National Treasure (2004)

DailyView: Day 67, Movie 113

Happy Fourth of July!

The DailyView is on the path for a star-spangled day today. I am looking at those all-American movies dealing with our country’s history or pride. First up is the Nic Cage action film, National Treasure.

Ben Gates (Nic Cage) is a historian whose family has been searching for a treasure that is at the heart of a conspiracy theory passed down throughout his family for generations. The legend included stories involving the Founding Fathers and secret societies. It has consumed much of Gates’s life searching for the treasure. When he found a certain clue, it led him to the belief that the secret of finding the treasure was to be found in invisible ink on the back of the Declaration of Independence.

National Treasure asks a lot of the viewing audience. It wants you be accept some really unrealistic situations and set ups. You have to be able to accept the irrational and improbable or else this entire movie falls apart under the weigh of the premise.

However, if you are able to look past the impossible, National Treasure provides a ton of fun and excitement. Yes, it may be a poor man’s Indiana Jones, but imitation, they say, is the sincerest form of flattery.

Of course, one of the biggest absurdities is what the Declaration of Independence goes through during the movie. To think that a document that old would be sturdy enough to take the beating that it does is difficult to look past.

As I said, National Treasure asks for its audience to look past the flaws in the plot and to focus in on the rollicking good time that it provides. And it is a good time. It may be a touch long, but it shows how important intelligence is in the world. It is not just about dumb action set pieces. It is about history and how important it is to know about the history of our country.

Nicolas Cage is great with this kind of role. He is willing to play over-the-top characters and he is very believable as a modern day treasure hunter. His sidekick, Riley (Justin Bartha) is given all of the best lines and knocks them out of the park. Jon Voight plays Ben’s father, whose life led him to disbelieve in the existence of the treasure. Sean Bean is here playing the “Belloq” (the character in opposition to Indy in Raiders of the Lost Ark) role and he does a decent job, although I do not ever really feel as if he is a match for our heroes, even when it appears that he is in control.

You can’t nitpick this film because you will be doing it all day. If you want to have a good time, shut off your brain and let the action in.

This is the smartest dumb movie you’ll ever see.

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