Somewhere deep under the Hollywood Hills, Jerry Bruckheimer has a giant blender. Into that blender Mr. Bruckheimer threw a copy of Raiders of the Last Ark, an American History text that was missing a few pages, a few giant snowcats, some bulletproof glass, a touch of poppy sarcasm, and just for good measure, Jon Voight, Sean Bean and Nick Cage.
Out of this mishy-mash came National Treasure.
The ingredients might not sound wonderful together, but the sum is surely greater than its parts, providing you the viewer are willing to check your cynicism at the door with the be-vested high school ticket taker.
The film, which follows one family’s quest for a hidden treasure (is there any other kind?) of mythic proportions (the only kind worth making a movie about), is a frolicsome, if innaccurate, romp through American history and will certainly entertain most audience members.
As the film opens, we find Benjamin Franklin Gates (Cage) and Ian Howe (Bean) rocketing across the Arctic ice fields in enormouse treaded vehicles in search of a lost ship called the Charlotte. Within the Charlotte lies the next clue to the mystery that is the National Treasure, a collection of antiquities and fineries built up from Solomon’s time, preserved by the Masonic founding fathers, and valued somewhere North of $10 billion.
As with most films about large sums of money, Deadly Sin #5 kicks in and everybody wants more of an impossibly large fortune, leading, of course, to tension, high-speed chases and historical intrigue.
The film, though far-fetched and formulaic at the same time, is well-executed and is well worth the matinee money you put up for it, particularly if you have kids whose interest in history you’d like to pique. And while it is certainly guilty of embellishing U.S. history, it does so with what I would almost call reverance, leading viewers to a desire to know more of our great country, and perhaps an opportunity to reflect upon the real importance of Her founding documents.
If you’re looking for a fun film that is kid safe and engaging throughout, and you are willing to overlook some historical and mathematical impossibilities, you will enjoy National Treasure. Just don’t expect to learn much.
7.7 / 10