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Overall Rating

Awesome: 19.84%
Worth A Look: 20.63%
Average: 23.02%
Pretty Bad23.81%
Total Crap: 12.7%

9 reviews, 72 user ratings

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National Treasure
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by EricDSnider

"Another entry in the genre of Big, Dumb Movies"
3 stars

Despite its obvious desire to be a Generic Summer Blockbuster, "National Treasure" has only one huge explosion, a single brief car chase, and just a smattering of gunfire. This restraint goes a long way, actually; the film isn't as loud or annoying as most of its bombastic blockbuster brethren. It's not any smarter than those movies, either, though, and releasing it in November instead of July does nothing to convince me otherwise. It's fun and occasionally amusing and it didn't give me a headache. That's not the sort of endorsement that gets you quoted in the ads, but it's the best I can muster.

If you have read "The Da Vinci Code," you already know the basic plot of "National Treasure." The series of hidden clues and secret-society skulduggery has been confined specifically to America rather than all over Europe, but the premise is the same: Indiana Jones-ish historians and treasure-hunters go in search of a legendary mass of wealth (not the Holy Grail, but a big pile of gold and artifacts), led by clues that the Founding Fathers hid in plain sight in such locations as the Declaration of Independence.

Nicolas Cage, doing his mildly insane shtick that entertained us in such large, dumb movies as "Con Air," "Face/Off" and "The Rock," plays Benjamin Franklin Gates, a man whose life-long passion has been tracking down some treasure that supposedly changed hands constantly before finally being secreted somewhere by colonial Americans. The Masons are involved, and the Knights Templar, and of course Thomas Jefferson and his fellow Declaration-signers.

Ben comes to believe that there is a map hidden on the back of the Declaration of Independence, a belief that is met with great skepticism by National Archives director Abigail Chase (Diane Kruger), who has actually SEEN the back of the Declaration and knows there's no map on it. Ah, but it might have been written invisible ink, Ben says. Abigail is unmoved.

The problem is that Ben isn't the only one privy to this information. His former associate Ian Howe (Sean Bean), who we knew right away would turn out to be a bad guy because he has a British accent, wants the treasure map, too, and unlike Ben, he doesn't care if he has to destroy the Declaration to get it. (Lousy Brits never really took that document seriously in the first place, you know.) Ian plans to steal it from the National Archives, but since everyone thinks that's impossible, no one cares when Ben warns them. Ben's plan? To steal it first, thus protecting the document from Ian and also giving himself a chance to look for the invisible map on the back of it.

If "The Da Vinci Code" is the best book you've ever read, then I suppose "National Treasure" will be your favorite movie, too. They both feature highly complicated, rather clever plots, woven into a story brimming with stupid dialogue. "National Treasure," directed with zealous energy by Jon Turteltaub ("Phenomenon," "Cool Runnings"), is very smart at its core, even a little educational -- do you know the name of the last surviving signer of the Declaration of Independence, or how Manhattan's central thoroughfare came to be called "Broadway"? -- but it wears the clothes of an absurd Jerry Bruckheimer production.

Perhaps there is some acknowledgment that the basic premise of hidden clues pointing to an unimaginable cache of treasure is pure fantasy, and that no matter how much real history it's couched in, it's still going to be a little silly when you think about it. Which is why the movie encourages you, and I also encourage you, not to think about it. Cage is fun, and Justin Bartha gets off a few good one-liners as his wise-cracking, history-ignorant partner. There is a startling lack of imagination in places -- Ben's obligatory romance with Abigail, the fact that here is perhaps the one-millionth British character in a movie to be named "Ian" -- but don't focus on that. Focus on the fast-paced, appealingly goofy narrative, and dream about what YOU would do with all that treasure.

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originally posted: 11/24/04 17:56:43
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User Comments

