Benjamin Franklin Gates (Nicolas Cage) has spent his whole life searching for a treasure hidden by the founding fathers of the United States of America. A team of mercenaries learn about the treasure and Ben and his partner, Riley (Justin Bartha), must find the treasure first to keep it safe.
In school, history was my favorite subject. I enjoy history museums of any kind and learning all about the past. Now, my ability to retain the information is a whole other story… Anyway, being set in the modern age with historical events and people being intertwined into the plot, National Treasure is exactly my kind of movie.
The best thing about this movie that makes it work is the chemistry between the three leads. Nicolas Cage, Justin Bartha, and Diane Kruger are an absolute joy to watch together, whether it is all three together or any combination of two of them. You can tell they are having fun and it makes the movie better for it.
Nicolas Cage can be an eccentric actor, to say the least, and it can be hard to know which Cage you’re going to get. For every Kick-Ass there are several bombs like Rage. The Cage in this movie is on the mellower side. His signature overacting is there but he is not obnoxiously so like he can be.
Justin Bartha is fun as the comedic relief. He plays well with both Cage and Kruger, creating some of the funnier moments of the film. His character doesn’t have the historical knowledge as Gates or Abigail so information was given to the audience through them explaining the details to him.
Sean Bean’s Ian Howe teeters on the line of becoming cartoonishly villainous. He comes really close to a Saturday morning cartoon baddie but he somehow never actually goes over the line. It’s impressive really. I wouldn’t call him a great villain but he proves more than once he is up to the challenge of competing against Gates.
It isn’t difficult to draw similarities between National Treasure and the Indiana Jones films. This movie follows a similar structure as Raiders of the Lost Ark. Maybe that’s another reason why I like this so much. It is not a direct repeat of Raiders but you can feel Raiders’ influence.
Despite the seemingly many turns along the treasure hunt, the plot is fairly simple and uncomplicated. Gates and company are trying to find the treasure before a group of mercenaries does. Pretty straightforward. There are times when the journey might seem a little far fetched but it is still easy to follow.
As fun and exciting this film is, it does feel like it runs a little longer than necessary. It runs a slightly over two hours long. There is little reason for it to actually be that long. Several scenes could have been trimmed or one less clue included to drop the running time down even just a few minutes.
I thought National Treasure was GREAT :-D. Nicolas Cage, Justin Bartha and Diane Kruger work well together, making it enjoyable for everybody. The combination of American history and action-adventure with a sprinkle of a heist is a fun mix of several of my favorite things.
Also check out my review of National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets.
Ben: Now, I think that if we look at this clock tower, we may find the specific time.
Abigail: What do you see?
Abigail: What time is it now?
Clerk: Almost three.
Abigail: We missed it.
Riley: No we didn’t. We didn’t miss it because… uh… You don’t know this? I-I know something about history that you don’t know.
Ben: I’d be very excited to learn about it Riley.
Riley: Well, hold on one second, let me just… let me just take in this moment. This is… this is cool. Is this how you feel all to time? Because, you know… Except for now, of course.
Cast & Crew
Jon Turtletaub – Director
Jim Kouf – Screenplay / Story
Cormac Wibberley – Screenplay
Marianne Wibberley – Screenplay
Oren Aviv – Story
Charles Segars – Story
Trevor Rabin – Composer
Nicolas Cage – Benjamin Franklin Gates
Justin Bartha – Riley Poole
Diane Kruger – Abigail Chase
Sean Bean – Ian Howe
Jon Voight – Patrick Gates
Harvey Keitel – Sadusky
David Dayan Fisher – Shaw
Stewart Finlay-McLennan – Powell
Oleg Taktarov – Shippen
Stephen A. Pope – Phil
Christopher Plummer – John Adams gates
Hunter Gomez – Young Ben Gates
There is still plenty of time to join in the Christmas in July 2016 Blogathon. If you are interested in participating, go here for all the information.