An action packed thriller that will please not only adults but children too!

There have been movies in the past that have used the old “follow the clues and find the treasure” plot. Some of these movies, such as “The Goonies” and the entire “Indiana Jones” series are classics that people remember not only for their sheer brilliance, but for the booby traps that await the characters in the movie. “National Treasure” not only has plenty of booby traps for the main characters to deal with, but many riddles and many explosive action sequences that gives the audience a reason to watch the movie.

The main character of the movie, Benjamin Franklin Gates (Nicholas Cage), is part of a family clan that has sworn to protect a thousand year old secret that reveals the location of unimaginable treasures. The secret has been passed down from generation to generation, until it’s finally in the hands of Benjamin. Benjamin, along with his handy dandy digging crew, Riley and Ian (Sean Bean), search in the southern polar regions of Antarctica for a clue to the treasure.

You can tell right off the bat that Benjamin knows his history. Every five minutes, he is snapping out little bits of useless, but informative information about the past few centuries. So, with his widespread knowledge of history, he concludes that the clue for the treasure must be aboard an old 19th Century British sailing vessel called the Charlotte. And sure enough, he’s right. He finds the Charlotte, lodged twenty feet underwater, but far from broken.

Inside, he finds an interesting clue–a pipe that reveals YET ANOTHER clue. He puts his amazing logic skills to use and somehow concludes that there is an invisible map located on the back of the Declaration of Independence. Ian, the dirty, stinking villain he is, advises Benjamin to steal the Declaration of Independence. When Benjamin refuses, Ian blows the ship up, leaving Ben and Riley to fight for their lives.

After surviving the explosion and traveling back to the states, they now know that Ian and his cohorts are going to be trying to steal the Declaration of Independence. They try to explain this to a National Archives lady named Abigail Chase (Diane Kruger) but get nothing but a laugh and a shoo out the door. Seeing that there’s no other way to stop Ian, Benjamin decides that he must steal the Declaration of Independence to keep it safe from Ian. Afterwards, he’ll be able to find the final clue to finding the treasure.

Do Benjamin and Riley keep the Declaration of Independence from Ian’s greedy hands? And does Benjamin find the treasure that he’s been seeking all of his life? You’ll have to see for yourselves, because the remaining two hours of the film are filled with deceit, twists, action and laughter, all of the components for a perfect film.

Nicholas Cage, as usual, acts perfectly. He’s like the hero who knows all, the person who knows what the right thing to do is (even if it means going outside of the law). Sean Bean is excellent as the villain, using his British accent and his evil smile to lure us into the movie. Diane Kruger, now on fire after premiering in two movies this year (“Wicker Park” and “Troy”) also puts in a good job. Harvey Keitel, as the FBI agent who is tracking down Ian, does an exceptional job in this movie, although his character is a bit bland compared to his roles in “Reservoir Dogs” and “From Dusk Til Dawn.”

Jon Turtalaub, along with legend Jerry Bruckheimer, does an excellent job of making the movie as good as it is. The action is staged perfectly and the music makes us feel as if we’re back in the 19th Century. Everything about this movie is great.

Now, with “National Treasure” grossing millions upon millions at the box office, I think that it’s safe to say that it’ll be a classic “Use the map and find the treasure” movie, as “Indiana Jones” and “The Goonies” are today.



OVERALL GRADE – A


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