3/31/11 TG It might be silly and plotholed, but it's genuinely fun and extremely rewatchable. 5 stars
2/20/11 Ark FINALLY! Someone else hates this turkey as much as me! 1 stars
12/26/09 Jeff Wilder Not bad popcorn entertainment. 3 stars
11/02/09 Greg needed patriotism from anti-american hollywood 5 stars
10/08/08 Shaun Wallner Awesome story! 5 stars
2/13/08 Irisea I just have to say that i really love this movie!! 5 stars
12/24/07 Matt wow..... I blame the da vinci code for this load. I want the last two hours of my life back 1 stars
11/24/07 Thomas Semesky Watchable but rather silly. You have to suspend all reasoning. 3 stars
9/19/07 j-bird it was really good 4 stars
6/04/07 Stuck In Left Yeah flawed but watchable/enjoyable enough 3 stars
5/28/07 Whitely My favorite Movie Ever! You have to watch it! 5 stars
4/15/07 R.W.Welch Too contrived to have much impact. Average acting. 3 stars
3/27/07 kathy underheart childress strokes his cock again and thinks he's the funniest man in the world 5 stars
2/16/07 Vip Ebriega Rollicking, cheer-the-heroes adventure. 4 stars
2/01/07 Pam Fantastic! 5 stars
12/26/06 Parker H. Smock National Treasure is a government input to Hollywood fantasy wake movie about 9/11 5 stars
9/04/06 Jarkko Perälä Really, really boring 2 stars
9/02/06 the producer it made over 500 million doallrs 4 stars
6/16/06 Michele fun and clever 4 stars
5/22/06 Diane P this was very entertaining and really enjoyable 4 stars
3/28/06 Brian Meyer It's American History 101 made... AWESOME!!! 5 stars
3/09/06 Dk Patchy as hell but damned good fun to 3 stars
2/11/06 Anthony This is Indiana Jones with Nicholas Cage 3 stars
1/07/06 Michael Silly story ... good movie 4 stars
12/19/05 Quigley this was a great caper movie. good action and acting, but plot was kinda empty-headed 5 stars
12/15/05 none of your bissnes good 3 stars
12/08/05 millersxing Exploring secret societies often makes for serpentine yet silly plots. 2 stars
10/26/05 Frank Rountree Good story. Pace moves well 4 stars
10/12/05 Jennifer Free A lot of fun and clean. Great family film! 5 stars
10/04/05 Aldo not bad...much than sahara..but not as good as indiana Jones 4 stars
9/13/05 i wont tell you very boring movie 1 stars
8/17/05 Dan Not bad... it's better than 80% of the crap Hollywood released last year 4 stars
7/16/05 tony Not a bad film. in fact, i liked it. 4 stars
6/15/05 JFK damn patriotism!!!! USA sucks and this movie tries to make the ancestors good people. 2 stars
6/07/05 Helen Bradley Not worth a look boring 1 stars
6/06/05 Daniel Myers This movie is really cool! I love it! If you dont like it you dont get it! 5 stars
6/01/05 Jiz Kinda boring, weak plot. "I have connections" = "I figured you out in a scene they deleted" 3 stars
5/27/05 Quigley whoever doesn't like this film is a dope. greatly entertaining, but suspend disbelief 5 stars
5/13/05 edsandiego2 I love the DVD and the special feature. 4 stars
5/08/05 Valerie Cool movie. 4 stars
5/05/05 Dan Pretty good! 5 stars
5/01/05 Steve Newman easy film - no brain ache - I enjoyed it (on a 757 from USA) 4 stars
4/29/05 Nobody This is an awesome action/adventure, the Da Vinci code meets Indiana Jones 5 stars
4/24/05 allnight9 Looking from a family stand point this is a great movie to take the kids to 4 stars
4/17/05 iteachpc Loved it! 5 stars
2/02/05 Charlie Only okay because Nic was in it! 3 stars
1/28/05 Flicker I thought this movie was a good way to spend a cold afternoon at the theater. Liked it!! 4 stars
1/27/05 Sumie It a good movie, it makes you think, watch it! 5 stars
1/18/05 Dave M Not high art, but entertaining; appreciate it's something you can take a family to see 4 stars
1/10/05 Brett Mindless fun, a little predictable, but good 4 stars
1/09/05 burton miller unbelievable, clunky, dumb 1 stars
12/17/04 Jenny from Da block This movie kicks ass! 5 stars
12/16/04 Ranting Madman Stupid beyond measure. Another Schlockheimer triumph. 1 stars
12/13/04 Ron Dumlao not a must-see film, but i nonetheless had fun 3 stars
12/13/04 bobby da squid Awkward dialogue, absurd plot, intrusive music. Not horrible, but very mediocre 2 stars
12/10/04 Aboud A Da Vinci Code wannabe. The 'clues' arent as clever as they could have been. 2 stars
12/10/04 willliam pond excellent; you critics are certainly of of touch with main stream movie watchers 4 stars
12/04/04 Lord Jiggy Low expectations were rewarded with fun, if derivative, romp. 4 stars
12/02/04 gray BS storyline 1 stars
12/01/04 RogueJS Interesting, but too Disney-ized. It could have been dark & thought-provoking, i.e. better 3 stars
11/27/04 Destiny Pifer This was a awesome adventure movie! 5 stars
11/26/04 Vicky The purpose of films is to be entertaiining, and this one was. Great 5 stars
11/25/04 Megan National Treasure is a really cool movie cause I luv history espesially egypt & ben frank 5 stars
11/24/04 KingNeutron Sean Bean 0wnz0red this movie. And the 3D stuff *was* pretty cool. 4 stars
11/24/04 John Very interesting; very informative 5 stars
11/23/04 linda It's fun 5 stars
11/22/04 Bell Girl What a waste of money. More brainless dribble from Hollywood. Yipppeee 2 stars
11/21/04 Heath If you're looking for something fun, then a treasure you'll find in this movie. 5 stars
11/21/04 Meryl I'm a history major, and therefore found it quite a fun romp. 5 stars
11/21/04 Kristina Williams Nicolas Cage is no longer relevant 1 stars
11/20/04 impartial judgement nicolas cage needs to retire w/his underage wife 1 stars
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  19-Nov-2004 (PG)
  DVD: 03-May-2005



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