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Overall Rating

Awesome: 19.84%
Worth A Look: 20.63%
Just Average: 23.02%
Pretty Crappy23.81%
Sucks: 12.7%

9 reviews, 72 user ratings

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National Treasure
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by Jason Whyte

"I'm Nicolas Caaaaage! I'm gonna get the Treasure, baby!"
1 stars

Hey, wait just a second. There’s a treasure map on the back of the Declaration of Independence? Sure, silly movies are being made all the time, and producer Jerry Bruckheimer has made many entries onto my Worst of the Year list because of it, this was just too silly off an idea to blow millions of dollars on. Who thought this would be a interesting idea for an action film? I guess as this film makes money we’ll see the Bruckheimer Empire finance next a buried treasure tale underneath Yankee Stadium or at the head of George Washington at Mount Rushmore…

“National Treasure” is just another silly idea that tries to pass itself off as smart. Apparently hundreds of years ago, a group of explorers hid treasure and have protected it by clues that were printed on a protected document. Ben Gates is a descendant of a family of historians and has spent much of his life searching for clues that will lead to the location of this treasure. His dad (Jon Voight) doesn’t believe his grandfather (Christopher Plummer) who told Ben the treasure stories while he was a kid. But as we first meet him as an adult (played by Nicolas Cage), it only looks like he’s been searching for a few days. He arrives at the Arctic Circle with an expedition team with the word “Charlotte” as a clue, and merely digs a few feet after using a metal detector and finds a bell with the word “Charlotte” on it. How convenient. (How this crew is financed is never explained, but I could ask the Teamsters Union.)

It is discovered after finding another clue that in fact the next clue is on the back of the Declaration of Independence. The way that this is realized is in a howler of a scene where Ben Gates puzzles his own head with dialogue that is so filled with techno-babble that I’m sure the behind-the-scenes feature on the DVD will feature Nicolas Cage reading from cue cards. As soon as he realizes it, another crewman on his team (Sean Bean) takes the clue and strands Ben and his assistant Riley (Justin Bartha) so they can track the treasure themselves. This of course leads to an explosion sequence, because, you know, explosions are cool.

Ben and Riley get out, of course, and their journey leads them to Washington DC and to the FBI. Just in case you didn’t read the “J. Edgar Hoover” moniker on the building front, there’s actually a title card reading “J. Edgar Hoover FBI Building”, so y’all can learn a lesson and stuff. And then a title card introduces us to the National Archives (also at the same time as the “National Archives” building front) where Ben and Riley meet up with the pretty Dr. Abigail Chase. Because, you know, they’re always pretty. Here’s character development: Dr. Chase has a German accent. This gives Ben an in to casually flirt. She’s from Germany. Get it? Just in case you don’t, she fires off a throwaway line: “I’m American. I just wasn’t born here, that’s all.”

At first, Dr. Chase isn’t convinced by their evidence (“Did Bigfoot take it?” she quips, as I roll my eyes.) and Ben decides to steal the declaration himself. There’s a whole Bruckheimer-themed editing montage where Riley explains how protected the document is, but all it takes is a few video cross-overs and some fingerprint stealing. I viewed the “Ocean’s 11” remake with George Clooney recently, and I can assure you that the casino vault was LESS protected and it looked a lot harder to break into than the few easy sneaks that Ben and Riley pull here. And even after all of this, Dr. Chase joins the Ben/Riley team on the quest to find out about the treasure.

The film plods along from chases to exposition, over and over again, to the point where we’re not left reeling but just bored by all of the chases. Clues lead to other clues and there are a few crosses and deceptions that we see coming from a mile away. (Even Ben’s father is used as bait, but he’s just there so he can be proven wrong by his not believing Ben earlier.) Director Jon Turteltaub directs at a pretty lax speed with Trevor Rabin’s busy music score trying to bring the energy up. It doesn’t do much but pad the running time out with running, talking about clues, and more running around. Add to that there’s character development in the movie that is just odd. Since the hero always gets the girl, Ben simply pulls Dr. Chase in for a kiss for no reason at all, and their romance is not even brought up until the final scene.

The performances are dead on arrival. Cage, who has been impressive even in the occasional garbage Hollywood film (“Face/Off” comes to mind) is mostly sedate. We’re waiting for a moment where he pulls a big wacky grin at the stupidity of it all, but it never comes. Diane Krueger is pretty and I’m sure a good sport on the set but absolutely boring as the archivist/love interest. Sean Bean’s performance looks edited in from another dropped action film. And Justin Bartha’s performance, which consists mainly of quacking one-liners whenever there’s dead air, would be more notable if we already didn’t see it every week as Seth Cohen on “The O.C.” Bartha seems like a likable actor who could do better, but he’s annoying and dull here, just like he was in “Gigli.”

It pains me to see that so many Hollywood films, let alone Jerry Bruckheimer films, can get away with stupidity so many times, and there’s still miles and miles of drones who will throw away their money on films like these. These films are not original, or inspired. They are simply clones of other films with a few changes here and there to satisfy the multiplex crowd who make this the number one film of the weekend. Seeing something as awful as “National Treasure” reminds one that there are better films out there. Start searching.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=11158&reviewer=350
originally posted: 11/22/04 13:04:30
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User Comments

