Saturday, December 11, 2004


'National Treasure' - Treasure hunting movie with Nicolas Cage

By Ryan McGinnis
December 9, 2004


American history, Disney style, with 'National Treasure'
With a great story line, Disney is back on top in the box office with "National Treasure." It's one of the better movies recently coming from Disney that isn't animated--the best since "Pirates of the Caribbean."

The story starts in 1976, when a young Benjamin Franklin Gates is told the story of a great treasure, sought after for centuries.

The movie flashes forward to present day. Gates (Nicholas Cage) is on an expedition with Ian Howe (Sean Bean), looking for a fabled shipwreck--which holds a clue to find the treasure.

When they discover that the map to find the treasure is on the back of the Declaration of Independence, the two men begin a deadly rivalry--one trying to steal the document, the other, Gates, trying to save it.

As Gates races to protect what he calls "the most important document in the world," he faces danger from Howe and disbelief from the outside world.

The overall plot of "National Treasure" presents a typical Disney good vs. evil premise, with a slew of big-name actors--Cage, Bean, Jon Voight and, for "Pulp Fiction" fans, a small part played by "The Wolf" himself, Harvey Keitel.

Sadly, Disney's writing department falls short. Character development is a flaw here.

Cage's character seems ultimately too perfect--he knows seemingly every detail of American history, and is a former Navy SEAL as well.

It's as if they were trying to make the next generation of superheroes both physically strong and history majors.

Still, if viewers can distance themselves from the poor characterization, "National Treasure" is an entertaining movie. It compiles the traditional treasure-hunting story and American history.

In the mood for an easy-to-follow movie that has frequent action-suspense scenes and keeps you guessing about the treasure? "National Treasure" is for you.

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