National Treasure (2004)

Who has two thumbs and actually looked at a calendar before deciding what movie to review? You’ll have to trust me on the thumbs part, but this guy! Tomorrow is the Fourth of July, and because of that I thought I should do a themed post. But what to watch? Independence Day is almost too obvious, Jaws took place during the Fourth… But I decided to go with a movie based on longstanding American traditions: stealing stuff and believing conspiracy theories. LET’S STEAL THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE!

National Treasure stars Mr. Nicolas Cage as himself–this time named Benjamin Franklin Gates–a man obsessed with a family legend. See, the Founding Fathers came upon a literal treasure trove, hid it, and created a series of clues to keep the plot moving forward. Helping him find this treasure is his pal Riley and Sean Bean, who is revealed to be evil at the 20 minute mark. Realizing there’s something hidden on the back of the Declaration of Independence, Cage decides to steal the document before Bean can. Along the way he meets Abigail, an American historian (as in she studied American history) who gets held hostage temporarily by Bean and then becomes an unwilling accomplice to Cage’s plan. Things continue to get worse when we meet Cage’s disapproving dad (no, not actually August Coppola) and the FBI also get involved. Some colonial 3D glasses later, Cage, Bean, and the gang are all together for the climax. But the treasure’s not there! So Bean leaves them to die, not realizing at all that this is an obvious lie and the treasure is just, like, 5 feet away behind a wall. With the titular national treasure found, Cage’s dad stops being disapproving, the FBI agent is revealed to be a member of the conspiracy and goes easy on our heroes, Sean Bean is arrested, and Cage and Abigail end up together, happy and rich. The American dream!

Would you believe that I haven’t seen this movie before? I know, I’m a bad fan of dumb movies. Not dumb as in “this is a bad movie,” but it’s more “big, dumb action.” And that’s not a drag, as I love The Fast and the Furious movies for consistently getting bigger and dumber. However, National Treasure doesn’t score very high on the Cage Freakout Scale, so that’s… a bit disappointing (for reference, the Left Behind reboot is at the bottom and the top is probably Mandy or Face/Off). I’ve watched an okay heist movie just to see Cage scream, “OPEN IT!!! OPEN IT!!! OPEN IT!!!” in Elijah Wood’s face, so while I do give this movie a thumbs up with a mouthful of popcorn, that second thumb will instead do other, normal thumb things. Because I absolutely do have thumbs, remember. And they’re mine. They are definitely in my possession, yes!


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