Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, February 17, 2011


NATIONAL TREASURE (2004). Director: Jon Turteltaub.

Benjamin Franklin Gates (Nicolas Cage) is convinced that the key to an ancient treasure can be found on the back of the Declaration of Independence -- even though his father (Jon Voight), who once believed, is now dubious -- and makes up his mind to "borrow" the document, especially when he learns that his former colleague, the evil Ian Howe (Sean Bean) has decided to do the same thing, with much less benevolent motives. Along for the ride are Abigail Chase (Diane Kruger), who works with Washington documents, and Gates' younger associate Riley (an appealing Justin Bartha). The action moves from Washington to catacombs under Manhattan, although perhaps not at a swift enough pace, although there are exciting moments and the treasure set is a beaut. One has to wonder why this Disney attempt at an Indiana Jones clone was such a hit at the box office, however.

Verdict: Okay but unexceptional on virtually all levels. **1/2.

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