Have you read The Da Vinci Code? If so, then take that plot, spin it around until the whirling feeling leaves you woozy, and then transplant the story to America. Remove the logical progression of events from The Da Vinci Code and youve got National Treasure.
Nicolas Cage stars as Benjamin Franklin Gates, the latest offspring of a long line of wacko Gates men who believe the Freemasons and Americas founding fathers conspired to carry on a 1,000+ year old plan to conceal the worlds greatest collection of treasures. Believing no government should control the unimaginable wealth, the treasures whereabouts are so secret that only a couple of people on earth believe the thing even exists.
Among the few who believe in the treasure are Gates and his trusted sidekick/comic relief buddy, Riley (Justin Bartha), who join up with another firm believer, Ian Howe (Sean Bean). Howes a wealthy businessman who you just know is going to betray them the first chance he gets. That first chance comes early on in the movie when Howe and his minions leave Gates and his little buddy for dead. Now two separate groups with one common goal, the opposing forces figure out the next clue involves the original Declaration of Independence, and the race is on to see who can get their hands on the heavily-guarded document first.
The hunt for the treasure continues for two hours (in movie time), with Gates meeting and falling for Abigail Chase (Kruger), dodging bullets, keeping one step ahead of the FBI, and dragging his poor old dad (Jon Voight) into the mess.
Even though the plot is ludicrous, Nicolas Cage, Justin Bartha and Sean Bean manage to make National Treasure into a fairly amusing, leave-your-brain-at-the-door, outing. It may sound like I didnt enjoy the movie from my description of the film, but I really did have a good time watching Cage and his cohorts race around chasing clues.
Cage is engaging and pulls off the mix of action star and intellectual thinker, which leads me to believe he might be right for The Da Vinci Code if Tom Hanks falls out of the picture. It seems like National Treasure is almost a 2-hour long audition tape for the much-anticipated film adaptation of Dan Browns bestseller. We dont see enough of Sean Bean in National Treasure but, as usual, hes good at playing the bad guy. Barthas a pleasant surprise. Last seen with Ben Affleck and J-Lo in the really bad Gigli, Bartha shows he can actually act when given even decent material. The only disappointment as far as casting goes is Diane Kruger. The model-turned-actress is pleasing to look at but is horribly out of place playing one of the top bosses at the National Archives.
National Treasures one of those movies you have to be in the right mood to see. If you can get past Diane Krugers ever-changing accent, the twisted plot, and an intrusive musical score, then National Treasures a decent escapist sort of film. Just dont go in expecting to be wowed.
"National Treasure" is directed by Jon Turteltaub and is rated PG for action violence and some scary images.