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original title: National Treasure
duration: 2h 11min
tags: The greatest adventure history has ever revealed.
keywords: treasure, declarationofindependence, treasurehunter, treasurehunt, secretsociety, secretpassage, invisibleink, blonde, cleavage, noopeningcredits, blondie, blondewoman, blueeyedblonde, thinwoman, slen
I loved the movie yet agree that neither hero nor villain had very much characterization. The real "characters" were Jon Voight as Cage's dad and Riley as the sidekick.
Both of them worked very well to provide emotional balance. As did one of the villain's sidekicks who exclaimed, after watching Cage kiss the babe while in dire danger : "Why doesn't that ever happen to me?" Made the evil guys seem more real too.
Also, both Cage and Sean Bean are so good to watch that we somehow believed they had character even tho the script didn't include much. I felt Ben was never in any real danger. There was no real or else factor or any type of consequence if he Didn't find the treasure. Sure he would've proved his father right, been a miserable disappointment, but thats not really strong enough of a consequence, and going to prison was just silly.
I compare this to Goonies because that film is also a treasure hunt and has a better emotional consequence I think. The kids set out to find the pirate ship treasure, if they fail the consequence is that their parents will loose their houses to some corporate monster, thus shattering the kids childhoods.
I really enjoyed this movie and while I enjoyed it, I felt easy : They plan and execute a robbery that should be difficult, but they pull it off in two days? Not enough conflict or risk in the heist (understandable, they didn't have scads of time, but... eh...) The ticking clock was there, but the stakes didn't seem very high, even when they were - I never believed the danger. I couldn't get wrapped up in it (part of it, I'm sure, was two teenage idiots behind me talking through the whole thing, just begging for someone to say something so they could blow up on that person).
Finally, with all the dust and spider webs down there, when the flame raced through the channels, I expected an explosion and a mess of melted gold, or at least charred documents from Alexander's library.....
7.5/10 Now let's see....get a great cast of actors together, throw them into a treasure hunt scenario and you'd think you were on to a winner.
But somehow NT fails to deliver. There are some good acting moments, great effects and sets. But the story gets bogged down with excessive and pointless exposition of American history. Likewise, after the first half hour the "hunt" drags on from one clue to another interminably. I actually struggled to stay awake during this section of the movie and had to be prodded to stop me from snoring on more than one occasion.
The film would seem better suited to getting kids interested in history than in being an action movie. Not that it is bad. Just that it doesn't really grab you and make you sit up and watch.
It's a shame really. Would have been nice to see a successor to the Indiana Jones movies emerge. But this ain't so much Indiana Jones as Indiana Yawns. Overall the film is alluringly over-the-top without being overcooked. When Ben Gates (Nicolas Cage) was a young boy, his grandpa, John Adams Gates (Christopher Plummer), told him how, in 1832, Charles Carroll, the last surviving signer of the United States Declaration of Independence, entrusted his stable boy, Ben's great great grandfather Thomas Gates, with the first in a series of clues that supposedly led to a vast treasure amassed by the Knights Templar. Although Ben's own father, Patrick Gates (Jon Voight), does not believe in the legend, Ben swore to take upon himself the duty of the Knights Templar, the Freemasons and the family Gates, and has spent his entire life trying to figure out the meaning of the clue: The secret lies with Charlotte. Finally, as an adult, Ben has found Charlotte and begins on his quest for the treasure. National Treasure is a Disney Production that was co-written by numerous screenwriters, including Jim Kouf, Marianne and Cormac Wibberley, Oren Aviv, Charles Segars, Ted Elliott, and Terry Rossio. A sequel, National Treasure: Book of Secrets (2007), followed in 2007. National Treasure 3 is currently in development with no release date known. The signers of the Declaration of Independence, some of whom were also members of the Freemasons, a reformation of the Knights Templar, hid the treasure during the American Revolution [1775-1783] to keep the British from getting their hands on it. Charlotte turns out to be The Charlotte, a sunken vessel in the Arctic Circle. Inside The Charlotte, Ben finds a meerschaum pipe bearing the second clue: The legend writ, the stain effected, the key in Silence undetected. Fifty-five in iron pen, Mr. Matlack can't offend. Ben deciphers the second clue to mean that the 55 signers of the Declaration of Independence hid the message invisibly on the back of the document. Ben must now inspect the Declaration, one of the most important historical documents in the United States. At the same time, Ben's ex-colleague, Ian Howe (Sean Bean), has decided to steal the document and find the treasure for himself. Part of the experience in watching this movie is to try for oneself to decipher the clues and guess where they might lead, so posting that information would be a disservice. Suffice to say that the third clue presents an Ottendorf cipher that, translated, reads: The vision to see the treasured past comes as the timely shadow crosses in front of the house of Pass and Stow. The fourth clue is a pair of 3D spectacles. The fifth clue reads: Heere at the wall. The sixth clue revealed is Beneath Parkington Lane. Those schooled in American history might be able to figure out the clues for themselves. An Ottendorf cipher consists of three codes, i.e., 2-4-6, that corresponds to a random book or newspaper article. The first number corresponds to the page, the second number to the line on the page, and the third number to the letter/word in that line. Status quo refers to the way things are going at the present time, that is, the current status of things. If something changes, e.g., the power shifts, then the status quo also changes. After escaping from the treasure room, Ben contacts FBI agent Peter Sadusky (Harvey Keitel) to return the Declaration. As they are attempting to work out a compromise, Ben sees from Sadusky's ring that he is a Freemason. They agree to give the treasure to "the people" in return for Abigail having no repercussions on her record, Riley being credited for the find, and Ben not having to go to prison. "Someone has to go to prison," Sadusky says, so Ben leads them to Boston where Ian is attempting to break into the Old North Church. Ian is arrested on charges of kidnapping, attempted murder, and trespassing on government property. In the final scene, Ben, Abigail, and Riley stroll in the garden of their estate purchased with the finders fee that they received after turning over the Declaration and the treasure. Some movies that also involve jumping through various hoops to find a valuable treasure include (1) The Maltese Falcon (1941) (1941), in which a detective searches for a priceless statue, (2) The First Great Train Robbery (1978) (1979), in which master criminals attempt to steal a gold shipment from a moving train, (3) Entrapment (1999) (1999), in which two thieves plot to steal 8 billion dollars at the stroke of the transition from 1999 to 2000, (4) The Da Vinci Code (2006) (2006), in which a symbologist Robert Langdon tries to unravel a chain of cryptic codes that could change the face of religious history, (5) Angels & Demons (2009) (2009), in which Langdon follows a series of clues to find a destructive weapon that could level the Vatican, and (6) Inferno (2016) (2016), in which Langdon is drawn by a trail of clues linked to Dante Alighieri [1265-1321]. Also of note are any of the Indiana Jones movies, i.e., Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) (1981), Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) (1984), Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) (1989), and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008) (2008), all of which center around Indy's search for various ancient artifacts.
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