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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 Scott Weinberg

"There's a big fat paycheck hidden under this awful script! Let's get it!"
2 stars

The finest adventure movies have an effortless feel; "The Adventures of Robin Hood," "Raiders of the Lost Ark," "The Princess Bride" and a handful of other classics flow flawlessly from kinetic adventure to kissing scene to plot stuff...and the audience never once thinks about looking at their collective watch. That's true movie magic. Something like "National Treasure" has the look and the approach of the classic adventure tale - but that's about it. Basically you get Nicolas Cage, a pretty blonde, and a mumbling comic-relief dolt running about in Washington D.C. and Philadelphia, casually whittling together a series of crazy clues until they unravel into one of the silliest and most eye-rollingly wacky concoctions of the year. Worst of all: it's just plain old boring.

Nicolas Cage and Jerry Bruckheimer have combined to give the world The Rock, Con Air and Gone in 60 Seconds. It doesn't take a math whiz to follow this formula. If their first effort was a surprisingly "rock" solid action flick, the second was a painfully mindless yet somehow fitfully entertaining big-screen comic book, and the third was a feature length automobile advertisement, then simple logic dictates that their fourth movie would be...well, pretty darn bad.

Sad to say that Nic and Jerry didn't beat those odds, as National Treasure is as formless and sloppy as only a project 5+ years under construction can be. It's product, through and through. The movie is equal parts forced banter, moronic plot device, omnipresent exposition and oh-so-familiar chase. Even the intended audience (12-year-old boys who watch Van Helsing twice a week) will be hard pressed to keep their eyelids propped open as National Treasure muddles through its monumentally familiar checklist of components.

The story is a whole lot of hilariously silly hoo-hah about a secret treasure map that's hidden on the back of the Declaration of Independence. So logically a disgraced historian (?) named Ben Franklin Gates (Cage) must pack up his ever-quippy sidekick and steal the historic document so he can get stinkin' rich. Er, I mean "protect the treasure" from evildoers. (It's this one character flaw that clearly illustrates how flimsy National Treasure really is; surely an audience could never root for a hero who wants a billion dollars for his very own, hence the outlandishly insipid concept of "treasure protectors". If Gates was actually a "protector" - he'd never even get off his sofa to dig the damn gold up. The movie would be 11 minutes long.)

Anyway, National Treasure is the end result of a concept that's been bouncing around Hollywood for many a moon. Screenwriters ranging from extremely talented (Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio) to extremely awful (Marianne & Cormac Wibberley) - and a few in between (Jim Kouf) have contributed to an overcooked melange that offers nothing but soft edges, monotonous "Get 'em!" sequences, and huge truckloads of illogic.

Director Jon Turteltaub delivers precisely what one would expect from the man responsible for Instinct, Phenomenon and Cool Runnings: safe, simplistic and stylistically inert film fodder meant only for the least discerning multiplex zombies.

(I'd mention that great actors Christopher Plummer, Jon Voight and Harvey Keitel are each on hand to deal with twelves lines of dialogue apiece, but their collective presence in the film might actually convince you to go see the thing. Resist that urge.)

To its credit, "National Treasure" does feature one pretty impressive chase scene, and several lovely looks at the gorgeous city of Philadelphia. It also features a rousing score by Trevor Rabin...albeit one that's rather incongruous to the movie it supports and is inserted ham-fistedly into even the quieter dialogue scenes. But when the best thing you can say about an allegedly "rollicking" adventure film is that "the music is pretty decent" - well, that's not exactly the highest praise imaginable.

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originally posted: 11/20/04 07:40:11
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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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