National Treasure

National Treasure is a big cheesy historical blockbuster from Hollywood. A treasure hunter pursues the mythical booty of the Templars via a series of increasingly moronic and indecipherable clues. This is a ball-busting high octane wank-fest from Bruckheimer and his demented and talentless associates.

The basic premise is that the Templars had a huge pile of treasure (even though they didn´t) and that they moved it to the good ole US of A (even though they didn´t) and then for no apparent reason the founding fathers decided to bury it and put a bunch of the most ridiculous clues you´ve ever heard of in ridiculous places so that people could find it even though they didn´t want anyone to find it. The idea being that they realised in their infinite wisdom that this much wealth is too much for any one man, he'd be too powerful (see George Bush).

The old bottle of water trick eh?

Nicholas Cage is a weak Indiana Jones rip off, part historian, part action hero called Ben Gates. His family has been trying to find the treasure for years and as the film kicks off he finds funding with the obviously evil Ian Howe (Sean Bean in Bond baddie mode). The party follow a series of inane clues and the baddie repeatedly tries to kill Ben before realising he needs him in order to find the treasure. This recurring powerplay encompasses all the usual family kidnappings and blackmailing nonsense.

Ben gets progressively closer to the treasure with the baddie hot on his heels and of course picks up a love interest along the way. The connections he makes in solving the clues are obviously unrelated and the ideas in the script are nothing short of total lunacy. Every scene is thoroughly predictable paint by numbers stuff and Ben always finds the escape hatch (literally in one scene) just when all hope is lost.

The direction from John Turteltaub is dull and ineffective as you may expect from someone with his less than illustrious track record. The writing is mind bendingly awful and completely nonsensical as you may expect from the trio of talentless hacks responsible for the screenplay - Jim Kouf and Cormac and Marianne Wibberley. Two of the producers are also credited with the story writing which explains a lot. Need I also remind you that this is a Jerry Bruckheimer film, the man for whom life is just one long explosion sequence?

Any attention to actual historical fact is unwelcome here, historical artefacts are merely clues to be solved and then preferably blown up in a huge explosion sequence. To say there is not a shred of fact in any of the ideas here is an understatement as we discover all about the Antarctic boat, the secret invisible map on the back of the US Constitution and a series of irritating cryptic crossword type poems.

Head baddie and assorted henchmen

There are actually some good actors here but everyone is woefully miscast. The cynical attempt to recreate the camaraderie shared by Indiana Jones and his father with Benjamin Franklin Gates (that´s his full name, seriously) played by Nicholas Cage and his professor type father played by John Voight fails miserably. Diane Kruger plays the love interest Abigail, Harvey Keitel makes a brief and unnecessary appearance and as mentioned Sean Bean is the baddie. All of them are made to look like greedy idiots for agreeing to do this pile of shiny brain-dead mush.

The quality of the rest of the production doesn´t even matter when you consider the idiotic premise of the story. The plot and characters are so unbelievable that you´ll need a wheelbarrow full of drugs and booze to suspend your disbelief. Bruckheimer is on a mission to make films which slowly corrode your brain and he´ll only be satisfied when the rest of the world plummets to his intelligence level. It´s like he read the Da Vinci Code on holiday and thought "I should rip this off but I need to add some big stars and explosions".

National Treasure drags on for over two hours. This is a derivative, soulless piece of pure Hollywood drivel with no creative spark or originality whatsoever. Don't waste your time.


Reviewed by Simon Hill

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