that listless and formulaic. But the U.S. propaganda thrown in your face throughout the film proves--disappointingly--that it's the work of humans. Call me a conspiracy theorist, but quotes like, "We have to steal the Declaration of Independence to protect it" seem like ways to justify actions like the invasion of Iraq, etc. The fact that Nicholas Cage spews lines like, "I would never use the Declaration of Independence as a bargaining chip" with a straight face made me and my husband wonder whether the entire cast took Valium before shooting each scene. The "reasoning" behind each plot turn and new "clue" is truly ridiculous and impossible to follow. And there's also a bonus side plot of misogyny, with Dr. Whatever-Her-Name-Was being chided by all involved for "never shutting up." She's clearly in the movie only for looks, but they felt the need to slap a "Dr." title on her character to give her some gravity. At one point, Cage's character says, "Don't you ever shut up?" and the camera pans to her looking poutily down at her hands, like she's a child. Truly grotesque. The only benefit to this movie was that it's so astonishingly bad, you do get a few laughs out of it. The really scary thing is that a majority of the people watching the movie with us seemed to enjoy it. Creepy....
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