National Treasure

National Treasure


Reviewed by: Gator MacReady

Remember the Robocop animated TV show? Remember how he would fire that MASSIVE gun of his only for there to be no blood or wound and two minutes later the bad guy was okay as Robocop arrested him? Ever feel cheated? Just because you're a kid doesn't mean you're a moron. Well, National Treasure is that kind of movie. It is so tame and neutered, it may as well have been set in Tellytubbyland. It makes Sesame Street look like a snuff film.

I reviewed Kangaroo Jack some time ago and said that Jerry Bruckheimer has no business making kids films. Not much has changed. Last year, Pirates Of The Caribbean (somehow) became a huge hit, but it still bored me to tears. National Treasure is not much different. It's a PG-rated, family-friendly conveyer-belt yawn from Disney, who seems to have forgotten that we're now in the 21st century and don't want any more Herbies, or goddamn Lassies.

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Nicholas Cage - no stranger to Bruckheimer, after the stupid The Rock and the brilliant Con Air - is Ben Gates, the descendant of some guy who is the descendant of some guy who knew where the Freemasons hid enough treasure to buy the planet.

While off on a shipwreck-finding expedition in the North Pole, Ben is shocked when his colleague Sean Bean double crosses him - who DIDN'T see that coming? Mr Bean nicks all the clues and blows the ship up before escaping. But no one is killed. Are we watching the A-Team here?

Jeezuz, I'm boring myself into a coma even reciting this lame plot. The rest of the movie is made up of pinching the Declaration of Independence to sneak a gander at the map on the back, deciphering the code and finding the treasure. It's a helluva long way to go for so little.

National Treasure is just plain boring. There is no mystery, or sense of discovery. The clues fail to involve, or interest, and the characters are cardboard cutouts. Steven Seagal (bless him) would throw the script away, claiming it was not worthy of his talents. Cage sleepwalks, his sidekick is annoying, the love interest is plain and dull, Harvey Keitel (who appears to have signed a contract for one day's work) is utterly wasted and Bean puts in minimal effort in a role that requires him to do no more than stand around and snarl - a safe, PC, family-friendly, PG-rated snarl.

The only bright spot is Jon Voight, in a sub-Anaconda, take-the-money-and-run part, as the dad who disapproves and sighs most of the time. This material is WAY below the capabilities of most of the cast.

As far as Hollywood's favourite ginger-bearded producer is concerned the film has made enough money already to warrant a sequel (spare us, please!).

I have given this coma-inducing bore a very generous two stars simply because is not quite as annoying as Pirates Of The Caribbean, or as awful as Bad Boys II. Take your kids to see this and they will hate you, even if they forget everything about it the second they leave the cinema.

Keep this treasure buried.

Reviewed on: 23 Dec 2004
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Treaure hunt for kids and soft-centred adults who like watching Nicolas Cage sleep walking.
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Director: John Turteltaub

Writer: Jim Kouf, Cormac Wibberley, Marianne Wibberley

Starring: Nicolas Cage, Diane Kruger, Jon Voight, Sean Bean, Christopher Plummer, Harvey Keitel, Justin Bartha

Year: 2004

Runtime: 131 minutes

BBFC: PG - Parental Guidance

Country: US


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