To Dan Brown fans, National Treasure is familiar territory. And it is a trifle disappointing. To others, the movie is a journey down a path hitherto unknown. And, it is a trifle disappointing.
The film is about a great treasure, so huge that it can belong to no one man. To lend it some degree of legitimacy, or so it seems, the movie meanders into legends of The Knights Templar, The Temple of Solomon, The Masons, The Free Masons, The Illuminati, The Crusades and other such mytho-historical gobbledygook.
Benjamin Franklin Gates (Nicolas Cage), third generation treasure hunter and sole upholder of the conspiracy theory, finds an able ally in Riley Poole (Justin Bartha) to go hunting for treasure that only those either completely out of whack or with a flat out backing of a billion-dollar production house would look for. Enroute, they conveniently make enemies with Ian Howe (Sean Bean - Boromir of The Lord Of The Rings
trilogy), a Brit looking for the treasure purely for its monetary appeal, and friends with the lovely Dr. Abigail Chase (Diane Kruger - Helen of Troy
In a heist only more unbelievable than the reason for it, Gates and Poole pinch the American Declaration Of Independence with help from gadgets we were first introduced to in Oceans Eleven
. Basically, they are gizmos that can be fitted anywhere onto anything as long as they relay their feed to a laptop manufactured by a company that has put money into the movie.
Deciphering clues engraved behind the most important document in American history, the chase runs all over the country - Washington DC, Philadelphia, Utah and New York. The trio must pit their wits against the evil Brit and the FBI, before a rather anti-climactic finale five stories beneath Trinity Church on Wall Street brings the movie to an end.
This is a Jerry Bruckheimer
production. So production-wise the movie is top of the line. Jon Turtletaub's direction could have been a little more taut, though. Nicolas Cage and Sean Bean do what we have come to expect of them, while Diane Kruger brings in the much needed romantic angle, and Justin Bartha the mandatory-side-kick-of-the-hero angle. Where the film is lackadaisical is in the department of screenplay. It does nothing to lend any sort of credibility to the premise of the movie. Also, Europe would have been a much more appropriate location for filming it.
That said, the movie is entertaining as long as you are willing to be entertained by it. Just don't read too much into anything, and you would do just fine.