National Treasure (2004)
Title: National Treasure
Genre: Action | Adventure | Mystery |
Runtime: 131 min
Director: Jon Turteltaub
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Diane Kruger, Justin Bartha
As usual, when it comes to Walt Disney’s imagination of a treasure-hunt, the tone is often too family-friendly and nothing dangerous happens to any of these characters. With a predictable plot and half-improved performance from the lead, it’s probably safe to say that this film is a classic from Disney’s modern stories ever put to screen, but it fails immensely to make it worth your while and the effort needed to invest, to cherish the adventure of Ben Gates.
The plot is very simple. It begins when Ben Gates’s grandfather, played by the late Christopher Plummer, reveals a myth about Charlotte. An ancient ship that Ben finds with his crew as an adult. One of the crewmembers Ian (Sean Bean) betrays Ben Gates and disappears. The treasure hunt begins once they decide to steal the Declaration of Independence. The clues hint at some more information about the sacred and highly valued piece of paper. And it’s here the film sort of staggers and does escalate in a truthful narrative. The characters play out as empty and greedy. As is it consistently withdraws any necessary depth to the treasure hunt and shares a strong similarity to the Mission Impossible – films, its premise makes it stagger painful occasionally and the tone is overwhelming presumptuous. They don’t make any mistake that puts them in direct harm and always has a way out of their way of trouble.
Nicholas Cage’s performance of Benjamin Gates doesn’t fulfill the narrative and doesn’t really accomplish something. He’s a douchebag all the way through the film and doesn’t really change by the end of the film in some significant way. Whenever he’s put in harm’s way, it’s mostly childish and doesn’t apply any convincing storyline to the plot. As he makes it so easy for him to steal the Declaration of Independence, it feels so fake and so unnatural. The whole scheme behind it does not make it even more convincing in any more way. Diane Kruger is the helpless, screaming girl that has been used too many times to make even worth it, to follow. She is the only female on the treasure hunt, even if she adds some class and elegance to the company, she still remains the girl in need throughout the whole film. Justin Bartha’s Riley just follows the leads as a comic-relief character and works like the eye of the audience. He doesn’t apply real knowledge and doesn’t need to be in the film. But he’s. Sean Bean as the antagonist seems justified but the character as a whole is still, after so many years, so plain, stupid, and immoral to the concept.
The film is surprisingly very convincing as it takes up relevant information about the founding fathers and their heritage, but this film is a plain, joyless film, as it predicts every move, and nothing is really at stake here.