National Treasure is a difficult movie to review. It treads on so many paths that it is difficult to emphatically categorize without making mistakes. It borrows elements from different kinds of movies that have done things better already, like the ever iconic Indiana Jones and other, more family friendly Disney action movies of the past decades. You cannot find anything to really despise in such a film, but that also means you can rarely find something to love.
National Treasure’s protagonist is Ben Gates, played by the ups-and-downs actor Nicholas Cage. Cage delivers a good performance, drawing obvious inspiration from Ford while giving the character his very own personal notes. Even though the scrip did not allow for much variation, Ben still portrays a wide array of emotions and quirks that make him a very enjoyable character even though his naivety and persistence border on the annoying sometimes. The rest of the crew delivers their performances in a more concrete manner, going along with the scrip that puts them into more or less stereotypical positions. Sean Bean is always wonderful to watch and his villain performance is very subtle yet quite real, something you rarely see in action movies nevertheless a Disney one.
The plot and movie locales are quite wonderful in National Treasure. There is much to enjoy here for people of all ages. Some of the things in the movie are quite obviously made to appeal to a broad audience of youngsters and older ones alike. The writers have made a substantial effort to incorporate real life elements into an enticing and at times complex theme. Anyone that has an interested in the history of the United States will find much to adore in this film. Iconic historical figures like Benjamin Franklin appear with a hidden agenda and a secret life while important, historical and public documents have secrets of their own. The protagonists blend well with the script and their performances make the secrets even more exciting. The film gives off a vibe of discovery and cleverness that will surely be enjoyed by most people. If you can find it in your heart to simply relax and delve into what could well be an alternate universe of history, you will love the way history and real life is treated.
In terms of pace and predictability, the film is still very much a Disney one. It moves at a very predictable phase and with a very predictable ending, but that does not mean it does not keep things interesting. The movie offers loads of twists and turns till the finale is reached, some of them admittedly expected while others were delivered in a more subtle and clever manner. Again, much of the twists rely on the historical connection between the film’s settings and objects and their real life counterparts.
Overall, I would say National Treasure is a fantastic way to spend an afternoon, especially if you choose to watch it with family. Sceptics will only have to relax and take the film for what it is: a Disney adventure which provides enough action and food for thought for anyone to enjoy if they would simply stop being cynical.
So at the end of this National Treasure review I would rate the movie as a solid 4 out 5. Look out for National Treasure 3 news and trailers here at Trailer Geek!