Perhaps the most telling moment in National Treasure is when Nic Cage and Diane Kruger share their first kiss. It gets one of the biggest
laughs in the movie... and it certainly isn't intentional.
It's interesting how; despite constantly working with new directors, Jerry Bruckheimer films almost always seem to be the same. National
Treasure is no different.
The story follows Benjamin Franklin Gates (Cage) as he hunts for a great wealth of treasure hidden by the founding fathers. This quest
eventually leads to stealing the Declaration of Independence, which contains a hidden map to the location of the treasure. Luckily, Gates
has the support of a computer nerd named Riley (Justin Bartha). Riley hacks security and also provides mostly lame comic relief (if it's lame
is it really relief?). They steal the Declaration without too much trouble.
There is also one very funny scene here when Gates finds himself in a gift shop after the theft. Ah, but it couldn't be that easy. They are
pursued by Gates' ex-cohort, Ian (Sean Bean), who also seeks the treasure... For evil purposes we assume.
Diane "Helen of Troy" Kruger gets dragged along when the scriptwriter realizes Cage should have a love interest. The chemistry between
Cage and Kruger is completely non-existent. There is nothing. In fact, Cage seems largely uninterested in this movie. Who can blame him…?
For maybe the first 75% of the movie, National Treasure is only occasionally entertaining and sporadically interesting. The last 25% might as
well have been shit smeared on celluloid. The movie becomes so ridiculously cliché that it could work, without any changes, as a spoof in
Team America (which ridiculed Bruckheimer mercilessly).
Director John Turtletaub doesn't help much. His eye for action scenes is a lazy one. To top it off we get a laughably overblown, cliché score
by Trevor Rabin. While Treasure is not without its moments, there are very few of them. The terrible ending destroys any chance of
salvaging this almost entirely forgettable film. Despite a slightly intriguing premise, National Treasure is just about worthless.
(out of four)
Directed by: Jon Turteltaub
Written by: Jim Kouf and Cormac Wibberley & Marianne
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Diane Kruger, Justin Bartha,
Sean Bean, Jon Voight, Harvey Keitel
Cinematography by: Caleb Deschanel
Music by: Trevor Rabin
Released: November 19, 2004; 131 Minutes