Monday, November 22, 2004

National Treasure Should Not Be Treasured

I saw National Treasure on Friday night with Captain Kate and her fiancee. The movie stars Nicolas Cage, Diane Kruger, Justin Bartha, and Sean Bean with cameos by Jon Voight and Harvey Keitel. It was produced by Jerry Bruckheimer (Top Gun, The Rock, Con Air, Armageddon, Gone In Sixty Seconds, Pirates of the Caribbean, King Arthur, and many, many more) and directed (and produced) by Jon Turteltaub.

Yahoo!'s Summary:
All his life, Benjamin Franklin Gates (Nicolas Cage) has been searching for a treasure no one believed existed: amassed through the ages, moved across continents, to become the greatest treasure the world has ever known. Hidden by our Founding Fathers, they left clues to the treasure's location right before our eyes... from our nation's birthplace, to the nation's capitol, to clues buried within the symbols on the dollar bill. In a race against time, Gates must elude the FBI, stay one step ahead of his ruthless adversary (Sean Bean), decipher the remaining clues and unlock the 2000 year-old mystery behind our greatest national treasure.
Before I go any further, be aware that this is a Disney movie. It has a PG rating.

Although a decent movie, I did not enjoy this one all that much. The story and concept really weren't bad, it had potential, but the execution just left me wanting. Wanting what? More depth, less simplicity, less suspension of disbelief. They should have made this movie either more believable or less believable. More realistic or more fantastic. 'Cause where it sits now, there's too much that's strange to make it real and too little focus on the unusual to make it another world or planet. It slips through the cracks. I honestly can't say I'm surprised by this failure (imo) since it is a Disney film. I generally find most live-action Disney to not come out quite right (Pirates of the Caribbean being a notable exception).

Also, the setup immensely annoyed me. The movie spends the first 15 minutes setting up the entire rest of the film. What does this mean? The background, story and plot are thrust upon you in too short a time. Plus the subsequent 85 minutes are spent resolving the first 15. Not good. While the action sequences and special effects kept me interested and paying attention, the plot just kept getting thinner and thinner. It was even predictable at times. (And I try not to predict movies as it tends to spoil the effect for me.)

All in all, an okay movie that really didn't do it for me. Knowing that the plot is thin, the characters a bit one-dimensional and the concepts of black & white well ensconced (notwithstanding stealing the Declaration of Independence -- it was for "the better good" or such), if you think you might be interested after seeing the preview/trailer, check it out. Who knows, you may like it a bit more than I did.

ALAN'S MOVIE RATING: Rental-Worthy or Theater-Worthy.