Directed by Jon Turteltaub. USA. 2004.

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This tells the story of Ben Gates (Nicholas Cage), a descendent in a long line of protectors of the Declaration of Independence who in order to protect it must steal it himself, and keep it away from those who want it to find a code that tells the secret location of a bigger treasure, naturally the bad guys are not American, but British and lead by the rent-a-bad-guy, Sean Bean.

Cage who for most of the film seems to be in limbo, does carry the film with more charm than brawn, and it need it.  So much back story, plot and history is condensed into the film that it needs a leading man who can perform as if he is in control, but at the same time be overawed at what he is having to do and that he must do it rather that have to.  

The film is a fore-runner for what the Ron Howard adaptation of the Da Vinci Code will look like but it does show what can be done with a tight script, decent cast and a good production crew behind you, as the Bruckheimer productions usually pride themselves on.  Whereas the Da Vinci Code benefits from a tighter plot and story with it being set all over just one night.  National Treasure suffers somewhat from the frequent location changes, the constant uping of the ante in the action stakes while still having to create good characters and not having a clear ending in sight, while never questioning the mentality of Gates as he gets closer to the treasure, he never once gets greedy.  Even Indy got a bit greedy at the sight of the treasure, fortune and glory kid.  

The chase scenes are dealt with effectively but when you have the discussion scenes the film stands still.  Diane Kruger is better here than she was in Troy.  But the hand of Bruckheimer is all too evident when a tighter script would have been nice and the Cage character out of Con-Air would have been better.

While not the greatest action-adventure ever, it does deserve you to separate yourself from the ticket price as some great entertainment.

Jamie Garwood
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