3/30/11 TG It might be silly and plotholed, but it's genuinely fun and extremely rewatchable. 5 stars
2/19/11 Ark FINALLY! Someone else hates this turkey as much as me! 1 stars
12/25/09 Jeff Wilder Not bad popcorn entertainment. 3 stars
11/01/09 Greg needed patriotism from anti-american hollywood 5 stars
10/07/08 Shaun Wallner Awesome story! 5 stars
2/12/08 Irisea I just have to say that i really love this movie!! 5 stars
12/24/07 Matt wow..... I blame the da vinci code for this load. I want the last two hours of my life back 1 stars
11/23/07 Thomas Semesky Watchable but rather silly. You have to suspend all reasoning. 3 stars
9/18/07 j-bird it was really good 4 stars
6/03/07 Stuck In Left Yeah flawed but watchable/enjoyable enough 3 stars
5/27/07 Whitely My favorite Movie Ever! You have to watch it! 5 stars
4/14/07 R.W.Welch Too contrived to have much impact. Average acting. 3 stars
3/26/07 kathy underheart childress strokes his cock again and thinks he's the funniest man in the world 5 stars
2/16/07 Vip Ebriega Rollicking, cheer-the-heroes adventure. 4 stars
2/01/07 Pam Fantastic! 5 stars
12/26/06 Parker H. Smock National Treasure is a government input to Hollywood fantasy wake movie about 9/11 5 stars
9/04/06 Jarkko Perälä Really, really boring 2 stars
9/01/06 the producer it made over 500 million doallrs 4 stars
6/15/06 Michele fun and clever 4 stars
5/21/06 Diane P this was very entertaining and really enjoyable 4 stars
3/27/06 Brian Meyer It's American History 101 made... AWESOME!!! 5 stars
3/09/06 Dk Patchy as hell but damned good fun to 3 stars
2/10/06 Anthony This is Indiana Jones with Nicholas Cage 3 stars
1/06/06 Michael Silly story ... good movie 4 stars
12/19/05 Quigley this was a great caper movie. good action and acting, but plot was kinda empty-headed 5 stars
12/14/05 none of your bissnes good 3 stars
12/08/05 millersxing Exploring secret societies often makes for serpentine yet silly plots. 2 stars
10/25/05 Frank Rountree Good story. Pace moves well 4 stars
10/11/05 Jennifer Free A lot of fun and clean. Great family film! 5 stars
10/03/05 Aldo not bad...much than sahara..but not as good as indiana Jones 4 stars
9/12/05 i wont tell you very boring movie 1 stars
8/16/05 Dan Not bad... it's better than 80% of the crap Hollywood released last year 4 stars
7/15/05 tony Not a bad film. in fact, i liked it. 4 stars
6/14/05 JFK damn patriotism!!!! USA sucks and this movie tries to make the ancestors good people. 2 stars
6/07/05 Helen Bradley Not worth a look boring 1 stars
6/05/05 Daniel Myers This movie is really cool! I love it! If you dont like it you dont get it! 5 stars
5/31/05 Jiz Kinda boring, weak plot. "I have connections" = "I figured you out in a scene they deleted" 3 stars
5/27/05 Quigley whoever doesn't like this film is a dope. greatly entertaining, but suspend disbelief 5 stars
5/12/05 edsandiego2 I love the DVD and the special feature. 4 stars
5/07/05 Valerie Cool movie. 4 stars
5/04/05 Dan Pretty good! 5 stars
4/30/05 Steve Newman easy film - no brain ache - I enjoyed it (on a 757 from USA) 4 stars
4/29/05 Nobody This is an awesome action/adventure, the Da Vinci code meets Indiana Jones 5 stars
4/23/05 allnight9 Looking from a family stand point this is a great movie to take the kids to 4 stars
4/16/05 iteachpc Loved it! 5 stars
2/01/05 Charlie Only okay because Nic was in it! 3 stars
1/27/05 Flicker I thought this movie was a good way to spend a cold afternoon at the theater. Liked it!! 4 stars
1/26/05 Sumie It a good movie, it makes you think, watch it! 5 stars
1/17/05 Dave M Not high art, but entertaining; appreciate it's something you can take a family to see 4 stars
1/09/05 Brett Mindless fun, a little predictable, but good 4 stars
1/08/05 burton miller unbelievable, clunky, dumb 1 stars
12/16/04 Jenny from Da block This movie kicks ass! 5 stars
12/15/04 Ranting Madman Stupid beyond measure. Another Schlockheimer triumph. 1 stars
12/13/04 Ron Dumlao not a must-see film, but i nonetheless had fun 3 stars
12/12/04 bobby da squid Awkward dialogue, absurd plot, intrusive music. Not horrible, but very mediocre 2 stars
12/10/04 Aboud A Da Vinci Code wannabe. The 'clues' arent as clever as they could have been. 2 stars
12/09/04 willliam pond excellent; you critics are certainly of of touch with main stream movie watchers 4 stars
12/04/04 Lord Jiggy Low expectations were rewarded with fun, if derivative, romp. 4 stars
12/02/04 gray BS storyline 1 stars
11/30/04 RogueJS Interesting, but too Disney-ized. It could have been dark & thought-provoking, i.e. better 3 stars
11/26/04 Destiny Pifer This was a awesome adventure movie! 5 stars
11/25/04 Vicky The purpose of films is to be entertaiining, and this one was. Great 5 stars
11/24/04 Megan National Treasure is a really cool movie cause I luv history espesially egypt & ben frank 5 stars
11/24/04 KingNeutron Sean Bean 0wnz0red this movie. And the 3D stuff *was* pretty cool. 4 stars
11/23/04 John Very interesting; very informative 5 stars
11/22/04 linda It's fun 5 stars
11/21/04 Bell Girl What a waste of money. More brainless dribble from Hollywood. Yipppeee 2 stars
11/21/04 Heath If you're looking for something fun, then a treasure you'll find in this movie. 5 stars
11/20/04 Meryl I'm a history major, and therefore found it quite a fun romp. 5 stars
11/20/04 Kristina Williams Nicolas Cage is no longer relevant 1 stars
11/19/04 impartial judgement nicolas cage needs to retire w/his underage wife 1 stars
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  19-Nov-2004 (PG)
  DVD: 03-May-2005



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