National Treasure is the sneaky attempt to capitalise on the current Dan Brown fad – and to ruin the box office of next year’s Tom Hanks led movie adaptation of Brown’s The Da Vinci Code. Unfortunately it is not as clever as Code, and I fear it is certainly less enjoyable.
National Treasure starts the way all good treasure hunting films start – with the passage of secret information from father to son, that sets the son irrevocably on a path to glory and wealth. Whilst this feels by now like stale cheese, it is a useful technique. It allows the director to tell us that not everyone believes them, sets us up for the later conflict between father and son, and allows a cut scene explaining the origin of the great wealth to be had, if only you believe. It sounds just like a movie Disney would make, don’t it? Funny that.
From the start to the end, Cage et al try hard, and entertain us a little, but never completely capture the fun and excitement of other Bruckheimer films – Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl the most recent and best comparison. For while Pirates had laughs, thrills and excitement, Treasure is its poor second cousin, the one no-one talks to because he doesn’t wash much.
Sure, Kruger is beautiful, and her constant struggle with the English language is entertaining on some levels, but can she act? Is she the next Keira Knightley? You can’t compare Depp and Cage, so don’t expect me to. Voight reprises his Lara Croft: Tomb Raider role, and seemed bored for much of the time.
There are explosions and car chases, the ever so subtle use of the surroundings – a skeleton falling out of the bottom of a coffin being moved… what? you expect me to be shocked or something? – and Sean Bean provides, as always, an entertaining villain. I just wished I had become more involved, and invested in the outcome.
In spite of all of this, National Treasure is entertaining, in a rainy afternoon diversion kind of way. If you’re expecting Cage to become a modern-day Indiana Jones, don’t hold your breath. National Treasure will be fun and exciting for those of us who don’t like a challenge – just don’t start with logic, physics or other scientific thought!Rating: